In the two years since we began Money Diaries, we've received hundreds of submissions from fascinating women the world over with a variety of jobs, salaries, spending habits, cultural backgrounds, hobbies, side hustles, and dating lives.
One reason we love Money Diaries is because it shows us how real women think about money. We're starting a series of interviews in which women discuss aspects of their financial lives that they are reluctant to share in the world.
Today, we chat with a 28-year-old marketing manager from Maine about how marriage changed her finances.
J.* met her now-husband on OkCupid when she was a young twenty-something trying to make ends meet. She thought he was, too — he didn't have a job, and she was often the one footing the bill — but then, a year into their relationship, he revealed he had a trust fund worth $2 million ((£1.43 million).
Let's start at the beginning. Tell me about when you met.
"At the time, he was still in college and I was making an entry-level, new grad salary. I assumed he was a broke college student because he didn't have a job, so for the first several months of our relationship, I insisted on paying for everything.
"We had a very short whirlwind romance, and when he graduated, we decided to move in together. At the time, my biggest concern was: what happens if he can't find a job? I knew I needed to be financially stable and find a place I could afford on my own so that I didn't have to depend on him; that's when he started revealing that he had savings. I was just like, okay, great, because I assumed it was only enough to last us a month. But he assured me he had more than that. So I asked him if it was enough to make rent for a year without a job. And, to my surprise, he said yes.
"That was our first conversation where I was like, huh. I figured maybe he had $50,000 (£35,000) saved. At that point in my life, even $500 in savings was a big deal. A few months later, we got engaged and I still didn't know the full scope of it. I was just relieved to know that I wasn't getting myself into financial trouble."
How much money do you and your husband make yearly?
"I make about $76,000 (£55,000) a year plus bonuses, and he makes $15/hour as a brewer. It works out to be about $30,000 (£21,500) a year – sometimes more and sometimes less. But it's something he loves doing, even though he makes no money doing it. He also gets a distribution from his trust fund, which goes up every year. This year was about $42,000 (£30,000)."