Christmas Eve

Image by Else Siegel from Pixabay

We are really lucky that we haven’t got much snow at all. The wind was fierce earlier today, but now it finally calms down; the temperature plunges to 13F (-13C) after dark, but it’s not as bad as yesterday.

I finished two loads of laundry; boiled a pot of soy milk from soy powder; cooked soy pancakes; subscribed to Kindle Unlimited for the time being at least; talked on phone with two anxious clients who finally calmed down to enjoy the holiday atmosphere.

And just as I was relaxing into my holiday mood, I received a little amazon gift from my friend S. I couldn’t help letting out a big sigh. I was happy with the little gift, but I was a little dismayed that her husband was the one who emailed me the gift. Why couldn’t S do it?

I know the reason. It is because the husband control the family finance. I just feel … I don’t know how I feel. I mean this is just some family petty cash and I expected that S would email me the gift, but S couldn’t.

This is what I feel–I feel that the Asian community here is so much more conservative than people back home that I am really disappointed. I mean back home I know many women who control the family’s purse string despite the fact that they earn less than their husbands.

I understand that the family dynamic in immigrants’ family here is different, and it is impossible that people living in New Jersey behave like people back home. Still, I feel that there are too many women like S, who has almost no say in the family financial issues.

I also know W, who couldn’t stop her husband from buying a house for his mother in a remote village where W will never go to live. The real estate in this remote village is not really booming and the price is not high. However still it costs twenty grand. And it is unfair for W that her husband should make such a decision despite W’s objection.

I understand that when I was growing up in the wind swept Mongolian Steppe, life was tough. Because life was tough and there were not much money around, it was very important for a woman to do good budgeting and allocate everything economically. And it’s a tradition that women control the family finance and make good planning of it. Otherwise, many essentials would not even be paid. I guess it was because of the tough condition, there was no other way around this issue. And a clever girl had to settle the financial issue first with her sweetheart before she got married.

Of course life is not so tough here and there’s no need for women to keep a tight grip on the family purse. And this is the reason many women end up like S. And fortunately in America, most of the money people have are tied up in house, mortgages, cars, and retirement accounts. There are not much free cash flowing around and disposable income is never that much to begin with. I think this is a good system to keep a wife and a husband on relatively equal footing as far as their joint marital asset is concerned.

I don’t know. I shouldn’t write about this issue on a special day like today, but it just comes up and I can’t help it. Happy Holidays and let’s forget about all the imperfections of our life.

29 thoughts on “Christmas Eve

  1. The general impression is – they who control the purse strings are the ones in charge. Sad that money is given greater precedence even when so many other things matter more. If only money could make the world go round, then the world would definitely be an uglier place. Hope the holidays were a good time for you. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the insecurity has driven everybody mad and one can’t help to grasp every little power one can possibly grasp onto. Yes, I had a wonderful holiday and stayed away from everything for two weeks almost. LOL. Too bad we have to come back to reality after the New Year.

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  2. I feel like marital finances is a very individual thing (among couples, at least), because I’m from Asia too, but the couples I speak to here each have their own way of handling finances. Some like to stay independent, while others like to go at it together. And I say there’s no right or wrong way to do it, as long as the couple is functioning as a unit. Just my two cents. Happy holidays!

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    1. Happy Holidays! Thank you for dropping by and commenting. Yes, I think people back home are completely normal. Nowadays, each couple does finances in their own style, exactly like what you said. And I have to say women nowadays have a lot to say about this even if women’s income is lower than men’s. Our respect for family really takes a precedence and women are very well positioned. However the immigrant community is a completely different thing. I have seen regression and unfairness quite often. Immigrant communities are really the most conservative communities out there. Most of women have no power in the family–some don’t even learn English and don’t even drive. Can you imagine that? Without the age old extended family structure of the Asian society in place here, I have to say women have to endure more…

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        1. Haha, every community is different. And often it is hard to know it from outside. From the outside, the immigrant community here seems to be highly educated and aspiring, but in reality, it is highly narcissistic and very conservative.

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  3. I think immigrant communities tend to be more conservative. I guess due to the reason you mentioned. But it’s still annoying for me sometimes because for me I feel like I’m stuck in a weird place. I find that my Kenyan family members that were born and raised here are not at all conservative but my Indian relatives are more conservative. Which means I’m stuck in a weird place in between. Lol anyway not the point. Just ranting. Happy Holidays.

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    1. So true. Some women don’t even learn English and don’t even drive. I just don’t understand what if their husband die and what will happen to them if they don’t even know the language and don’t even know how to get around.
      Oh, you are soooo spot on about this issue. Every immigrant community has an insecurity issue, which makes it so much more conservative and women-unfriendly than the place they come from. I know so many couples that the husbands control every penny of the family finance, drive, speak English, while the women do none of these. If their husbands by any chance die, what will happen to these poor women? I don’t understand this.

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      1. Yes, immigrant communities are much worse for women. Not all women but many. I think women who rely on their husband to that extent don’t really think of what will happen if their husband dies. They just hope for the best and live day to day.

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        1. It’s very sad to watch the immigrant community, which is proud of itself for being educated etc., but in reality I see worsening conditions for women. Back home, many women control the family finances, but here the majority of women don’t. Men are more insecure here since as an immigrant, it makes one feel more insecure. And controlling the family finances is a very important aspect to their existence.

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        2. Yes, I have noticed that immigrant communities often have more rigid roles for men and women. It’s really sad because both men and women seem to be miserable because of this.

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        3. Something just happened that illustrate your point. I have this colleague that we advice him to do certain things which is essential for his well being or even his life. However he has to delay it. Guess what? It’s all because he and his wife only go to the store on Saturdays. And they can’t change their routine even if the change will save his life. People would rather die than make a very small change.

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        4. Yes, people would guard some idiotic secrets as sacred mantras. People would rather die than to reveal them. Human beings can be very stubborn… especially in narcissistic families… I can’t help adding the last phrase about narcissistic families. Haha.

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  4. If you look at GDP per capita, Americans are wealthier than Brits. Yet they are more on the lookout for bargains and cheap stuff (is my impression). Perhaps that is how they have ended up wealthier! Iā€™m trying to think what the old Western tradition of family finances is. I would say that upper middle class women used to have a lot of control over the household budget (food, hiring servants etc). Not sure about the big decisions though. But the working class woman used to be rather too dependent on the good sense of her husband. Many drank away a large portion of before it reached the woman.

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    1. Oh, it is so true what you said. I don’t know about Brits, but here people cannot survive on minimum wage jobs. This is probably why there are so many homeless. It means that even if one has a job, one can be homeless. I actually see at least one homeless person at least every time I go to Walmart. Some live in their cars. And Edison is a mix of lower middle class and middle class town with a disproportionately high housing cost, which is normal for areas on the outskirt of NYC.
      You are right that different groups of people have different styles. I have to say back home in the family based society, women actually have a fair share of power as far as family finance is concerned. In poor families especially. It is a strange phenomena I think since in poor families, the household need higher percentage of income to run. Women can only marry men who are willing to support the family. Otherwise the family cannot survive. Actually poverty helps women to be awake to this survival issue. I just feel that in the Asian immigrant community here in America, women are losing all the control since the community is super conservative. Men are too insecure to give up the little power they can still grasp on. Thank you for inspire me to write about this and I think I will write about people I have observed.

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      1. Yes – I wonder if a genuinely traditional society works better than the kind of western working class society I was describing. Because that western 20th century working class society was neither one thing nor the other. It had lost some off the features that make traditional societies work – but it wasnā€™t modern and enlightened either.

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        1. Yes, I often wonder. I do think an extended family establishment is so much better for children’s upbringing than other social structure. Actually in the U.S., there are people who are deliberately living in community kind of setting, with shared kitchen and common area. I heard of them, located in New York somewhere. They also have YouTube video etc. It seems that people living there are much more happier than living in the nuclear family, which is a little lonely if you are not afraid me saying so. I don’t mean people who live alone. I mean even a couple who live together can be lonely since human beings are social creatures who enjoy living in big groups (I mean in pre-historical caves etc.)

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