Married with Roommates?

couple in kitchenHere are the parameters we’re working with:


1) Kyle will graduate as early as June or as late as September, but we’re not sure where he’ll be doing his postdoc or when he’ll start.

2) I’ll need a roommate for after Kyle moves out.

3) If Kyle has a significant period of non-employment in between graduating and starting his postdoc, my pay isn’t quite enough to cover our expenses and basic percentage-based budgeting.


Since roommates are easiest to find in May/June and August, if Kyle starts is job at a time off from those, we might have a bit of overlap between when my roommate moves in and Kyle moves out.  If there is a period of non-employment as well for a few months, having a roommate take over a piece of the rent would really help our budget out (to the tune of $350/month or so).  So my exercise on splitting rent wasn’t just for splitting between myself and a roommate, but between Kyle and me together and a roommate.  I want to be fair to the woman moving in and give her a break on the rent (about $100 on rent plus 1/3 of utilities) while Kyle is living there even though he and I would be sharing a bedroom.


I’m not really sure about the whole having-a-roommate thing again, especially while Kyle is still living here.  Obviously with a roommate I will have to be neater, more timely with cleaning up my dishes, actually keep a regular cleaning schedule, and not spend so much time dominating the living room.  It’s not a big deal to transition to that lifestyle a bit earlier – it would be good for us!  But as for while Kyle is still living here, we would have to stop treating the entire house as our, erm, private space.  And I rather like having the house all to ourselves.  Also the galley kitchen is super small even for two people, so we would have to be very careful not to cook at the same time as our roommate.  Obviously it all comes down to money vs. privacy!


The other thing that is a bit sticky is that people in our church really seems to discourage opposite-sex roommates, even if they are  just friends.  I guess it’s a putting yourself in the way of temptation sort of thing.  I lived with a couple guys and another girl in a 4-bedroom house before I moved to Durham and none of us got involved with each other.  I would say that I even grew less close to the guys when we lived together because of little annoyances and communication problems testing our acquaintanceship.  Plus, I was dating Kyle and the guys started dating other girls while we lived there.  Anyway, I have no trust issues with Kyle and I really don’t think that having a roommate of an attracting sex would test our marriage, but on the other hand I don’t think we should just disregard the wisdom of our brothers and sisters out of hand.  The advice definitely applies to single opposite-sex roommates, but I’m not sure if it extends to married people with a roommate.  So that’s something to consider as well.


We probably won’t need to make a decision about this until after Kyle secures his job.  By that time we will know how many months, if any, he’ll be taking off before starting his postdoc how much his interview travel has impacted our savings.  If we want to go on a vacation to celebrate Kyle’s defense, that is even more reason to get a roommate to help with aggressively saving for it.  Probably 1-2 months over the summer of non-employment would be manageable, but I think I should have a roommate lined up by August and we would probably like rent help if we have one income for more than a couple months.


Have you ever lived with a roommate while you were married or your roommate was married?  What were the sacrifices and were they worth the extra money?  What do you think about people of the opposite sex living together (platonically)?


photo from Free Digital Photos


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59 Responses to "Married with Roommates?"

  1. eemusings says:

    Honestly, all my experiences living with others have been pretty horrific. The usual slobby boys. Even the girls I’ve lived with have been kinda gross. I’m trying to imagine us in your situation – eg would T mind if I lived with just one strange guy while he was elsewhere? Or vice versa, with him and a female? I think somehow it would be preferable if there were TWO flatmates rather than one (whether the second one is of the same gender or opposite).
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    1. Emily says:

      I think with more roommates there is more oversight and accountability. I definitely wouldn’t want Kyle living alone with another woman, though a house with a bunch of people of both genders would probably be okay.

  2. Michelle says:

    We HATED having our first two roommates live with us. The first lasted 6 months I think and the second lasted 2 days. However, my sister has been awesome living with us! We have lived by ourselves for around 5 years and my sister has been with us for the past year. Hardly even notice her here.
    Michelle recently posted..Should I Pay Off My House Early? – Pros and Cons

    1. Emily says:

      What would you recommend to avoid having roommates like your first two? Would you only rent to someone you know already?

      That’s funny that your ideal roommate is one you don’t notice! At least when I was single I preferred to at least be friendly and have short conversations with my roommates.

      1. Alexis says:

        The first two guys were just crazy. We wanted to help them out by putting a roof over their head, and that’s where we went wrong. They took advantage of us.
        Alexis recently posted..Should I Pay Off My House Early? – Pros and Cons

      2. Michelle says:

        Just noticed the second part of your reply. When I say that we hardly notice her, it’s because she’s a great roommate and hasn’t really done anything wrong or anything to annoy us. I LOVE having her here 🙂
        Michelle recently posted..Should I Pay Off My House Early? – Pros and Cons

  3. Sara says:

    Trying not to leave the longest comment ever, but I have lots of thoughts… 🙂

    1. Stay away from someone that one of you knows better than the other one does. That, in my experience, has always been the most awkward.

    2.Personally, I would split the rent in thirds when you have three people, not by room. It acknowledges to #3 that having Kyle around is a bigger disruption than it is for you.

    3. If your roommate is heterosex single male, then any potential partners he brings home would be female. For me, I would rather have an opposite-sex roommate and same sex strangers.

    4. Living with a couple that you know (or don’t know) equally well has worked out the best for each of us. Living with a couple when I knew one of the pair better excluded his partner because I would always communicate with him about housing things. With a couple you’re getting folks in a similar stage of life, and therefore avoiding the temptation/lust/allure of “the single life”. Plus, it’s like a roommate with a pet- you know your roommates have a certain level of responsibility and (hopefully) communication skills.

    1. Emily says:

      I hope you will continue commenting on this post to get more of your thoughts out! Or, if you are interested, you could write a whole guest post on your perspective on this issue.

      1. That would be awkward, especially if it’s a woman who knows Kyle better. Hmm. I wouldn’t have thought of that. But in our case we’re talking about a short-term 3 roommate situation turning into a long-term female roommate for me, so I think it would be okay if I were better friends with her.

      2. For our current place, the square footage split is very close to 1/3 each since the master bedroom is so much larger. But you have a great point that it is more disruptive to the other person to have Kyle around. Then again, Kyle and I together would probably only take up half the fridge/storage space.

      3. That is a good point but I hope it won’t apply to us. I mentioned this in the comments of my last post, but I’d rather have a Christian roommate to avoid the overnight guest situation. Obviously not all Christians share our sexual ethics (and plenty of non-believers do) but it’s an easy first pass and a basis for having that conversation. But I agree that if there are going to be strangers over all the time I’d rather they be women.

      4. I think the ideal ideal situation for us would be a married woman whose husband lives elsewhere who visits him more than he visits her! That takes into account your lifestage point. It would be easiest to live with another couple, but in the case of our townhouse I can’t imagine two people living in the second bedroom as it is TINY.

      Thanks again for your great comment! Lots of things I never considered.

      1. Sara says:

        I was under the impression that you were set to move into the smaller bedroom. Obviously if that room is too small to share permanently then the couple thing is a non-issue.

        I think that you’re downplaying Kyle’s presence in your unit when you look at it in terms of square footage.

        When I talk about your roommate’s visitors I’m not referring solely to sex or overnight visitors, although if your church discourages any sort of hanging out at home then it wouldn’t apply. I would still rather have a stranger female using my kitchen and bathroom and just generally spending time at my place.

        Have you thought about a medical resident? I can imagine a situation where someone starting residency moves to town a year or so before her spouse/partner so that the other person can tie up loose ends in the old city. Along the same lines, does Durham have any Monday-Friday residents who want apartments in the city for work but spend the weekends back with their family? (Growing up in Chicago I saw a fair amount of this kind of thing.) Lastly, what about an academic- like a short-term VAP or someone whose partner is at a school a few hours away, which would wind up being another version of the M-F resident although you would probably have that person’s partner at your house every so often.

        1. Emily says:

          Oh, I mistook your meaning… I thought you were referring to guests who I might interact with in an intimate or familial manner, like late at night or in the mornings. No, I think I would definitely take occasional male guests over a permanent male roommate.

          I don’t know specifically about the supply of not-quite-full-time roommates, nor am I really sure how to advertise to them specifically! There is a lot of turnover and demand for short-term leases for people doing rotations, internships, and fellowships. But I think that I would prefer someone who is here for the long-term (9 months+) even if they are only here during the week or not all weeks out of the month. I don’t want to be looking for a new roommate every few months. I think I’ll try to widely advertise (my church and the Christian grad group at our university but then craigslist and our university’s housing database) and see what comes my way! I can hope for a married woman or a not-full-time student/resident but I suspect most of the people would be grad students.

  4. renee says:

    Despite being semi-introverted, I love having (considerate) roommates! J and I shared a house with two men last year for about 6 months. (J still lives there.) I didn’t mind the situationtion at all – I actually kinda liked it. We’ll consider rooming w people in the future, or renting out a room if we buy a townhouse or something. I think it’s only weird if you think of it as weird.

    The rent is whatever you decide. I’m sure the roommate would appreciate a discount while Kyle is there, but I personally never over analyzed rent amounts, as long as I could afford it and it seemed like the best value on the market.

    1. Emily says:

      Are you two living apart again?? I have a series upcoming on long-distance marriage – I’d love to hear if you agree with my observations/conclusions.

      How did you find your considerate roommates?

      1. renee says:

        Yes we are! haha. We ran out of money and his research thesis was dragging out longer than expected (go figure), so I moved for the job. We’re pros at this, though! This time we’re both in the same state, which is just fantastic. (Well, if you count NorCal vs SoCal both as California.) He’ll be moving in for good in June. Summer can’t come too soon! 😀

        “How did you find your considerate roommates?” I can only say… by the good Lord’s blessing. He’s just always provided.

        1. Emily says:

          That’s not long at all now!

  5. Mrs PoP @Planting Our Pennies says:

    I’ve never lived with anyone other than Mr PoP since we’ve been married, but I’ve lived platonically with both genders in the past and it’s never been a big deal. We were never attracted to one another, and it was always a sibling type relationship no matter what the gender. And I’ve found it’s hard to generalize the quality of roommate based on gender. I’ve lived with guys whose long hair clogged the shower drains, and with guys who were neat nicks and kept the place spotless. I think what matters more is finding the right personality rather than the “right” gender for finding a roommate.

    1. Emily says:

      I agree that there are good and bad roommates of both genders and that fit is important. Too bad none of those good-roommate guys get to be considered to be my roommate!

  6. This is definitely something my BF and I have talked about. Say we wanted to buy a two bedroom condo, it would be a great way to save a bit of extra money and get help with the mortgage, but it’s true you do lose some privacy when a roommate is involved. I think if it’s only for a short period of time why not?
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    1. Emily says:

      I would be open to that kind of arrangement once we own a place, but Kyle prefers privacy. If we were making more money we wouldn’t consider this at all for this time in our life since there is so much transition it would be easier not to involve anyone else.

  7. Interesting situation. I have only lived with the same sex, but I know a few people that have had roommates when they were married and it worked out fine. I have not heard of any of them having temptations with the roommate, but they probably wouldn’t tell me about that.
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    1. Emily says:

      Haha yeah they probably wouldn’t! It’s one of those small chance/big impact situations that people tend to blow out of proportion.

  8. I’ve found the common area scheduling issues are less of a problem than most people think. In three years of having roommates, I’ve run into wanting to make dinner but somebody already using the kitchen four times.

    I agree with other commenters about gender and standards of cleanliness. Between a total of 5 different roommates since getting married, and co-ed houses in college, I would say that there is no statistical correlation between gender and hygiene. Of the people that are currently living in our house, I would say that I am the cleanest by far. My wife and our male roommate are roughly tied, although my wife probably ahead due to the fact that she does actually put dishes in the sink. Our female roommate comes in dead last by a long, long margin.

    Opposite sex roommates can be awkward if you have different standards showing skin. We used to split a townhouse with another young couple. She was then training for the Olympics (she won the bronze of women’s long jump) and would come home from runs sweaty and take her shirt off. I’d come home from work and there she would be in the office (which had glass doors and was pretty much straight in front of the garage access) sitting in her sports bra on her laptop.
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    1. Emily says:

      I don’t remember running into my roommates in the kitchen much either, but I spend a LOT more time cooking than I used to, so I might become the problem roommate who’s always taking up space.

      That is a good point about the standards of dress around the house. So many athletic uniforms for track and field are practically just underwear so it makes sense that she would have different standard. It’s a good point to talk about it beforehand, especially since our concern is guarding our marriage!

      1. Well, I have a food blog, so I have been known to spend some time I’m the kitchen as well. 🙂

        I guess I should be happy he want a swimmer then!
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  9. During four months of our marriage, my husband was in the fire academy full-time, unpaid (in fact, we had to pay to put him through it). We were living in a one-bedroom at the time, and one of the options was downsizing or getting a two-bedroom and splitting the rent with a roommate. We chose to downsize. I could not fathom having to have roommate while we we were married. It’s a little too college-y for me, but we also ended up living in a shack so…I can see it both ways, haha.

    1. Emily says:

      College-y is a good way to describe it – and we are still students! So maybe it is appropriate for us still. I think it’s a good idea for the first year of marriage to not have a roommate to establish your identity as a couple. I’m not as concerned about that aspect for us since we’ve been married almost three years now and this would only be for a few months. It’s not idea to live apart either but we have to do that!

  10. Leigh says:

    I’m not religious, but I would never consider living with only one person of the opposite sex unless I was married. To be honest, I don’t really want a female roommate either because I don’t really want overnight guests. And that has nothing to do with whether or not they’re having sex – I just don’t like having extra people around that I don’t know they’re going to be here. I remember one of my college roommate’s boyfriends was completely useless in our kitchen! He would try to convince *me* to make him food and I always felt super awkward sitting in the living room with him since he would never talk to me. So I prefer to live alone, no roommate of either gender.

    I also don’t want to live with a significant other until we’re engaged/married. I have a hard time explaining my reasoning though. One of the parts is that living together is entangling your cash flow. But it just doesn’t feel right to me, outside of a serious relationship. My ex and I disagreed on this. He didn’t think you should marry someone without living together first. I thought that you could see by spending time together and at each other’s places how you would do at living together, what things you would argue over, etc. without actually moving in together.

    In college, I lived with groups of both genders at different times. The guys never did the dishes, but there wasn’t the drama there was with the girls I lived with. As much as I hate mess, I hate drama even more, so if I had to live with a bunch of roommates, it would definitely be a group of guys.
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    1. Emily says:

      Thankfully I have always lived with drama-free people of both genders! I haven’t had problems with people cleaning up after themselves, either, with one exception but thankfully even then it didn’t come up often. That sounds super annoying about your roommate’s boyfriend! I can see why you prefer to not have guests, and now that I’ve lived alone (with Kyle) for a while I can appreciate how nice it is to have control over your own space.

      When I was an adolescent I thought that I would live with a boyfriend/fiance before getting married (of course that was before it became normative), but I changed my mind in college (when I was still an atheist) when I read the primary literature on the detrimental effect of cohabitation on marriage for one of my psych classes. Before I was married I never really understood why people thought, like your ex-boyfriend did, that cohabiting was a necessary step in getting to know your SO or testing out what it would be like to be married. I mean, are they always treating their SOs as guests in their homes and hiding who they really are?? Now that I’m on the other side, I can say with assurance that Kyle and I were fully apprised of what living together would be like without doing so before we were married – we correctly ID’d what our primary problem would be! There have been absolutely zero surprises brought out by living together (as opposed to simply knowing one another for longer). So I can say positively that it is not necessary to live together to get to know one another and evaluate your living-style compatibility. I think that cohabiting, like having sex or mingling finances before marriage, both clouds your mind to being able to reasonably judge if you should marry your SO and creates barriers to exiting the relationship, should you deem it necessary. It’s really not primarily a religious issue for me but one of respect for marriage and belief in it as a lifelong commitment that should be entered into with serious forethought and consideration. All that to say that I agree with your determination regarding only living with a fiance or husband (though I would say husband alone) and the social scientific research in this area does as well (though it’s not clear if the effect is from selection or causation – I would argue both).

      I think the religious part of things comes out a little more in my likely desire for a Christian roommate over, for instance, a non-Christian who simply doesn’t have overnight guests – and it’s really more a selfish stance for me than anything having to do with her! I want to live with someone who will respect and support my marriage during what I anticipate will be one of its most vulnerable periods. A friend would likely do that naturally, but I think that if my roommate were a sister in Christ, even if she were a stranger at first, we would both feel that she would have some standing to speak into my life should she see something going awry. (Of course we would have to have similar views of marriage and the role of the body of Christ in terms of “speaking the truth in love” to one another and it would have to be discussed beforehand, but I think living with someone else who attends our church would give us a good chance at this.) For example, let’s say I had some friends over and then stayed up talking for a while with one of my male friends alone after everyone else left. I can see this reasonably happening as I enjoy the company of men quite a bit, even over women generally. Now, even if we didn’t cross any physical boundaries, I think it would be helpful for me to have a roommate that might ask me if I thought I was maintaining my boundaries of emotional intimacy with men who are not Kyle. I think that would be very helpful from an accountability standpoint – even if she didn’t say anything but I just knew that she might notice!

      1. Leigh says:

        “I think that cohabiting, like having sex or mingling finances before marriage, both clouds your mind to being able to reasonably judge if you should marry your SO and creates barriers to exiting the relationship, should you deem it necessary. It’s really not primarily a religious issue for me but one of respect for marriage and belief in it as a lifelong commitment that should be entered into with serious forethought and consideration.”

        This is a very good explanation, much better than what I’ve managed to formulate and I definitely agree wholeheartedly with this. Thank you!
        Leigh recently posted..From the Other Side

        1. Emily says:

          I’m glad my reasoning made sense to you. It’s an issue I’ve given a LOT of thought to over the past 8 years or so. When Kyle and I were engaged we got many many “why aren’t you living together?” questions. Usually when I’m explaining face-to-face why we didn’t I’m not so blunt and play up the religious aspect more because people (like me) get really charged over this issue and I don’t want to offend them or make them think I’m attacking their life choices.

  11. We had a friend from high school live with us for a month or two in grad school because she needed to be in our city for her thesis. That was great. She was neat and tidy, helped out in the kitchen, and otherwise mostly kept to herself.

    We had a friend from grad school live with us for a semester because he was broke and going to grad school at our university and his wife was pregnant and living with her mother in a nearby city (she couldn’t stay with us because she was allergic to cats). That really sucked because he was a slob and also made our energy bills go way up (and kept asking us to turn up the a/c because he’d keep the doors closed to keep the cats out and he’d get no cross-ventilation). He also ended up taking one of our guest bathroom towels when he left (so we no longer have the set).

    In neither case were either of us attracted to the roommate. Ick. I don’t think it’s something you’ll have to worry about.
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    1. Emily says:

      Ack! Sounds like you were trying to help out your friend but it really backfired. I assume you knew going in that it would only be for the semester, though, so I’m sure that made it easier.

      It’s funny how the messy habits of someone you love can be endearing but seeing them in someone else will drive you up the wall!

      1. Well, part of the problem was that *we* thought it was going to be only for a semester (or until their East Coast house sold, whichever came first, and their house sold long before the semester was out), but *he* assumed otherwise. In the end DH had to sit him down and give him a heart to heart talk about how it was only for a semester. Especially given all the griping and complaining he was doing. We are no longer friends with that couple, the final straw for us was when the wife canceled an interview in our town because she would rather live in her mom’s apartment and use her mom for free childcare than live on a 40K/year salary gainfully employed.

        My DH doesn’t have messy habits.
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  12. Lucas says:

    I concur on the not living with opposite sex roommates, and trying to find a roommate who shares your values. In paricular a christian roomate (who isn’t a christian by name only).

    So you probably mentioned other deatails in some other post, but I am missing info that I would use to make a decision. I couldn’t find how long you are stuck before being able to follow Kyle to whereever he needs to go? Also how long is your lease, and how much do you estimate you will be in the negative each month that he doesn’t have a job/post doc and how long could you sustain that?

    Personally I would prioritize being together above just about anything else, and would make major life decsion changes before having to live appart at all. I understand school is sometimes more difficult to shift than work, but I would gladly take a much lower paying job if it didn’t mean we had to live appart. Can he delay post doc and find a local job for however long you are stuck there even if it is a lower paying one? How much does a post doc actually help his career? I did my masters but decided against anything further as it looked like it would force me into one spesific area of my field of interest forever even if I might make a little more money.

    Also what are your options with moving to a lower cost place so you don’t have the cash flow issue?

    1. Emily says:

      I don’t think I’ve talked a whole lot about our decision to live apart – at least it’s scattered in comments on various posts, not pulled together in one post. That’s because our decision isn’t really about money, it’s about career!

      Your questions are very good ones, though, and important. We have been thinking about/preparing for living apart after Kyle’s graduation for over a year now – I have VERY detailed answers to all your questions but I will try to be concise. 🙂

      If staying in the same city were our #1 priority right now, we could do it. Kyle could simply not graduate and stay on as a grad student in his current lab. Even if he did graduate, Kyle doesn’t have to work for us to survive (although we would have to move to a smaller place and cut back on savings). But we don’t want him to be unemployed or be diverted from his current course of training – he’s already taken 6 years for the PhD and that’s quite enough given that he’s able to graduate now! We decided several years ago to prioritize Kyle’s career over mine since he is very passionate about his work and wants to continue in his field for the foreseeable future. We consider Kyle taking the very best postdoc possible, no matter where it is, to be an investment in our shared future by not limiting his career.

      As for whether or not the postdoc is necessary, it might not be to get an industry job in research, although all the “careers in industry” panels we’ve attended say it’s pretty much required at this point for new PhDs. Kyle’s advisor has encouraged him to apply for faculty positions in computer science straight out of grad school, but Kyle wants to be more on the biological sciences side and in those fields at least one 3-5 year postdoc is necessary for faculty positions. Plus, as he has been all computational during his PhD, he wants to (re)gain some bench skills so he doesn’t have to rely on collaborators for experimental validation of his computational predictions. So for skills and experience and making himself marketable, we think doing a postdoc is the best course.

      I will graduate about 1 year after Kyle does. I have to stay in Durham, at least most of the time, because I am an experimentalist. (Kyle could work remotely to finish his PhD if our timing was reversed.) Our first choice would be for him to do a short-term local postdoc, but 1) his advisor let him know a couple years ago that he wouldn’t have the funding to keep him in his lab as a postdoc and 2) as Kyle’s field is very small, he has no viable local options for another advisor. (There is one option that we don’t consider viable that he might try to pursue anyway, but I’d put that at <5% chance.) So it seems that doing a postdoc will take him elsewhere in the country. While I know living apart is going to be terrible, it is only for a year-ish which isn't so bad (and honestly I think I'll be much more productive when I don't have anyone to come home to!).

      I hope you can see that our choices in this area are really not motivated by money. If Kyle gave up his research interests and simply billed himself as a pure computer scientist (with or without the PhD) his earnings would be many times what he's making now. Taking a postdoc might even result in an effective pay decrease if he moves to a very high cost of living area. But that's not what's most important to us! Our relationship comes before money and, for now, we think what is best for our relationship is for Kyle to take the best postdoc possible.

      Finally, we have done the long-distance thing before, for more than a year. We weren't married back then so it will be very different this time around, but it was actually a pretty positive experience and our relationship grew a lot during that time. Also a little silver lining is that our job searches will be much easier to do separately, a year apart, in comparison with doing them simultaneously and having to pursue a million leads to create/find job openings in the same city. Once Kyle is settled into his postdoc I can do a very targeted search in that city for my first post-PhD job.

      This might all sound like so many excuses, and truly there are other options that wouldn't require us to live apart. On balance though, we are willing to sacrifice living in the same city for a year to push Kyle's career forward as best we're able.

      1. Lucas says:

        Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. I guess maybe I fail to see the importance of pushing Kyle’s career forward at all expense? What is the goal behind that? Maybe this is an assumption, but I kind of figured you guys were in the MMM/ERE financial independance camp of thinking so you weren’t planning on a career lasting more than say 15 years? Is intelectual freedom Kyle’s goal vs money? Almost always Career advancement is directly tied to financial gain. Not saying this is a bad thing, just seems difficult to untether. I would argue that intelectual freedom is much more coupled with financial independance then educational credentials.

        I know this is difficult to see while in the midst of it, but the higher education system in the US is really in the business of self propigation and reputation building in order to make their value appear to be as high as possible. The access to free information in most areas of learning mean that a self motivated person has less and less need of a degree then ever in our history. Many increadibly successfull people even realized that college was actually preventing their freedom and opportunities (think, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Lawrence Ellison, Michael Dell, Ralph Lauren, etc (see wiki for list of 30+ college drop out billionairs). Not arguing this for everyone (it has definitly helped my career personally), but the college business model is really under attack.

        I would recommend reading a bit from ERE ( on education because he followed a long road of education/research/etc. . before deciding that it was resticting him. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he does have some interesting perspectives on things and has helped me expand my thinking.

        Best wishes!

        1. I’m not sure it is really advancing Kyle’s careyou could claim that Gates and Zuckerberger at all costs but a fact of life for getting your foot in the door in some fields. Just like medical residents working 40 hour shifts. It may not be something that they want to do but is something they have to do to do what they want to do.

          I think that you could claim that Gates and Zuckerberg were able to get where they are today because of their education. Gates was able to start his career with free computer time when computing was extremely expensive. And let’s not forget that Facebook started out as a digital networking site for Harvard students.
          Edward Antrobus recently posted..Property as investment?

          1. Emily says:

            I think it’s fairly safe to say that Kyle is not Zuckerberg or Gates. He’s already 27 and therefore over the hill for demonstrating his supergenius in any area. I guess he’ll have to settle for being a regular genius!

        2. Emily says:

          Oh my, we are NOT early retirement/financial independence people! If that were the case Kyle would have become a programmer and I would have become an investment banker right after college so we could work ourselves to the bone for 5-10 years before dropping out altogether. No, we are pursuing our passions and we have no reason to desire ER at this point (and FI will come when it comes, I guess). Like I said in the last post, high salaries aren’t a super big motivator for us and neither is exiting the workforce. I actually have drafted a post on why we aren’t striving for ER so maybe I will finish that up and publish it!

          I totally agree that there is enormous degree inflation going on in the US right now. I think you used to be able to teach at the university level with only a master’s, right? Now you need a PhD plus a postdoc even for an adjunct teaching position. I don’t really see why you are bringing up intellectual freedom? Kyle and I are both in applied medical therapies and it takes big-time money to push our technologies to market. As we are risk-averse and not entrepreneurial at all we are quite unlikely to start our own companies are would prefer to work for at least later-stage start-ups if not large, established companies. So we do need, IMO, to get the standard training for our fields, which includes postdocs.

          In any case, we are planning on 50+ years of productive work, so I think a year apart to do the best we can for Kyle’s career is an investment in our shared future.

          1. Lucas says:

            Just asking questions 🙂 Guess I had some miss conceptions of your priorities. I would challenge some of your apparent assumptions of FI/ER though as you seem to believe it requires high income/stress and results in less productivity. FI is not about what you earn, but rather what you spend and being efficient with it (hence why I thought you were a proponent). I would argue that my life is more meaningfull and less stressful then any of my siblings (Yes i work hard during my 40 hours at work, but I prioritize my family and doing things together about buying things or career). A huge part of pursuing FI for me is about security and productivity (I am not a huge risk taker either). The point is that you will then have freedom to do whatever you feel is most productive whether that is a full time job that you love or trying to solve difficult world problems/issues through some other means. I personally want to make a much bigger eternal impact than I am able to make in the full time job I currently have.

          2. Emily says:

            Yeah I think we’re just way more middle-class than you thought! We want to live in San Diego and we want to have a comfortable life. It’s hard to create a ginormous spread between earning and spending when you’re not in super-high-paying jobs (which is why I mentioned the ones I did) or keeping your lifestyle to a bare minimum. We don’t want to give into lifestyle inflation when we have higher salaries but we certainly want to increase our lifestyle some.

            There are two reasons we love/are satisfied in scientific research besides that it is interesting/challenging: 1) We feel we are making a very upstream impact on human health because our work is quite applied. We both have applied for patents, for instance. So we think we’re contributing to society in that way. 2) We consider ourselves missionaries to the not-very-reached “people group” of scientists/engineers.

  13. CashRebel says:

    I think almost all roommate problems come down to communication. I live with a woman and we have no problems at all. We are never going to hook up because we had that discussion before we moved in together. We agreed that we’d never get together because we wanted it to stay platonic. I think any two rational adults should be able to make that decision and stick to it.

    I also think that you are being way too nice to your future roommate. Since it’s your name on the actual lease (and they are just subleasing), I think you get to set the rules. I don’t think you don’t need to pay extra for utilities just because Kyle is staying there, but that’s just in my humble opinion. Good luck!
    CashRebel recently posted..Flash Crashes And Learning To Trust Stocks

    1. Emily says:

      You were very smart to discuss your commitment to keeping your relationship platonic before you moved in together and I’m glad you haven’t had any problems in that area. Unfortunately, though, lust and loneliness pretty well kick people out of their rational minds!

      I actually think that I and the roommate will be on the lease, not doing a sublet. I think I would feel weird if I advertised the room at a price above what I think is reasonable but within what I thought it could go for and then the roommate realized she was paying a disproportionate chunk of the total rent. Even if we sublet until the lease is up, she would find out upon the renewal, I’m sure. But you’re right, I am trying to be nice/fair. 🙂

  14. I think that one has to be careful, and also understand that there will be annoyances. Once married, I think it would actually be tougher to go back to living with someone else as a roommate. Maybe that’s just me though.

    Anyway, if you can trust the person (know the person or referred through friends/acquaintances) AND can handle the annoyances, then it could be a great way to save money in the short-term.
    Tie the Money Knot recently posted..The Value of Having a Brain Trust

    1. Emily says:

      I can see now that it would be tough to have a roommate again, but it’s really the cheapest way to live once we’re apart so we may as well get used to it (and hopefully find some good ones!).

  15. We are in the process of deciding about this as well. We are moving to a new city and state and we have talked about the idea of living with another person to cut down on rent. It is such a tempting option! I am interested to see how your situation (and ours!) turns out. Money vs. comfort seems to always be the biggest decision!

    1. Emily says:

      I think it would be difficult to move to a new city and find a good roommate at the same time, unless you already know people there who can give references. I suppose you could be the people moving into someone else’s house and then you can interview a lot of potential roommates as you learn more about the market.

  16. We thought we were going to be living in Los Angeles right after getting married, and planned to have my husband’s best friend living with us. It is not the most ideal situation, but it seemed like it was going to be necessary, given our financial situation. Things unexpectedly changed, so we didn’t need to do this, but we were open to it. Both my husband and I had been housemates with his best friend at different times prior to being married, so that helped as well…since we knew what to expect from him!
    Becky @ RunFunDone recently posted..Ireland Trip 2013 Day 2.3: Kinsale

    1. Emily says:

      That does help a lot. I’d be open to living with most of my/Kyle’s college roommates again, especially since they are still friends and know both of us well. LA is super expensive! If Kyle gets a postdoc there no question he would have to have roommates, and if I moved there without a really good job we might still need roommates.

  17. […] Money Mo’Houses listed Married with Roommates? in her weekly link […]

  18. […] Married with Roommates? – Emily reflects our current thoughts perfectly in her article. We are considering having a roommate or two in Texas but just aren’t sure. It would certainly help with expenses. […]

  19. […] postdoc in another city and I’ll finish up my PhD here in Durham.  (For more details as to why, see my response to Lucas’s comment from last week.)  Because I love thinking about and planning for (and sometimes worrying about) the future, I […]

  20. […] Married with Roommates? – Emily reflects our current thoughts perfectly in her article. We are considering having a roommate or two in Texas but just aren’t sure. It would certainly help with expenses. […]

  21. […] as roommates than I had anticipated.  I mean, I get that anyone would want to be cautious about living with a married couple because of the relationship dynamics.  But my friends indicated that a roommate might feel like […]

  22. […] Married with Roommates by Evolving Personal Finance […]

  23. […] rent by $25/month.  We’re pretty pleased with that.  2) Renting the washer and dryer will make the transition to having a roommate and then leaving the area entirely easier.  We won’t have to worry about whether to charge the […]

  24. […] money and tons of irregular expenses.  However, now that we have quite a bit in cash savings and our future has become more unpredictable, I’m thinking we should switch to combining all our savings and switching to funding a […]

  25. […] not 3 (i.e. I can’t make any side income), we would consider dropping the missionary support and taking on a roommate.  But I hope that I will be able to hustle up at least the difference between Kyle’s new income […]

  26. […] do not need to dramatically cut our budget at this point (and if we did I’m more open to getting a roommate than eating Raman for every meal). Our everyday budget consists of: rent, groceries, eating out, […]

  27. […] big question mark on our Durham expenses is whether or not Kyle will bring a roommate into the second bedroom in our current townhouse. I’m for it and Kyle’s against it. Having a […]

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