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The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.

The Upside of Dependence



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Ann Friedman, a popular left-leaning feminist opinion journalist, observes that while financial independence can be very valuable for working women for a variety of reasons, e.g., it makes it much easier for women to extract themselves from abusive relationships, joining forces with a partner can also yield dividends

But as Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell, the founders of a singles site called Onely.orgwrote in The Atlantic yesterday, there are significant financial penalties associated with independence, and those penalties increase along with your income and earning power: Between housing costs, insurance fees, and other expenses, a single woman with an $80,000 salary pays a lifetime “penalty” of over a million dollars, Arnold and Campbell estimate. At a time when only the one-percenters have a trust fund to fall back on, the rest of us have a lot to gain by joining forces with a partner. Especially if your professional aspirations include making a film, or launching a start-up, or writing a novel, or taking any number of creative risks, you’re going to need financial support to fall back on. In other words, for a certain subset of the creative class, dependence is a privilege.

To social conservatives, this makes intuitive sense, but Friedman offers a distinctive lens on the benefits that flow from forming a relationship that is also an economic partnership. 



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