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shani
Thursday, 1 March 2007 at 7:46pm
Sunday, 1 November 2009 at 3:45pm
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Thread: Mortgages and PhD

posted
27-Feb-09, 11:12
edited about 16 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
oh, some new posts appeared between when I read and when I posted. sorry for being repetitive - Smilodon beat me to most of my points!

;-) *waves at Smilodon*

Thread: Mortgages and PhD

posted
27-Feb-09, 11:08
edited about 20 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
Hello,

Reading this thread, I do get the impression that everyone's opinions are all made up - which would make it a bit pointless to continue the discussion. But that might be an artefact of the medium. So here goes...

However, I dont think women DO give up all their power when they do start families, they have an opportunity to develop another aspect of their life, in a way men often are excluded from. Women can also go back to work, and are doing so in greater numbers.


I agree, insofar as I'd like to change the focus from individuals making decisions, to couples (after all, it takes two to make a baby). This has been pointed out before. Now, there are many different ways in which couples work. But let's assume for now that they make their main, important decisions about careers and family planning, together. (And thus, indeed, women do NOT give up all their power when they decide to become stay-at-home mums).
Most couples are under some sort of financial constraint. So once the time comes round to decide who should reduce their wage-earning work by how much and who should take on how much unpaid care work, the different wages between men and women (which might not exist in individual cases of couples, but are in fact the norm) will push the couple towards making certain decisions, whereas other arrangements might be financially impossible or come at a huge cost.

As you correctly point out, BHC, this often means that the man (let's stick with heterosexual couples for now) does not have the option of becoming a stay-at-home, full time dad, and thus cannot develop this part of his life as he might like to.
But does that mean that the woman has more choices than the man?
No indeed. Whereas.../ If the man does not have the option of becoming the prime carer, the woman does not have the option of becoming the prime breadwinner.
It's their choices as a couple that are limited, and it affects both of them. If the woman did have the option, a real choice, that would mean that so would the man.

Yes, women can and do go back to work, some never leave work. But, two things: First, can they also go back to their careers? And second: Once they do earn again, they have more options - but so do their husbands/partners.

I'm basically saying that if you view the issue from the point of view of couples, every option is an option the couple has, and if the couple does not have any options, then neither man nor woman has options.

This would create an image of perfect equality, and it is probably experienced like that by many couples. However, this only works as long as the couple stays together (and we know that divorce rates are high...). Once a couple splits up, the unequal SOCIAL valuation of paid vs. unpaid work is bound to create a power and wealth imbalance between that part of the couple who was the main breadwinner and the other part of the couple who was the main home-maker... I'm not saying that the breadwinner will automatically be happier, but he/she WILL be wealthier and less dependent.

So men and women are equal, in that wages differentials might force them into an arrangement neither of them particularly likes - maybe both the woman is unhappy as homemaker and the man is unhappy as breadwinner... but there is no choice. However, once the couple breaks up, the equality (of choices, of (lack of) options) disappears.

Thread: Getting a mortgage - grant isn't '"real money"

posted
26-Feb-09, 15:43
edited about 18 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
hi,
i just wrote something about this on the other mortgage thread. i'll copy it in here for you:

my partner and i bought a house on a mortgage recently. my partner has a steady job as a lecturer, i have a stipend from abroad. when first we started looking for a mortgage, we found that my income didn't count for anything. it was completely disregarded. that was in july, august last year - BEFORE the big crunch.
we still did get the mortgage we needed. in order to do it, my partner had to be the sole applicant (rather than a joint application), and we had to make sure that i wasn't figured as a "dependant". in other words - if your income doesn't count, you need to get your name off the paperwork, or else you will be automatically assumed to be your partner's dependant. and if your partner has a dependant, he'll get (a lot) less money.
i've been watching the mortgage and property markets quite closely ever since - i've made it my business to know what we are getting ourselves into, although - or because - my name is not on the papers. i think if you have a 25% deposit, and your partner has a good income, you (that is, he/she) can get a good mortgage. if i were taking out a new mortgage right now, i'd go for a fixed rate, not a tracker - but that's another story. you can send me a PM if you'd like to discuss this further... i confess i've spent more time on these issues than on my PhD recently...

Thread: Mortgages and PhD

posted
26-Feb-09, 15:38
edited about 8 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
oops - it's a long post - and the end was cut off! so here some more:

i was going to say that if you just replace "becoming pregnant" with "becoming a full time dad" in your wish, it would be totally do-able, if you really wanted it.

i totally agree with you, that fathers should get paternity leave. and that women should earn the same amount as men, in order to make the decision of who stays home, who goes to "work", not being biased by women earning less. (among other reasons for equal pay :-) )

but all that doesn't stop you from finding a partner who'd "provide" for you, as long as you look after her baby, her household, her social life, and her emotional needs... believe you me, there ARE women out there who'd like to have it both - a family AND a career! the way many men have it today, anyway. it's quite easy, actually, when you have someone at home doing that part!
but is that really your wish? to be provided for... to relinquish your financial responsibility... to get weekly house-keeping money... and when your wife leaves you for someone else in a few years, to become a welfare dependant single parent, because your career is of course in shatters after many years of "not working" (and you don't really have time to go to work anyway, the kids need looking after). aaah i'm getting carried away. it doesn't have to be like that of course.

Thread: Mortgages and PhD

posted
26-Feb-09, 15:25
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
on the original topic:

my partner and i bought a house on a mortgage recently. my partner has a steady job as a lecturer, i have a stipend from abroad. when first we started looking for a mortgage, we found that my income didn't count for anything. it was completely disregarded. that was in july, august last year - BEFORE the big crunch.
we still did get the mortgage we needed. in order to do it, my partner had to be the sole applicant (rather than a joint application), and we had to make sure that i wasn't figured as a "dependant". in other words - if your income doesn't count, you need to get your name off the paperwork, or else you will be automatically assumed to be your partner's dependant. and if your partner has a dependant, he'll get (a lot) less money.
i've been watching the mortgage and property markets quite closely ever since - i've made it my business to know what we are getting ourselves into, although - or because - my name is not on the papers. i think if you have a 25% deposit, and your partner has a good income, you (that is, he/she) can get a good mortgage. if i were taking out a new mortgage right now, i'd go for a fixed rate, not a tracker - but that's another story. you can send me a PM if you'd like to discuss this further... i confess i've spent more time on these issues than on my PhD recently... ;-)

and now on the second topic ;-)

lots has been said already, but there is one thing i'd like to point out. BHC, good to see you are still around ;-) look here, i think (note: i think, not "i know") there might be something in your posts that you are not quite aware of. in a nutshell, you are wishing for less income (power), if only you could get rid of all that responsibility (worrying about the mortgage etc.).
that's the "perk" of being poor/powerless/discriminated against/dependent/the victim: you don't have to bear the responsibility.
the other way of looking at the same thing is of course: you don't get the make the decisions.
good or bad?
with power (even if it's simply "equality"), comes responsibility. i think that when looking at it calmly and clearly, very few of us would choose to relinquish power (or income, or favourable status positions, or our independence) in order to avoid responsibility. not you, either.
although we probably all have times when we wish, we so wish we could hide from that responsibility. we would be so much happier if we could just delegate all the difficult decisions to someone else (a "leader"...) and get on with our easy, cotton-wooled lives. oh, how i'd love not to have to worry about money!
i think that you might have been going through one of those times when you wrote your first post. a moment in which you were so burdened with the responsibilities in your life, that the option of being dependant just looked sooooo good. we all get those moments...

after reading this, do you still wish you could get pregnant, start earning 70% of what you earn now, and have a richer partner who provides for you? because this wish, i claim is nothing else than the wish to become dependent and not have the responsibility any more. wishing not having to make any decisions (and forgetting that this means not just not having to, but not being able to make decisions, as somebody else provides/decides FOR you).
do you understand now why some people reacted the way they did? women are still fighting for equal pay. now you come along, and in a sense you tell us we should be happy that we earn less, because that way we have the option of being dependent. we should be glad that we have less power, because that means less responsibility. saying this to people who are fighting for equal power, equal responsibility, for independence ..., is bound to be provocative... we are trying to become less dependent - more FREE - and you tell us our aims are all wrong, we should be happy as we are priviledged (!) to be powerless, to ear

Thread: Everyone's pregnant!

posted
26-Feb-09, 14:31
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
great to see some of the old forum regulars in this thread :-) *waves*

bobby - i'm 33 - still a student - always been a student - and would like to always stay a student! as in: someone who still has the capability and will to learn.
turn it around on them (in your head, i mean) - they are only what, in their late 20s, early 30s - and they are already too old to learn??? who's ridiculous now?

i should rather hope that having kids won't stop me from being a student!

btw: i know of only two women i went to uni with who have a child (apart from those who had children before they started uni). peeps from school-days are a different story. well you know, nearly half of all academically educated women in western europe never have children. so if you're feeling troubled by the comparison, just shift your comparison focus - compare yourself to others in a similar situation to you! and you'll stop feeling left out.

Thread: Ok, need some housing advice

posted
26-Feb-09, 14:09
edited about 20 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
Hey there,

there was a story on the BBC website recently, claiming that rental prices are dropping.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7910329.stm

I'd wait, if I were you - the later it gets, the more affordable your dream bedsit will become!

Thread: Ok, need some housing advice

posted
20-Feb-09, 10:25
edited about 17 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
Heya,
I think that if you're on a budget and want to get to Uni quickly, then you should consider looking outside of "London"! Lots of places have really fast train links to central London. Like, less then 15 minutes. If you want to live anywhere that close to Uni in tube-travelling time, you'll be paying lots more.

I live outside of the M25. It takes me less than an hour door-to-door (to a central London uni). Quite some people who live a lot closer, take longer. Out where I am, you can get rooms in flatshares from £250/month.

With the low interest rates, and with all the city redundancies, rental prices are coming down, too. Lots of would-be sellers decide to rent out instead. There is (nationally) more then twice as much property available on the rental market than a year ago. Many involuntary landlords are desparate to get good tenants. As a tenant, you have a strong bargaining position at the moment. I've seen rental "asking prices" come down by more than 10% in the last 4 months, in our area. And you can easily offer to pay less then the "asking price"... and still get it. (So that's for giving you some hope!)

If you can't provide regular income, do get a copy of a recent bank statement that shows how much you own. Offer to pay lots upfront instead, if the landlord needs security.

Thread: Annoyed, but do I have a point?

posted
16-Feb-09, 09:31
edited about 9 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
probably missspacey is right. but still, i totally get how this makes you feel! when you are doubting yourself (behind schedule and all), it's especially hard to be confronted with others who seem to be just doing everything right. and although you actually don't begrudge their success, the comparison makes you feel all the worse - and you hate yourself for not being happy for your friends... and so what happens is, you withdraw from people just to avoid those comparisons which make you feel so bad. at least that's what happens with me.

there are two main things to keep in mind, i think.
a) those others who are apparently doing so well - they are sure to have their own problems and doubts, too. they're just hidden. but hey, to be honest, do others know of your self-doubts, or do you present a successful, cheerful front to everyone? don't you hide your problems, too? so why assume that everyone else's shiny fronts are real, except yours which is fake?
b) at the end of the day, the quality of your work won't be measured in contrast to others - it will be judged on its own merits. the fact that it was an "easy ride" for someone won't make the thesis look better - nor will the fact that it was hard work for you, make your writing worth any less.

anyway. allow those feelings. examine them and realise that they are just your self-doubt speaking. then discard them and get back to work :p

Thread: The age old question of pregnancy vs career...

posted
16-Feb-09, 09:16
edited about 6 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
pamplemousse,
that's exactly what i thought when i saw this thread.
may i ask how far into your PhD you are?

and, have you joined momsnet yet? ;-)

good luck! i hope it all works out.

Thread: general questions about PhD in the UK (EU student)

posted
15-Feb-09, 16:56
edited about 18 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
Hi tydra,
if things haven't changed recently, and as far as I am aware, the research councils' (RCs) studentships for EU (non-UK) people cover "fees only". So, even when a lab has an open, funded PhD position, you would only get the fees, whereas a UK applicant would get the fees plus the maintenance (ca. £1000/month, untaxed). So if you don't want to work a part-time job next to your PhD, and want to be financially independent, the RC studentships won't work for you.
Some studentships are funded from different bodies (for example, the Wellcome trust, or the specific university) and they may or may not be eligible for non-UK, EU students.

What strikes me, is how you keep referring to PhD positions as "jobs". I used to think like that too (I'm from Switzerland). Here in the UK, PhDers are not seen as staff, but rather as students; what we do is not seen as work, but rather as "studying". That attitude is obviously reflected in the fact that you get "studentships" (if anything at all), not wages; but it is also obvious in how you are treated: I never was treated so much like a student than I was when I started my PhD. Not even when I was an undergrad student back home. (Of course this depends a lot on your individual institution and supervisors etc.)

For example when you finish your PhD and can't immediately find a job. In UK terms, you will be looking for your "first" job. You will have no "work experience" and will have not "worked" (e.g. paid NI) before and thus you won't be eligible for unemployment payouts. And you won't have a single penny in pensions. So even if the money left after taxes and other deductions in Dutch PhD wages is not more than what you get on an UK studentship, you do get much more security and it is a whole different attitude.

So if you really want to do a PhD in the UK:
- Keep in mind that it's not just the money that's different, it's also a whole different approach.
- Make sure that you are eligible for the funding that goes with the projects you apply for. The professors etc. often don't know. You often have to dig out all the info for yourself. You'll have profs saying "of course you are eligible for this funding" but then it turns out you get "fees only"... or nothing at all... never trust what academics tell you on the subject, they are NOT experts in this.

All that said - I believe if the circumstances are right, it's great to do a PhD in the UK. Go for it!

Thread: The age old question of pregnancy vs career...

posted
15-Feb-09, 16:25
edited about 23 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 11 years ago
Hi all,
I've been away from postgradforum for a long while now, just dropped in 'cause it's such a rainy gray Sunday afternoon.

I'm half way through my third year and my revised timetable shows me going for at least another 18 months. I just turned 33 and my fieldwork, which has to be nearly finished before I get pregnant, as it involves seeing women who can't get pregnant, is slowly drawing to a close. So now is the time. We are actually starting to try for a baby before the end of the month.

Unfortunatly I'm funded from abroad (Switzerland) and the funding runs out in May. I might be able to get an extra year or so, on application. If I do, I might get a little something in terms of maternity leave. But not much - Switzerland only just introduced general maternity leave, in 2005, so in this respect they are quite backward. If I can't extend the funding, I'll be unfunded and thus no mat payments (unless non-earning women in the UK get anything at all... I do have British citizenship and have paid NI contributions in the past).
But still, it is now or probably never for me. If we don't have a baby now/soon, the next chance (career-wise) would be when I'm well into my first post-PhD job, and it's gotta be a job that is not temporary... so in four years the earliest, probably later - and I'll be approaching 40 - and after 35, fertility halves for every year of age...

So we're going for it now. Wish me luck :-)

Fortunately, my partner has a steady job as lecturer. If things go badly, we'll just have to rely on his income alone. But that should be doable. And if things go well, he'll try to reduce to 0.8 FTE or such, and I'll try to get something similar post-PhD, and 2-3 days/week we'd use external childcare. Unfortunately, no grandparents to help, they are in Switzerland, all four of them!

I totally know that now is not a perfect time for having a baby. But, I am quite certain that there never will be a better time. So woohoo... here we go! Let the ride begin!
(And who knows- maybe it all just doesn't work out and I'll not get preggers. That would create a whole different set of questions. But hey, one day at a time!)

Thread: Quiz--How British Are You?

posted
16-Oct-08, 15:42
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 12 years ago
You Are 45% British

You're about as British as a half hearted Anglophile... in other words, a piss poor Brit.
If you are indeed from Britain, you probably consider yourself a European more than anything else.

If you're trying to pass for a Brit, you're going to have to try a little harder.
Go to a football match. Drink until you puke. And head in to work the next morning totally hungover.

---> Quite accurate, as I'm genetically half British but grew up abroad. On the other hand, in the cosmopolitan environment I live in, I frequently find myself being the most British person around. Which says more about the lacking Britishness of the people around me than about me, I suppose ;-)

Thread: meeting in London

posted
16-Oct-08, 15:35
edited about 10 seconds later
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 12 years ago
Hey,
I haven't been following the meeting thread but would very much like to attend one, especially if it is in London. You imply that discussion will be happening by PM - can I be included in those?

I'm not voting as both dates are good for me.

Thread: Following your dreams...Is there a price to pay?

posted
09-Oct-08, 16:57
by shani
Avatar for shani
posted about 12 years ago
Yes, sometimes there is a price to pay. As many here can confirm, living a long way from home can be very, very hard at times. But would we do it anyway? Probably most will answer "yes".

But do also consider an extra option. How about doing a PhD here, and go to Australia for a year as a guest student? Or how about doing your PhD in Australia but choose a topic that will let you do part if it here?

However, trying to keep up good relations across a long distance can make it hard to really get new relations at the new place going. You just don't have time for it all. Although it's lots less far, I sometimes find that for me it has led to neglecting both the local and the distance relations. To some extent I feel as if I don't belong anywhere anymore. It's hard!
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