Superwomen: In this week's instalment of Janelle Malone's Superwomen: when the girls gather for lunch, Abby has big news, witih important personal-finance implications.
Abby take note: love moves us, but tax laws never leave
Is love enough? "For what?" asked Sasha. Abby repeated the question: "Is love enough to change your entire life?" "Yes," Sasha said quickly and added on reflection, "It changed mine."
Every second Sunday, Abby and Sasha treated themselves to the lunchtime special at a top restaurant that was, according to Abby "to-die-for delicious". Sasha looked forward to these extravagant lunches, which she enjoyed guilt-free, deliberately sacrificing her daily latte to help towards paying for it.
Sasha was particularly excited about this Sunday's lunch as Abby had been on a number of dates with - wait for it - the same man. These dates had been going on for more than a month, and there was something in Abby's voice that led Sasha to believe that this could be the beginning of something special. Since her accident, Abby's efforts to find a man in her life seemed genuine.
"So?" Sasha could hardly wait for Abby to tell her more. "Tell me about this new man."
Abby squeezed her friend's arm. "Well," she began, "he is intelligent, driven, fun, sexy, everything I have always dreamed about and then …" She shrugged her shoulders.
"What?" Sasha snapped. "Tell me."
"… And he's told me he wants to have children," Abby continued. Yay, thought Sasha. "But", Abby went on, "he wants to have them in Paris".
"What?" said Sasha, putting down her drink and staring at her friend. "You're kidding me, right?"
"No," said Abby, shaking her head, "I am absolutely serious."
When you consider settling down in a new city or in a new relationship, set aside the romance (briefly anyway) and consider the financial implications.
Top tip 1
• Women tend to pay the bills and manage the family's day-to-day budget.
• What are the tax laws of this new country?
• How will you earn an income?
• Will you be a stay-at-home mum?
• How will your retirement be funded?
• And how much money will these funds gain or lose if anything should happen to your spouse or your marriage?
"No way. Absolutely no way," said Sasha. "My best friend cannot move to Paris for a man I haven't even met." The two women sat in silence for a couple of minutes.
Abby nervously rubbed her fingers. When she finally spoke, her voice was quiet. "Is this about you or me?" she said. "When I asked you earlier if love was enough to change your entire life, you answered yes. And now you're saying no?"
Sasha had the grace to look ashamed, but she wasn't just thinking of herself. She knew from experience that moving to a new city or country was a big move, and, well, it just didn't seem right for Abby.
But how could she put that into words without losing Abby's friendship? She said nothing. Abby finally broke the silence. "Well, you are right Sasha," she said. "This love, as wonderful as it is, it's simply not enough. I wish it were. Perhaps I have been in this job too long, but I have worked hard to create this life, I am not about to throw it all away in one fell swoop."
The two paid their bill and left, feeling sombre indeed. Today's lunch had turned out quite the opposite of what Sasha had been expecting.
Top tip 2
As expatriate women who have already made the move away from home, it is easy to consider moving again. Many of us will be reading this thinking "Go for it, Abby." How exciting it could be to move to Paris, with its reputation as the City of Love. But if we do, we must consider the implications very seriously.
Janelle Malone is a writer, blogger and commentator on personal finance. You can contact her at www.womenmoneyandstyle.com