Teaching in Newfoundland is an occupation where men and women are paid equally for work of equal value. In fact, your place on the pay scale depends on years of education and experience up to a maximum level. As teachers, my husband, Rick, and I were accustomed to financial equality but when we paid off our mortgage, we were disappointed.
When we moved from Buchans to Grand Falls, Rick took a part time job rather than commute to Buchans every day. We bought a house with both of our names on the mortgage. When we took the mortgage, we supplied our incomes and answered personal questions. Rick's salary was less than mine.
After two years, Rick secured a full time job, our daughter was growing up and we wanted to save for her education. We decided to pay off the mortgage quickly and put that money into Claire's future. Meanwhile I completed my Master's degree which put me on a higher salary scale than Rick. We lived on Rick's salary and for the next five years, put my entire salary on the mortgage. Within five years of this plan, we paid down that mortgage in the days when interest rates were astronomical, at one point, seventeen per cent.
You can imagine my reaction when the letter arrived from the bank congratulating Rick alone for paying down the mortgage. I was disgusted! Nothing the bank personnel said made up for that moment.
Despite the equality in the profession which provided the money for the house, the bank brought us back to the reality for women in western society. The mathematics that balances the books is the least of the many things young women must learn regarding money.