Re: I'm frustrated- diverse finances
From: cynthia . e . carpenter (
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 1998 09:52:11 -0500

I think you need to decide what's most important to you: to have expensive
amenities that are paid for equally by the whole community; or to be a
member of an income-diverse community which will, of necessity, have less
amenities and/or unequal financial contributions.  If the former, you have
to find a cohousing group where the members are more homogenous in their
incomes and financial values and closer to yours.  If the latter, you have
to reconcile yourself to having amenities well below what you could afford
and/or gifting some amenities to the community.

There are various schemes for supporting income diversity (as others have
written about), but almost all of them involve some sacrifice on the part
of the wealthier members, whether by risking more money up front,
subsidizing costs for others, or contributing additional common items.
There is no free lunch.  All of these have happened in my community,
because we felt that it was a worthwhile exchange - more financial risk,
costs, and uneven contributions to the common amenities, for diversity of
income, family size and lifestyle.  We all contribute more in some areas,
less in others.  There's a tendency in American society to recognize only
financial contributions, but we were lucky to have many members who were
willing to use their financial resources to help create a community with
diverse non-financial resources.

One other note: I suspect that one source of this conflict is a difference
of views between those who have children and those who don't.  If you have
children someday, you may find yourself on the other side of the fence:
with much less available income, and needing to prioritize children's play
equipment over an Olympic pool.  If you want to live in a community that
has children, you will need to support those priorities to at least some
extent.  If you find yourself using children's needs as a "bargaining
chip," you're in the wrong place.

- Cindy
Cambridge Cohousing

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