Recently I sent an introduction letter to an intentional community, inquiring about a short visit to see if my family might schedule a longer trial visit for consideration for membership. this is something i have been considering for a long time, although of course i'm not making any hard and fast decisions until after we've visited and have a clearer idea of whether or not this arrangement will meet everybody's needs. one of the reasons why i am considering this particular community is that they are actively seeking single-mom families to correct a gender and age imbalance. i still have a few questions and concerns, most of which of course can only be addressed by a visit to the community itself and actively participating in it for awhile, but some of the more general questions about community life i hope some of you can answer here. my biggest concern is about finances. my family has just won a small settlement in a lawsuit over my mother's death. before committing myself anywhere, my first priority is getting past debts taken care of, including student loans. i am also planning on investing in a van to convert to veggie-oil so i will have some sort of transportation for my family. the community i am interested in is an egalitarian community. does that means it is income-sharing, and if so, what happens to my savings of whatevers left after taking care of debts? the answer to this question won't necessarily determine whether or not i consider membership in the community so much as how i go about paying off my loans beforehand, whether or not i do it all in one chunk or set up a payment plan. i am trying to consider my children's future as much as my participation in the community. the van, my crafts business, and whatever's left after the debts are paid are resources i'd gladly share with th right community, as long as i have a crystal clear picture of what my financial obligations and expectations are. which brings me to another question i have about income-sharing communities. obviously, if we were to join a community, we would be looking at long-term committment. but suppose, after a few years, for whatever reason, our family decided we needed to move on? a security deposit and first month's rent for an apartment is a big up-front expense. we may also need the typical "new apartment" items if we have been sharing things like dishes and furniture, etc. a good community should have a path out as well as a path in, correct? i am really kind of hoping to be able to settle somewhere without having to think about leaving for once, and yet it's something i do need to consider for my kids' sake. if our family gets a limited amount for spending every week, as i've noticed is normal practice in income-sharing communities, how are we going to be able to acrue the savings for a place to stay should we have to leave for whatever reason? these i guess are my biggest concerns. i have been "warned" by various people who may or may not know what they're talking about regarding communities that if i join an income-sharing community, they will "take" our family's winnings or that we will "lose" our resources to the community. some of the concerns mentioned are a bit paranoid, others may be more legitimate. i've been married and divorced twice, and experience has taught me that this kind of committment deserves the same sort of careful consideration. is there some way of protecting my family's assets should the arrangement with a community not work out? i don't begrudge my responsibility of sharing, but i do have to consider my kids' financial future should the situation not work out or should we need to leave eventually. of course, i have yet to get the response to my letter so this may not even be a concern if they are not income-sharing, or if it is determined up front that we won't meet each other's needs.