How a 33-year-old Dallas-based investment director spends:

  • SALARY: I make $111,556 per year as an investment director at an endowment in Dallas, Texas. I have asked for a raise before. It was a moot point, though, because they promoted me. I am about to ask again in six months (at my new company) to bring my pay in line with my qualifications. 
  • SAVINGS: I have $15,773.20 in my savings account right now. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $1,550 each month on a mortgage. I pay for my health insurance and contribute to my 401(k). Each month I pay for a barre studio membership, Rent the Runway and iTunes. 
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I am paying it off by managing and reducing expenses. I work in investments, so I beat myself up mercilessly for some of the decisions I made. Looking back, I wish I would have accepted the facts and moved forward more quickly.
  • INVESTING: I have a Fidelity brokerage account through which I regularly invest. Conventional wisdom says that since I’m young, so I should have an 80% or more of my long-term assets in equities. However, given my profession, I know that markets are at an all-time high with a lot of unknowns. All this to say, I manage the $60,000 or so I have in longer-term investments using the endowment model. I built an asset allocation and model portfolio in Excel, researched funds carefully and now rebalance my portfolio two to four times per year. Invest in what you know.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: I spend $170/month for a membership to a local fitness class. It feels unnecessary, especially when compared to ClassPass or Equinox, but I started going during the height of a stressful period at work while going through a divorce. It’s the best way I’ve found to help manage my stress. I use it three to five times per week, so my average cost per class is under $10.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I needed a new car, so I did my research online and settled on a used SUV. (So practical!). I went to the dealership (think foreign, luxury cars) with my down payment and immediately fell in love with a brand new sports Sedan almost double the price of the used SUV. Long story short, I leased it. I didn’t read the fine print, so when I return the car in a year (no asset!) I’ll have to pay $3,000 or more due to mileage overages. I learned so many lessons from this: 1) When you make a plan, stick to it. 2) Read the fine print. 3) If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 4) Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Ultimately, I can cover the charges and I’ve enjoyed my car, but the experience wasn’t worth it for me.
  • CHARITY: The last charities I contributed to were the Genesis Women's Shelter and The Birthday Party Project.
  • GOALS: My main goal is rebuilding the assets side of my balance sheet. I raided my brokerage and retirement accounts to the tune of $80,000 to support a business that wasn’t mine and avoid lifestyle changes while I was in business school. Post-divorce, my financial security felt comprised, so I’ve been working diligently to reclaim it. My 2017 goals include building up six months of expenses in cash (which I’ve almost done) and renegotiating my salary closer to the market rate. In the next one to five years, I plan to pay off my debt completely, buy more real estate and continue teaching my daughter solid saving habits. I want to learn more about how to replicate the volatility and return profile of hedge funds and other alternatives in more liquid investment strategies.

- She Spends / Issue #25

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