SALARY: I make $80,000 per year as a base salary as a financial analyst based in Dallas. I also make roughly $5,000 in bonuses. My company gives a 3% cost of living raise to basically everyone each year. We also have biannual reviews where we are evaluated for raises and promotions. I plan to apply for a promotion next summer and that will come with a $10,000 salary increase.
SAVINGS: I have $40,000 in my savings account, but I’m getting ready to contribute $30,000 to my existing investment account and leave $10,000 as an emergency fund.
MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1,400 for a 700 square foot one-bedroom apartment in a suburb outside of Dallas. I’m on a high deductible plan at work that costs about $100 a month. I also pay $60 for utilities, $20 for renters' insurance, $100 for car insurance, $300 for car payments, $50 for internet and $56 for my phone bill each month. I use my parents Netflix account and my apartment has a decent gym and pool for exercise.
DEBT: I am in debt. I recently bought a brand new Honda and was approved for a 5-year loan with a $300 monthly payment and a 1.9% rate. I’ve been paying it off for around 6 months now.
INVESTING: I’ve maxed out my retirement accounts for the past two years. I also have an investment account with Schwab that I've been slowly transferring most of my savings to since I graduated college. After I get a promotion next year, I plan to make automatic monthly contributions of around $500 a month.
SPENDING VICTORY: My best friend and I have taken several big trips overseas which each cost a couple thousand dollars. I also just bought my first car (a new sporty Honda) which I’m pretty proud of. I was previously using public transportation and sometimes borrowing one of my parents’ cars.
SPENDING REGRET: Not getting a credit card to build up my credit sooner. I got my first one when I started my first job after college and it has made getting approved for an apartment and a car loan very difficult due to my short credit history. I also wish I started investing in my IRA sooner. You can invest as soon as you are over 18 and have “earned income” and I had several jobs/internships in college that I wish I had invested.
CHARITY: I contribute to my church and the Junior League, both of which oversee a lot of local philanthropic initiatives that I believe in. At work, I also contribute one day’s salary pay per year which is donated directly to the Red Cross and gives me an extra vacation day called an “Angel Day."
GOALS: I’d love to have my car paid off by age 30 and move back to my home state, where I’d like to buy a house I can raise a family in. I’m also interested in building a passive income stream through rental properties or possibly flipping houses, or contributing aggressively to my investment account so I can retire early. It’s important to me that I work towards having minimal monthly expenses in the future (by paying off my car and my mortgage early) so that I can move into a career I do for fun, not necessarily for the money.