How a 25-year-old Brooklyn-based financial analyst spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $80,000 per year as a financial analyst at a bank in NYC. I'm in a rotational program, which means I get to work at different offices around the country (or even the world) for a few years before being assigned to a permanent team. I haven't been working in my current job long enough to ask for a raise, but I did recently negotiate for a relocation package since I will be moving for my next job assignment. The location I'm moving to is about half the cost of living of NYC, but I was able to negotiate to keep my salary at the same level as well as negotiate for a relocation package of several thousand dollars. The conversation was intimidating and awkward, but I stood my ground and came prepared to make a case for what the stipend would pay for. 

  • SAVINGS: I have $12,000 in my savings account. I use my savings account as an emergency fund and I've saved up enough to cover six months of expenses should I lose or quit my job for any reason. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES:  I rent a bedroom in a 4-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn for $1,200 a month. It's a little high for the area I live in, but the apartment is furnished which saved me a lot of money and hassle, especially with my mobile job. My other monthly bills consist of subscriptions to Spotify ($10) and Planet Fitness ($20), and contributions to my retirement accounts. I've been maxing out my 401k and Roth IRA contributions for the past 2 years, which totals to $24,000 per year. This sounds like a crazy huge amount, but I don't have many other expenses right now and I'm still in my early 20s, so my money has so much time to grow. I also have a high deductible health care plan through work that costs about $100 a month and is automatically taken out of my paycheck. After all these expenses, I have about $800 of disposable income a month, which I spendon food and anything else I want.  

  • DEBT: I was super lucky to have received a scholarship in college that was awarded to me for volunteer efforts in high school. I had really wanted to go out of state for college but decided to stay in state after calculating the costs associated with each option. I'm so happy I made that choice because I graduated with $0 in student loans and was able to immediately start building an emergency fund and contributing to retirement accounts after graduating. 

  • INVESTING:   I invest through my retirement accounts and just opened an investment account through Schwab. I invest in target-date funds, which automatically adjust the composition of your investments over time. So they start out riskier and become less risky as you get older. They are so easy to invest in because I don't have to do anything to maintain them. I just chose the funds with my target retirement year and watched my money grow.

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  I'm about to put $5,000 down from savings to purchase my very first car! I'll be moving out of the city for my job next year, so I'll need a vehicle. Deciding to put such a large down payment on the car and taking money from my savings was a hard decision because I've worked hard to save a six-month emergency fund for myself over the past few years, but it will significantly lower my monthly payments and got me a better interest rate.

  • SPENDING REGRET: I've never regretted spending money on anything, but I do regret not contributing to my retirement accounts sooner. Contributing to retirement just five years earlier equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings over time. I started contributing when I graduated college, but I had jobs and internships in high school and college and I really wish I had started contributed as soon as I was eligible.

  • CHARITY: I haven't contributed to a charity recently, but I do donate to local initiatives pretty often through crowdfunding sites and I donate money to my church, which uses funds for some really awesome and charitable projects in our community. I recently contributed to an organization called iMentor which pairs college-educated mentors with at-risk high school students to help them get into college. I am a mentor for this program and highly recommend it! I also contributed several hundred dollars to help build a community garden in my hometown. 
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would first pay off my parents' debts and help my brother out with medical expenses (he's Autistic and also has some health issues from being born prematurely). I would then donate most of the remaining amount to charities that I'm passionate about and invest the rest so that I could eventually stop working in a few years to raise a family.   
  • GOALS: My plan is to continue working in corporate for the next few years to take advantage of my 401k and retirement matching. Then, I'd love to start working part time, making enough to live by so that I can start a family.

- She Spends Issue #63