How a 44-year-old Ann Arbor, Michigan-based accounting manager spends:

  • SALARY:   I make $76,000 per year as an accounting manager based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My household has a combined yearly income of $131,000. I've only asked for a raise on-cycle, and I have a 50/50 win rate on this. My current place of employment isn't civil about wage discussions, thus I am pursuing my CPA to garner more interviews.
  • SAVINGS: I have $70,000 in my savings account.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: We pay $1,065 rent for an apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and an in-unit washer and dryer. I pay for health insurance and contribute to my 401(k) each month. We also pay for Netflix, PS Vue for TV channels, Xfinity for internet, two carports and Audible on a monthly basis. We also pay for annual things like Picmonkey, Public Goods, Amazon Prime and Shipt.

  • DEBT: So, I have a Great Recession story. The short version is that in 2016 and 2017 we were able to sell both houses we owned, one for double what we paid, and the other for half what we paid. We did so to go debt free. So now we rent - still a kind of debt with a signed lease.  We have bought a car at 0% and pixel phones at 0% and pay that off as slowly as they'll allow. But that's also debt.  Still, we could liquidate savings, pay it all, and still have money left.

  • INVESTING:  I started investing in my first 401(k) in 1998, and have continued to do so at each job that offered a match. When there was no match, I rolled everything into a Vanguard Index and put my savings there. My spouse does the same, works at public institution with a 200% match up to 5% - they underpay by about 10% too, so it comes out in the wash. We used to put money into IRA's when we could. (We are 44/45 and currently put away ~$1,350/mo for retirement (including matches) and have ~$250K in our retirement accounts.  We still feel behind! Start early and high. Thrift shop like you mean it. Side hustle FOR retirement, so you can chill in retirement).

  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I’ve ever spent money on was a trip to Paris.

  • SPENDING REGRET: It's all the little things I didn't really need that add up to so much.  

  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was RAICES Bond Fund: FREE our Families.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: The time of a lottery specialist accountant/lawyer.

  • GOALS: Short Term/Long Term - we want to travel. We'd like to retire at 65 but not take social security until the full amount is available. We'll need to buy a house, hopefully in the next five years, lakefront with a 15 year fixed mortgage so it's paid off before retirement. We'd like not to work in retirement. I want to at least be secure financially (have needs met) in the event of my husband's disability or death.