Location: Bucks County, PA
Salary: ~$45,000 ($22 an hour, plus overtime and incentives)
Net Worth: $106,000 ($15,000 in IRA rollover from previous jobs in the stock market, $16,000 current 401K, $70,000 in high-yield savings and CDs, and $5,000 in emergency savings and checking)
Paycheck Amount (2x month): ~$1,400
Rent: $1,275 (I live alone)
Electric/Cooking Gas: ~$30 (for electric and gas; heat and hot water are included in rent)
Wifi: $0 (haven’t gotten it yet)
Cell Phone: $42 (family plan)
Netflix: $8 (my sister pays half)
Kickboxing: $169 for unlimited classes
Car Insurance: I transfer $50 from each paycheck to a separate savings account for the yearly insurance payment and any shop visits.
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Thinking about it now, I should have listened to my gut and done my first year in community college. I jumped the gun once I got into my first school choice because I felt I accomplished something. However, I was overwhelmed with stress in the first semester and didn’t do so well. My parents were supportive of what me and my siblings wanted to do for our careers, even when it involved changing majors. I got a bachelor’s degree and double majored in Communication Studies and Public Relations. My parents helped out whenever they could between me and my siblings. I worked during my breaks and went to a state school. Right after school, I worked two jobs and threw every extra cent I could towards my student loans.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents would always say “everything adds up” or “we don’t have the money.” Looking back now, they’re right. They clip coupons, only buy stuff on sale, get what we need, and if something new comes out, my dad always tells us never to buy it. What they meant by “having no money” is they didn’t have it in their budget like getting the latest iPod or Hollister clothes back then. My parents are having a comfortable retirement because of their choices and they know when to save and when to treat themselves.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was at a grocery store when I was a sophomore at high school. When I was waiting for my interview, a customer knocked down a tower of toilet paper and I helped clean it up. I found out later they were impressed by it. My parents would only agree to take me to get a learner’s driving permit if I got a job and this was the job. I pet sat and babysat on the side. I also worked at an after-school childcare program for nine years after high school.
Did you worry about money growing up?
It took me a while to understand how money revolves in life. My parents were open with us about if something happened to their jobs. It hit me in high school when the recession hit. My dad was downgraded to part-time and he was the breadwinner of the house. There were times at college I would forget how much I put on my credit card and the bill was not great.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes, even though I have savings thanks to living with my parents in my 20s, but with inflation and now living by myself I don’t know what is going to happen. I recently got out of a very bad roommate situation and unexpectedly had to pay for a storage unit, a PO box, and a month’s rent on the apartment I was no longer living in. I lived with my uncle all summer for free because of it. Now I’m living by myself in a town where I can have a fresh start. I just got a raise from work so that’s helping to make up the cost a bit.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
Right after college at 22, but I lived with my parents. With the money I made working at a coffee shop and in childcare, there was no way I could make enough to pay for a studio apartment. My parents say that as long as we’re working, we can stay with them and give them $300 a month.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My uncle passed away last year and he had a large collection of coins. They were split up among us and I cashed mine in to pay off a credit card bill.