A Financial Advisor in Indiana — Money Diary

Occupation: Financial advisor
Industry: Finance
Age: 36
Location: Indiana
Salary: $120,000
Net Worth: $700,000 (401(k): $344,000; Roth IRA: $21,000; taxable investment account: $29,000; employee stock plan: $15,000; checking: $5,000; emergency HYSA: $15,000; wedding savings: $10,000; value of primary residence: $500,000; value of rental properties (seven units): $560,000 minus mortgages).
Debt: $799,000 (primary mortgage: $329,000; mortgages on rentals: $470,000); my car is paid off.
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $5,000
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Primary Mortgage: $1,750 (includes escrow for property tax and insurance).
Rental Mortgages: I don’t count these as monthly expenses because they are cash-flow neutral. The rent covers the mortgage payments, property tax, and insurance.
Water, Gas & Electricity: $150–$250
Phone & Internet: $60
Gym Membership: $30
Hulu: $7
Sirius Radio: $7.78
Wall Street Journal Digital: $6
Health, Dental & Vision Insurance: $100
Employee Stock Purchase: $200
401(k): 10% and employer match 5%

Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $139
Sapphire Preferred: $95
Life Insurance: $120
Supplemental Disability Insurance: $600
Car Insurance: $900

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?
Yes, my parents were big proponents of college. My dad, in particular, expected us to go to college because he thought that was the best choice for us in the long run. My parents didn’t have the means to help us with the burden of education costs, but they did the best they could by allowing us to live with them after college, helping with insurance, gas money, et cetera. Their help was greatly appreciated by all of us! I paid for my undergrad degree with student loans and working part time all through college. There were times I had two or three jobs during school, but I still had a blast.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent(s)/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents didn’t have the greatest track record financially when I was growing up. I didn’t realize it until I was a teenager, but my dad liked to spend money that we didn’t have, and my mom didn’t know how to handle it. My dad didn’t have bad intentions; he just didn’t have a clue about how much he made versus how much he spent. As a result, we didn’t have money conversations until I was working my first W-2 job. I listened to what my grandparents taught me: Save first and spend what’s left. My parents’ relationship with money impacted how I view money as both a teenager and an adult. As a result, I always strive to have emergency funds and keep my debt in check. I’ve never carried a balance on a credit card because I saw what it was like for my parents, who were always fighting to get their cards paid off. When I was in my early 20s, my mom asked me to step in and help manage their finances. Fortunately, we were able to get them on the same page and, as a result, they are now debt free and have a savings cushion.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked at a local fast food joint when I was 16. I was thrilled to be making $5 an hour starting out and even more excited that I didn’t have to ask my parents for gas money. As a youngster, I worked on my grandparents’ farm, but I was so excited to get my fast food job and start to build my own working reputation outside of my family. I learned so much working this job, including patience, teamwork, and communication.

Did you worry about money growing up?
I started worrying about money when I was 13, but I wasn’t concerned about having a roof over our heads or food on the table. I knew if the worst-case scenario happened, my grandparents had the means to step in and help us. However, I did worry about long-term things like college and my parents’ retirement.

Do you worry about money now?
Yes and no. My fiancé and I are getting married later this year. It’s always been on me to take care of myself financially so it will be interesting to have a partner to count on. We don’t live together currently and do not manage our finances together, but we plan on merging finances over time after we get married. I also took a significant pay cut to get into a career I absolutely love about three years ago, so I’m still recovering from the pay cut. Over the last year, I have started seeing my pay increase again. I planned for the pay cut by saving up significant cash reserves ($150,000), but that has been depleted over the last couple of years due to purchasing my home, fully furnishing my house, starting a business, and paying for at least half of our upcoming wedding. I’m looking forward to getting the wedding paid for so that I can increase my monthly savings and 401(k) contributions.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
When I graduated college, I moved home for about a year after graduation. My parents didn’t charge me rent because they wanted me to focus on paying off my nearly six-figure student loan debt.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I have seven rental properties that I co-own with my business partner and cousin. Right now, they are cash-flow neutral because we’re reinvesting any returns back into the business after paying the mortgages and other expenses, but our plan is for this to turn into a passive income stream for us in the next five to 10 years. This is a long-term venture to help us have passive income in retirement.

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