Senior Writer & Editor In Bellingham — Money Diary

Occupation: Senior writer and editor
Industry: Tech (hospitality)
Age: 36
Location: Bellingham, WA
Salary: $152,000 (+ $40,000 bonus). Husband’s salary is $183,000 (+ $35,000 bonus).
Net Worth: ~$215,000 (home equity: $500,000; retirement: $150,000; savings: $30,000; apartment building investment equity: $100,000; car equity: $20,000, minus debt)
Debt: ~$585,000 (mortgage loan: $550,000; car loans: $30,000; credit card: $5,000)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $4,000 (after deductions for health insurance, 401(k), and daycare FSA); husband’s paycheck is $5,300 (after 401(k) deduction.)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $4,100 (mortgage)
Monthly Loan Payments: $700 (my car); $600 (husband’s car); $1,000 (credit card)
All Other Monthly Expenses:
Daycare: $3,900 (for two kids)
Internet: $90
Cell Phones: $150
Water/Waste Utilities: $130
Energy Utility: $120
Netflix: $17
Peloton Membership: $48
Spotify: $12
Life Insurance: $100
Car Insurance: $150
Savings: $2,000

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 and yes. I graduated from a four-year state university. My parents paid for 100% of my tuition and living expenses during college; they did the same for my sister. I’m not sure if there was ever a conversation about the option to NOT attend college — it was a family expectation, and I wanted to.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent(s)/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Conversations about finances were mostly about allowance and me getting my own bank account and job when I turned 16. I knew I got a certain amount of money from my parents each month and had to be careful about how to spend it, and I got a job during my last two years of high school to pay for extras.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I was a receptionist at a hotel for extra spending money.

Did you worry about money growing up?
No. I now know we had some lean years when I was a little kid, but by the time I was aware of money my parents were fairly well off.

Do you worry about money now?
I worry about money in an anxious way, not an existential way. I know I’m always going to be fine and my kids are going to be fine. It’s a privilege to feel that way. Still, I get anxiety about how much money we spend — on our mortgage, on daycare, on random kid activities, on food, on everything — and I don’t think it’s realistic to cut back right now. At least the daycare expenses will be mostly gone once my kids go to elementary school.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became mostly financially responsible for myself when I graduated from college at 22 and got my first job. At that time, I lived fairly frugally and with roommates because I was in low-paying journalism jobs. My parents paid for my cell phone bill and car insurance until I was about 25. If we were in dire financial straits, we would move in with either my parents or in-laws, who all live in other states.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I mentioned that my parents paid for my college tuition and living expenses. They also gifted me $10,000 toward a down payment when my husband and I bought our home. I received about $10,000 from my grandparents as a gift during college.

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