Cash Confessional: 32-year-old airline pilot making $145,000 looks to invest in real estate and retire with $10M

Cash Confessional: 32-year-old airline pilot making $145,000 looks to invest in real estate and retire with $10M
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Our Cash Confessional series, in partnership with Bank of America, takes a personal and anonymous look into how people of all ages and incomes spend their money. Answers have been lightly edited for clarity. 

PARTICIPATE: Want to be featured? Go take this new 28 question, anonymous survey. We’ve recently redone the survey to give participants more freedom to showcase their financial decisions and personality — without having to track weekly expenses. To see the other installments of Cash Confessional, click here


Tell us about yourself.

I’m a married, 32-year-old college graduate with an infant. We own a home. Our mortgage is $1,150 a month and we’re looking for a larger home in the next three years.

Income?

$145,000. I’m an airline pilot.

Net worth?

$300,000.

Are you fairly compensated?

Fairly for my experience. Next year my salary will rise to approximately $175,000.

Are you putting anything into savings?

Roughly $4,400 per month with all investments and savings.

Saving for anything specific?

Trips come out of savings account, big purchases would be real estate properties.

How much debt do you have?

$35,000 on a new car for my wife this year and $160,000 for my mortgage. Besides that, I have no debt.

At what age do you hope to retire? On track?

55 and yes, but until my other investments start producing it wouldn’t be the lifestyle I desire.

Most expensive night out this month?

Took a much-needed break and got the wifey off house arrest with the baby and went to Cork and Cask in Huntersville. Two drinks and meals were $46, with tip included.

Best purchase you made this month?

$24 for two sun visor clips in my Audi A4 that have been broken for over 5 years! They were almost $60 each, but I found them on Amazon for $12 each and it’s changed my life.

Best and worst financial decision?

The best was to always pay myself first. That way I had to figure out how to make the rest of the month work, which allowed me to get creative with other streams of income. This helped me escape relying on credit cards for emergencies, create an emergency fund, and start saving for my financial goals.

Worst was in my 20s with getting into credit card debt and spending every bit of my $4,000 per month income and living paycheck to paycheck.

One thing you’d like to purchase that you can’t currently afford?

Rental properties.

I want to start investing but don’t want to bring in other investors or lending for the down payments of at least 20 percent.

Most stressful thing about your financial situation?

Not being able to save enough for my rental income investment and feeling like I’m losing valuable time.

With it, I’d like to meet all my financial obligations, become financially independent, and be able to work strictly for fun and benefits.

Credit card rewards strategy?

AmEx Hilton card. Since I can fly for free, now I can stay free, which makes vacation very reasonable.

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Reoccurring monthly expenses/allocations?

  • Car: $650, but I pay an extra $100 per month
  • Mortgage and utilities: $1,250
  • Insurance: $175
  • Life insurance: $200
  • Investments: $3,000
  • 401k: 16% from my employer and 10% Roth from me
  • Average living expenses: $3,000

Budgeting strategy?

I used to track my budget, now I keep rough averages and don’t count every dollar.

Investing strategy?

  • IUL (equity-indexed universal life insurance): $500
  • Roth 401k managed by Fidelity: $1,200
  • Child’s 529 plan (average $430/month total but family has contributed already): $100
  • Real estate investing savings: $2,000
  • Acorns ETF account: $150

Where did you learn to manage your money?

I remember the night where I didn’t have enough money to go see a new movie in the theater and thought, “This sucks!”

From then on I started reading tons of personal finance books, blogs, magazines, and whatever I could get my hands on.

I reasoned that it’s not some mystical thing for a select few people. It’s knowledge and all you have to do is to seek out that knowledge and apply it.

Top 3 financial goals?

  • Real estate investing to equal my monthly expenses (financially independent).
  • Retire with at least $10M.
  • Work as little as possible to spend more time with my friends and family.

    What do you consider “rich” in Charlotte?

    $5 million. You can buy a nice property, new cars, great travel/vacations, and would feel financially secure. Pulling out 4 percent of that would mean $200,000 per year and still keep your money growing.

    Are you motivated by money?

    I’m motivated by what I can use money to do. It’s only a tool to buy your time back from your job and to experience the world the way you truly wish to.

    No. 1 piece of financial advice?

    Pay yourself FIRST, then you’ll figure out the rest.

    And don’t follow your passion! Do what you are really really good at, and become among the top of your field. But don’t forget to bring your passion along with you.


    Build your financial know-how with free tools and information to help you make more confident decisions. Visit the Bank of America Better Money Habits site today.

    Need 1:1 guidance on getting your finances in order? Schedule an appointment with a Bank of America specialist today or stop in your local financial center.

    PARTICIPATE: Want to be featured? Go take this new 28 question, anonymous survey. We’ve recently redone the survey to give participants more freedom to showcase their financial decisions and personality — without having to track weekly expenses. To see the other installments of Cash Confessional, click here

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