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 25-year-old college graduate who is in a relationship. No kids yet.
Industry and income?
I work at a medical sales company making an estimated $225,000. My salary is $125,000, and I take home $100,000 in commissions and bonuses.
I think for industry standard and my years of experience I’m fairly compensated. However, with the amount of work I do and production/return I bring to the company, I *should* be making more.
I have friends and mentors in my field with similar roles making well into the $300,000 -$400,000 range.
Putting anything into savings?
Yes. I only leave around $10,000 in my checking at any given time. The rest goes to my high interest savings accounts.
Saving for anything specific?
I want to begin purchasing properties (duplexes or triplexes), so I am saving while building my credit a little higher to get better rates.
I also want to pop the question to my girlfriend soon so, yeah … there’s that too.
Do your parents support you?
Oddly enough, even with a six-figure income, my mother still fronts my cell phone bill and I pay her back. I’ve been in the process of “getting my own plan” for years now.
Most expensive night out this month?
Terrible day last Thursday. Our dog decided he wanted to ingest something he shouldn’t have, so we had to make an emergency vet trip to get his stomach pumped. We spent about $1,200
Thankfully our boy is alright and back to being his usual clumsy self again!
Most stressful thing about your financial situation?
Being younger, I still get the impulses to buy materialistic things that I know are ultimately a waste of money.
In my situation I often justify it based on how much I make, which doesn’t change the fact that I don’t really need those things.
Top 3 financial goals?
- Achieve an annual income of at least $500,000 by the age of 30.
- Begin investing in rental properties by the end of 2021 to start making passive income.
- Get one of my savings accounts to over 100k by the end of 2020.
I’m old school, so I still use Excel sheets to track everything and see where it’s going.
Let me start by saying I’m not an expert by any means. I still try to learn or get advice from any reliable source I can find. But at the moment I try to diversify between Vanguard index funds and traditional large company stocks that are often able to rebound better. I use about 10 percent of the money I invest by putting it toward startup companies for pre-IPO shares in the hopes that one might break it big. I had a friend invest in Snapchat before it blew up, and I’ve been scarred ever since!
Credit card strategy?
I travel for work at least 50 percent of the time, so I’m all about my rewards cards that give miles. We just took a trip two months ago to Puerto Rico and paid nothing for airfare and hotel.
One thing you’d like to purchase that you can’t currently afford?
Technically there isn’t anything (within reason) that I want that I can’t afford. My dream car has always been a Lamborghini huracan and technically I could afford the lease payments. However, I’d like to think I’m usually reasonable with my money and don’t think spending a rent payment on a vehicle is that smart right now, no matter how you look at it. Hopefully soon though!
Best purchase you made this month?
Lower deck Panthers tickets right behind the team to go see the game. I got to surprise my girlfriend and take her out while also saving a ton based on what they would normally cost because Cam is out.
Best and worst financial decisions?
Best: Setting up a high yield savings account. I realize I haven’t been in the workplace for long but I really, really don’t want to retire any later than maybe 35-40.
Worst: Getting caught in the hype of cryptocurrency and dumping money into some that absolutely failed. Luckily it was not a huge amount of money.
Where did you learn to manage your money?
Growing up, my family was terrible with money. They constantly struggled to stay on top of finances and savings, so I made it a point to teach myself and try not to make those same mistakes.
There have definitely been some bumps along the road but I would say I’ve done a pretty good job!
What do you consider “rich” in Charlotte?
I consider anyone earning over seven figures in yearly income rich.
Obviously there is a wide margin where people can be well-off, but it’s just always what I considered rich. Especially in cities like Charlotte that are larger but not on a massive scale like New York, L.A., or Miami.
[Agenda related story: At what age do people become millionaires in Charlotte?]
Motivated by money?
Absolutely. I’m in sales. If I wasn’t in it to make money, then I shouldn’t be in it! It sounds blunt but it’s the truth. A lot of times it’s a grind, but I keep myself motivated with the goal of being able to hit my aforementioned financial goals.
No. 1 piece of financial advice?
Do not mess up your credit… ever. I know it sounds obvious, but I have had to fight so hard to even get back to what is considered a “good” score that I never want to do that again. This comes with being financially literate, so I’ll preach it to anyone who will listen.
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.
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.