Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $145,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $145,000 salary
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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 in the span of seven days. 

To see the other installments of Cash Confessional, click here. This series is completely volunteer-based; if you’re interested in keeping track of your own spending and having it featured, email Kylie at

This week, I spoke with a 23-year-old man who makes $145,000 a year. Here’s how he spends his money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Capital Markets
Position: Senior Business Analyst
Yearly salary: $145,000
Extra income: $15,000-$40,000
Who do you bank with and why?

Bank of America/Merrill Lynch: My main checking, savings, IRA and investment accounts live here. I get perks comparable to a credit union because I’m a Preferred Rewards client.
TD Ameritrade: I trade options with TD. I could do this with Merrill Lynch, but 1) I have open positions that I want to easily exercise, and 2) I’m lazy and haven’t figured it out with Merrill Lynch yet.
Charles Schwab: I have a $100 balance here because Chuck lets me withdraw from any ATM in the world with all ATM fees refunded. It’s pretty nice for international travel when I’m going some place that doesn’t widely accept credit cards.
Chase: I have a $1,500 balance to avoid maintenance fees. I originally opened it to exploit their new client sign-up bonuses and their credit card rewards program, but the checking account no longer contributes to the latter. I need to just close it and invest the money.
Savings: I have a $10,000 cash cushion for a rainy day. Other than this, I don’t like to save hard cash, as the gains I receive from investing are far beyond that of any savings account interest rate. I also contribute 4% of my salary to a 401(k) and the max toward my health savings account. I plan to use the latter in a couple of years to pay for lasik eye surgery with pre-tax money.

Age: 23
Gender: Male

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $1,500 (includes my water bill and $95 technology package)
Number of roommates: 0
Neighborhood: South End
Utilities: Electricity ($45) + GigaBit internet upgrade ($40) + HDTV upgrade ($10) = $95
Student loans: None
Car insurance: $600 every six months (I pay for myself and my parents even though I don’t drive).
Transportation costs: $50. This is probably 100% Uber, since work pays for my light rail pass and I don’t drive.
Phone bill: $230. I pay for myself and my parents.
Insurance: $110 for a year of rental insurance

Three financial goals:

Short-term (1-3 years), I’d like to amass enough in liquid assets to pay for my MBA without depleting too much of my net worth.

When it comes to medium-term (4-9 years), I want to be able to easily afford a surrogacy when I find the other half of my power couple. I’m not out to my parents yet, and this will probably be the only thing that allows them to come to terms with me being gay.

Long-term (10-20 years), I’d like to become a private banking client with UBS/JPMorgan/Goldman Sachs. I desperately need the other half of my power couple.

Monday Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Monday

I’m in NYC visiting some good friends and working remote. I skipped breakfast since I woke up late; thus, I pigged out on sushi for lunch ($19.35), walked it off for a few blocks and took the subway to see one of my friends before leaving ($2.25).

While waiting on my friend, I bought a Starbucks green tea lemonade, which was pretty unfulfilling. $4.12

After my meet-up, I took a cab from Wall Street to LaGuardia for $60.34. Ouch.

My friend charged me on Venmo for putting the processing of my Chinese tourist visa on her card, which cost $226. Extra ouch.

My flight was delayed three times, so I ate an early udon noodle dinner ($16.33) It was chilly in the airport. I tried to convince myself I didn’t need a drink since I was having soup, but succumbed to a San Pellegrino 20 minutes later. $3.31

Cash Confessional Noodles

Took an Uber from Charlotte Douglas to my apartment. $10.94

Total spent: $342.64

Day two: Tuesday

Microwaved an egg white English muffin for breakfast. $0

Ordered spicy lemongrass soup from Freshii for lunch. $9.22

Cash Confessional Freshii

Work was stressful and made me sad, so I treated myself to an apple turnover and an overpriced drink from Caribou ($6.15). I was still stressed and thinking about work on the train home, so I went shopping for a nice waste basket on Amazon to take my mind off of things. $15.99

I met my friends at Brass Tap for a Taco Tuesday dinner. We split an appetizer, got a special price margarita and two tacos for $16.26. After dinner, we went to Wooden Robot and had beers. $8.58

Total spent: $56.20

Day three: Wednesday

Had a free breakfast at work followed by a crappy work coffee. $0

I was craving sushi for lunch, so I went to Bonsai Fusion for a Sushiritto. $10.83

Before it was over, I needed a pick me up because work made me sad, so I ordered a vanilla cappuccino at Caribou. $4.64

I made some roasted veggies for dinner. $0

Total spent: $15.47

Day four: Thursday

I worked from home today because of the riots and protests happening in Uptown, so I microwaved an egg white English muffin for breakfast. $0

Snagged some roasted chickpeas for a snack, which just wound up being my lunch. $0

In the middle of opening my second can of chickpeas, my can opener broke, so I ordered a new one and a mandolin from Amazon because I plan to make ratatouille and try to be fancy. $32.16

I reserved two exit row seats for a 13-hour international flight for $56. The tickets are actually $650 each on Air China and were purchased a month and a half early. Air China requires you to pay a fee if you want your seats reserved, otherwise they just assign them to you at checkin. Worth it. 

For dinner, I used what I had at home and poached salmon in garlic butter and roasted a potato and carrots. $0

Cash Confessional

Total spent: $88.16

Day five: Friday

I worked from home again today because things are still unfolding Uptown. Microwaved an egg white English muffin for breakfast($0) and made a roasted kale salad with turkey bacon and a sesame vinaigrette for lunch ($0).

A friend invited me to the Panthers game on Sunday, so I sent her money via Venmo to cover my ticket. Stealllllllllll. $65

Work made me sad, so I went to Blaze Pizza and bought a s’more cookie and a lemonade. $4.17

For dinner I tried out the new sushi restaurant O-Ku in Atherton Mill. I had two rolls and a beer for $47 and headed to Wooden Robot for beers after ($16.07).

Cash Confessional

Total spent: $132.24

Day six: Saturday

I made French scrambled eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast and then went to my friend’s pool to lounge and drink. $0

We decided we should have brunch before the game on Sunday, so we went to Publix and bought supplies and supermarket sushi for lunch. $24

I attended OMB’s Annual Oktoberfest, where a friend bought me my beer and I bought a brat dog, potato salad, cucumber salad, and shared a pretzel with bier cheese. What a fatty. $18.40

Cash Confessional

I craved something sweet on my walk back home, so I stopped by a gas station to buy chocolate and a drink. I swear I’m pregnant. $6.10

Total spent: $48.50

Day seven: Sunday

I had a group breakfast at a friend’s apartment and pre-gamed on mimosas before walking to the Panthers game. $0

Total spent: $0

Total spent: $683.21
The breakdown:
Food and drink – $214.53
Transportation – $73.53
Travel – $56
Miscellaneous – $339.15

What I learned:

I probably spend too much for one person. I tend to enjoy instant gratification, and I’m very spontaneous in social situations. Additionally, I respond to work stress with sugar… and I tend to have a lot of work stress.

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

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

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