I’m 27, I’m Unemployed & I Don’t Want To Downgrade My Lifestyle

I’m 27, I’m Unemployed & I Don’t Want To Downgrade My Lifestyle

Occupation: Unemployed software developer
Industry: Tech
Age: 27
Location: Atlanta
Salary: $0 (I was laid off six months ago.)
Severance: $21,123 (I received three months’ salary, plus a vacation payout.)
Net Worth: $170,774 (401(k): $108,367; Roth IRA: $14,647; HSA: $8,905; checking: $1,928; HYSA: $36,927)
Debt: $0
Unemployment Benefits (weekly): $365
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,500 (I live alone in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with my two cats.)
Phone: $67.14
Internet: $70
Electricity: ~$75
Health Benefits: $677.13 (My former employer covered my health and dental benefits for the first three months as part of my severance, but now I pay the full cost. I chose to continue because I was almost at my deductible, $1,500, when I got laid off.)
Dental Benefits: $54.57
Premium Family YouTube: $22.99 (I share this with my sister who lets me use her Max, Hulu, and Netflix subscriptions.)
Spotify Premium: $10.99
Time Management App: $7.50
Patreon: $28 (various)

Annual Expenses
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Fee: $550
Delta SkyMiles Gold AmEx Card Fee: $99
Amazon Prime: $139
YNAB: $98.99

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?
There was a subtle expectation for me to attend higher education, but I don’t remember it being drilled into me. Both my parents have associate’s degrees hung up in their house, but I don’t even remember what they’re in. I wanted to go to a private school, but I went to an in-state public university because my dad agreed to pay for the majority of it. I graduated with about $9,000 in student loans, which I paid off the year after I graduated.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents didn’t educate me about finances at all. Money was a taboo topic in my home because their biggest fights were about finances: who would pay for what, how the other person was wasting money or not spending it right, et cetera. Growing up, I didn’t fully understand because, from my perspective, we had everything we needed, and they were able to give me (almost) everything I wanted. Now that I’m grown, I know there was probably credit card debt involved in that.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
When I was a sophomore in high school, I did an “apprenticeship” at a dance school where I was paid a stipend that totaled around $700 over the course of that school year. I got the job because I was told I needed to do activities that looked good for colleges, and the stipend was a sweet bonus. I was an assistant teacher for a ballet class in which an eight-year-old told me she hated me and wished I would die every week. My first real job was the one I got laid off from, which was also my first job out of college.

Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes. Like I mentioned, my parents fought about money. Looking back, all that tension might have made me obsessed with learning as much about finances as I could. I loved getting books about earning money (shout out to the American Girl book, A Girl’s Guide to Money) and was constantly coming up with business ideas.

Do you worry about money now?
Right now, yes, because I’m unemployed. The money will run out if I don’t get a new job and, truthfully, I don’t want to downgrade my lifestyle. Before I got laid off, the answer would have been no. I was making a very good salary, over $126,000, and I could save while still enjoying my life.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became financially independent at age 21, after I graduated and moved to Atlanta for my job. As for a financial safety net, I think my mom would send me money if I needed it, and I would be able to move in with one of my sisters or back in with my parents. They all live in different states than me, though, so that’s a very last resort.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.

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