I’m 35, I Make $140K & I’m Camping In Yosemite

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I’m 35, I Make $140K & I’m Camping In Yosemite


Occupation: Self-employed psychologist
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 35
Location: Northern California
Salary: $140,000
Net Worth: $306,114 (checking: $1,225; HYSA: $20,000; Roth IRA: $48,442; 401(k): $37,187; investment account: $17,287; HSA: $4,152; home: $485,000; car: $30,000; minus mortgage and car loan)
Debt: $337,179 (mortgage: $323,634; car loan: $13,545)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month ): $4,303.64
Pronouns: (She/her)

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $2,015.68 (This includes insurance and taxes. I own a home that I purchased in 2018. My partner lives with me and pays me $1,300 per month to cover rent and all bills.)
Internet: $52
Phone: $60 (I’m on a family plan with my brother and his wife, and this is my portion.) 
Gas: $20–150
Electricity: $50–250
Trash, Recycling & Green Waste: $100
Water: $50–100 (I keep a garden and fruit trees, and we get zero rain in summer, so I pay more during those months.)
Lawn Care: $70
Car Loan: $397.66
Car Insurance: $110
Health Insurance: $450 (I have to pay insurance through the marketplace because I’m self-employed.)
Dental Insurance: $15
Gym Membership: $90
Netflix: $15
HSA: $200
401(k): $1,860
Savings & Investments: $1,500 (I keep $20,000 in an emergency fund. Once I go over that amount, I invest the rest each month.)
Planned Parenthood Donation: $50
Access Fund Donation: $50

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, I was always good in school and enjoyed learning and reading. I assumed that I would go to college and I think my parents did as well. I received a full academic scholarship for my undergraduate education. I had saved about $9,000 from working in high school and that got me through my first year of living in the dorms. For the rest of my college career, I worked two jobs to pay my rent, food, and other bills. I went to a fully funded PhD program and received a small stipend in return for working for the university.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents took a very sink-or-swim approach to teaching me about money. I had jobs starting in elementary school and I was responsible for having the money to do anything that I wanted. One of my earliest money memories is wanting desperately to go to an elementary school carnival but not being allowed because I hadn’t saved up enough money. I was responsible for paying for at least part of every sport or activity that I did and if I didn’t have the money I was out of luck! My dad also taught me the basics of investment, interest rates, and retirement funds.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started babysitting for families in my neighborhood in elementary school. I also had a monthly job stuffing envelopes for a local company. My first W-2 job was at a restaurant as soon as I turned 16. With how my parents approached things, I was extremely motivated to have a job and make money from a young age so that I could do the things my friends were doing.

Did you worry about money growing up?
I didn’t worry about my family’s ability to provide for my basic needs. We had a comfortable life, and my parents were never on the verge of financial disaster, though they had periods of having more or less money during my childhood. I did worry about my own money! As a child, things felt so big and powerful, and when I couldn’t do an activity that all my friends were doing because I didn’t have the money, I was always very sure that I would never recover from the injustice.

Do you worry about money now?
I worry about money less now than I ever have in my adult life. Since I was in school for so many years, I lived on a tight budget. I always had enough, but didn’t have a safety net. Now, I feel comfortable, able to handle unexpected expenses, and have the ability to save for retirement.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became financially responsible for myself as soon as I turned 18. I moved out of my parent’s home and have lived on my own ever since. My parents did cover me on their health insurance until I was 19, and then I took over that bill as well. My parents wouldn’t let me die but they aren’t a financial safety net — they wouldn’t help me out of a financial disaster, and I wouldn’t ask. My partner or any number of close friends would help me if they were able to, but my savings are my only real safety net.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
When I started graduate school, I purchased a home close to the college I was attending. A family member gave me a loan to cover the down payment, and I lived there and rented out the other bedrooms for all five years of graduate school. When I graduated, I sold the home, paid back the loan in full, and split the gained equity with the family member who had loaned me the money (this was agreed upon in advance). So I guess this was a loan, not inherited income, but I think it’s important to mention because it helped me purchase my current home and definitely is a huge point of the privilege that I have.



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