A Week In Chicago, IL, On Sabbatical

A Week In Chicago, IL, On Sabbatical

Photo: Getty Images.

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.

Today: an IT project manager on sabbatical who spends some of her money this week on sushi.

Occupation: IT Project Manager (currently not working)
Industry: Software
Age: 34
Location: Chicago, IL
Salary: $0 (Before resigning, I made $154,000, plus a quarterly bonus of $2,000 to $3,000 when my team hit its utilization targets, plus an $85,000 equity payout in Fall 2021. My plan for my sabbatical was to live off of my equity payout and use it to contribute to our household finances the way I was when I was working. My husband, F., makes $105,000 per year, but we keep our finances completely separate except for one joint checking account that contains money we’ve received as gifts.)
Net Worth: $509,763 (Roth IRA: $68,523, regular IRA: $42,579, 401(k): $126,018, emergency fund: $35,642, HYSA: $143,000, my half of our joint checking account: $7,368, my checking account: ~$11,000, my half of the value of our house: $250,000, minus debt)
Debt: $174,367 ($334,352 for the mortgage, $10,928 for a bathroom remodel, and $3,455 for a kitchen remodel. That adds up to $348,735, which we divide by two.)
Paycheck Amount: $0
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,300 (Our mortgage is $2,324, and F. pays the rest, loosely based on income. This includes home insurance and property taxes.)
Phone: $75
Internet: $55 (my half)
Gas: $30–$60 (my half)
Electricity: ~$20–$50 (my half)
Water: $20–$32.50 (my half)
HOA: $75 (my half)
Gym Membership: $85 (for two different gyms, mine alone)
Health Insurance: $362 (F.’s firm covers me, but there is a charge to add a spouse.)
Car Insurance: $23.50 (my half)
HBO Max, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, Disney+): $35 (my half, his brother also shares with us)

Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $69.50 (my half)

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 have my undergrad degree from my local public university and my MBA from a prestigious private school. For my undergrad, my first “year” was essentially paid for by the state while I was still in high school because I was in the top 10% of my class. The rest of my tuition was paid for by a 529 my parents had for me. I paid for my housing and other bills during that time with part-time jobs and internships. All my internships were paid. For my MBA, I attended part-time so that I could cash flow the tuition and keep working while I was doing it. It took three and a half years to complete because of that. I never took out a school loan for either program.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My grandparents and great aunts were the ones that really drove us to learn about investing and financial planning. One side of the family was always buying us savings bonds for presents, and the other side bought us stocks. I essentially had a portfolio (albeit a small one) when I turned 18. My grandparents talked to us about how they made money on their home purchases, etc. My great aunts invested in everything, and they were always watching business news. We found bars of gold in a dresser drawer once while staying with them. What was your first job and why did you get it? My first job was around 13 years old, picking strawberries and answering phones at a farm. I also babysat and worked in restaurants in high school. I wanted money for a cell phone, which my mom refused to pay for because she thought I didn’t need one. I also wanted spending money to do things with my friends and buy them birthday presents, etc. My mom insisted I get a newspaper route at one point to pay for a school trip to New York. I think she thought it would teach me a work ethic but having to get up at 5 a.m. to drive me on my route (I was 15) in the dead of winter each weekend changed her mind. Did you worry about money growing up? Finances were the main […]

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