A Week In Brooklyn, NY On A $60,060 Salary

Occupation: Researcher
Industry: Museums/libraries
Age: 24
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $60,060
Assets: $8,335 in HYSA; $1,200 in Roth IRA; $3,040 in savings; $7,791 in checking
Debt: $33,117 in student loans
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,740
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $713 (for my room in a three-bedroom)
Monthly Loan Payments: $350 (student loans)
All Other Monthly Expenses:
Utilities: Ranges from $50-$90
Health/Dental Insurance: $68
Roth IRA: $200
HYSA: $200
NYT Games: $5 (I get the news free with my old student email.)
Spotify/Hulu: $10
Max: $6
Phone plan: $0 (My parents pay.)

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?
My parents are both teachers and I was a bookish kid, so there was some expectation — but never pressure — for me to attend college. I went to a private liberal arts college for undergrad and then moved to New York for graduate school. I got good financial aid in undergrad and graduated a semester early to save money, but I also worked three jobs so that I could pay the majority of my tuition myself. My parents also contributed about $1,000 a year and my grandparents set up a 529 account when I was born, $5,000 of which I used for undergrad and the rest (~$15,000) for my first year of grad school. I took out student loans for undergrad and my second year of grad school.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent(s)/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents never really talked about money or educated me about money as a kid, though my high school had a required course on personal finance. When I started making money and thinking about getting a credit card, my parents generally trusted me to make good decisions and educate myself about things.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started working at a thrift shop when I was 16 so that I could start saving for college.

Did you worry about money growing up?
I worried a little bit about money growing up. We were comfortable and always had a roof over our heads and food on the table, but we couldn’t afford many luxuries, like the clothes, toys, or vacations that my friends had. I know now that my parents had a lot of credit card debt when I was young, so I think I could sense that anxiety about money when I was young.

Do you worry about money now?
For the first time in my life, no. I lived just above the poverty level in New York for the past two years while I was in school and working full time, then worked part time at my current job for six months. I just started working full time at my job last month, which doubled my salary and has alleviated a massive amount of stress. I am also lucky to have low living costs for New York and am trying to take advantage of this to pay off my student loans and build up my retirement/savings.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I paid my own rent and living costs throughout college, but I only just now feel really financially responsible for myself (I started paying for my own healthcare when I became full time and was eligible for benefits). I’m still on my parents’ phone plan, but I plan to start paying for that as well. They are my financial safety net in that I could live rent-free with them if needed and they could help with some bills if I needed them to.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
When I was 17, my father was able to collect monthly Social Security payments for me as a dependent. He gave them to me and I used them to pay for my first year of college. They equaled about $6,000 total and stopped when I turned 18.

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