Welcome to Racket’s Money Journal series, where you can spy on the finances of an unnamed Twin Cities neighbor. Interested in submitting yours? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions on oversharing your life’s monetary details! H/T to Refinery29 for kicking off a great concept that we’re thrilled to locate.
Job: Manager at fintech
Salary: $75,000 + some occasional freelance income
Partner salary: N / A
Dependents : N / A
Estimated net worth: $95,000
Credit card: I put most of my purchases on a credit card and pay it off with every paycheck.
Vehicle: I owe $640 on my 2013 vehicle (which I bought used), my payment is $52 per month at 3.49% interest. Now that I’m looking, maybe I’ll just pay…
Retirement accounts: $35,000 split between my Roth and an old 401k
Non-retirement investment accounts:
- $15,000 in a taxable account (split between cash and equity, adding about $500 per month; for general/long-term home savings)
- $30,000 in a money market account, given by my mother for my next house purchase
Non-retirement cash (spending and savings accounts):
- $5,000 in emergency savings
- $8,000 for other expenses (everything from groceries and bills to a travel fund)
- Some well-maintained bikes
- Most of my car (minus $640, maybe not for long!!!)
Paycheck amount: $2,217 twice a month
Other: I will occasionally do various types of freelance work, so sometimes I bring in an extra $100-400 per month. It’s unpredictable and I just add it to the savings when I get it.
Hire: $588 (I share an apartment with roommates)
- Electrical: approx. $20 per month per roommate
- Fuel: Between $30 (summer) and $100 (winter) per roommate
- Internet: $20 per roommate
- Telephone: $50
- Health (by paycheck):
- $0 for my high deductible plan premium
- $171 in my HSA per paycheck
- $2 for dental care
- $7 for LTD, STD, accident insurance and life insurance
- Car: $85
- Rental: $14
Retirement: $200 per month in a Roth IRA. My company doesn’t offer a retirement option and I’m focusing more of my savings on a down payment for a house next year.
- Snowshoe: $5 (Editor’s note: yeah, damn it)
- RPM: $10
- Minnesota Reformer: $25
- Spotify + Hulu: $12
- Netflix, HBO, Apple+, Paramount+, Peacock – $0 thanks to my former roommates who forgot to disconnect from the TV before moving
Donations: Approximately. $400 per month. I split this between recurring donations to organizations and then flexible funds that I will place in GoFundMes or other ad-hoc requests from my network.
Money Questions and Answers
Did your family talk about money growing up?
Not really. A lot of money was implied.
Did you worry about money growing up?
I grew up very worried about money because my parents always seemed worried about it. It wasn’t until I got to college that I realized that while my parents didn’t make a lot of money, their parents both had pretty lucrative careers and saved a lot, and their parents didn’t make a lot of money. passed on much when I was coming out of high school.
But my grandparents also passed on their fear of money to me. My mom’s dad in particular was a very classic Depression-era guy who was extremely frugal with his money – no extra expenses, despite having quite a high income, because you never knew when it might all go away. This meant that he had saved a lot for his children to inherit eventually, which helped my mother buy her house, and which in turn helped me buy my house.
While my mom became more comfortable and relaxed about money, my dad was always super frugal (and often unemployed). He didn’t pay child support for a while after they separated, and there was a time when he didn’t keep a lot of food in his house – I remember calling my mom to tell her I was really hungry once. She immediately called him and it wasn’t a problem after that.
So I guess it’s complicated.
At what age did you become financially independent?
Once I graduated from college. My mother has certainly helped me since (see: house gift, and help with some medical expenses as well). But I was already working a few jobs in my senior year of college, so I was able to keep myself afloat once I graduated. His generous help was always more than I needed to get by.
How did you learn to budget your life?
My initial budget was simply fear. Every purchase was terrifying and I felt guilty every time I spent money. To be fair, when you’re making $12,000 a year through college, that’s not an ineffective strategy!
But honestly, using You Need A Budget has kind of changed things for me – being able to see what I’ve actually saved to spend on things has made me feel less guilty and more prepared. I don’t get paid to say that; I love YNAB.
Have you ever received inherited income, large financial gifts, or large insurance payments?
Yes, parents (well, grandparents actually) paid for college. As mentioned above, Mom provides down payment funds and stepped in when I was going through major medical issues with around $6,000.
Do you worry about money now?
The anxiety is still there. I really try to be like “I’ve had enough, I’ve had enough. And even if I don’t have enough, I have a family that will help me.
But it’s hard to get by, even when you have a well-paid job, stable housing, etc. ? You’re rich!!!!” But here we are. I guess it’s not just me!
How much do you think a person or household needs to earn to live comfortably in the Twin Cities?
It depends on what comfortable means to you. $75,000 means I’m really comfortable. I can pay my bills, save for important things, buy my good cheese at the grocery store, travel a good number of hours, I can deal with chronic medical problems. But I don’t have kids either, so that would be a big difference, I think.
9 a.m.: $100 for therapy. My therapist doesn’t take insurance, but she gives her LGBTQ patients a sliding scale.
8 p.m.: $58 for a new tire for my bike. The old one was rotting!
1 p.m.: $51.30 at CVS for two prescriptions that I thought were free. I spent an hour on the phone with my insurance company to confirm that due to an extremely complicated formula, I am responsible for this amount. Health insurance is a scam.
4 p.m.: $11 for plants from the Whittier Plant Sale.
9 a.m.: $7 for an iced green tea lemonade at Spyhouse. Damn, I hate this place, but my friend suggested I meet up there. On the way to the DFL convention, it should be boring!!
1 p.m.: It wasn’t boring.
6:00 p.m.: Buy a Watershed Spa gift card for my friend’s graduate degree ($117). Drink a seltzer to relax after what happened ($6).
1:00 p.m.: $112 billed for annual AAA membership.
4 p.m.: $84 at the grocery store.
4:20 p.m.: $38 for a variety of THC seltzers at Hum’s. Keep trying to relax.
1 p.m.: $314 for a medical visit. This person is out of network and helps me with chronic health issues. I can’t wait to try to submit it to my insurance for reimbursement – I have to send it to a PO box at LA SCAM.