Look Into the Finances of a 28 Year Old in NY

We are taking an in-depth look into the finances of a Snowball member (with their permission and anonymized). Since this is our first of many, we welcome any “asks” for specific profiles or feedback. Check out her investments (one of them went up 100%!) and also her best piece of advice.

We interviewed “Marie” (name changed for privacy) and went deep into her financial situation and how she thinks about her finances. Marie is currently working in investment banking. She lives in Tribeca in NY and loves to go out with friends to dinner, travel, and go to music festivals.

Age/sex/location: 28 / F / New York
Salary: $100K base + bonus (50%-120% of base)
Occupation/education: Investment Banking Analyst / College B.A. (Economics)
Investments: Spotify, Nvidia, Facebook, Amazon, Ethereum (crypto)
Favorite financial apps: Wealthfront, Credit Karma, Robinhood, Acorn, Coinbase

Monthly income: $8K (not including bonus)                          
Monthly expenses: $6K (Majority is $3K rent, $1K eating out, $500 Lyft, $500 travel, $1K misc)
Assets/liabilities/net assets: $150K / $50K / $100K ($50K retirement, $50K investments, $50K cash, $50K student debt @ 3.5%)

Top financial worries.  I worry about being able to save for a house and retirement.  I only plan to stay in finance for another year, and I know my salary will decrease significantly.  Also, since the cost of living in NY is so expensive, I can’t save that much of my monthly paycheck (only my bonus at the end of the year).  I am always worried about saving enough.

Proudest financial moment. After doing a ton of my own research,I refinanced $50K of student debt last year and got my interest rate down by 3%.  I was really proud of finding that rate from my local bank.  This year I’m going to prioritize paying down the debt sooner than planned.

Most interesting investments. I read a lot of emerging tech blogs, and have been following artificial intelligence.  I really like NVIDIA because they power a lot of the technology used in AI.   It’s gone up 100% since I purchased it last year, but I am not sure if it is at a high right now and I should sell some of it.

What I save on each month.  Since my family lives in California, I fly back every 6 months to visit them.  I’ve been able to read lots of credit card hack blogs to save up points, so I don’t need to pay so much for my flights.

What I splurge on each month.  It’s important for me to be healthy and happy, so I have a membership to a spin class (about $200/month).  It keeps me sane and I have made it a weekly habit.

Biggest expenses.  Rent is $3,000 for my own bedroom, because I want to be closer to work (since I sometimes work till 12am).  I also spend about $1,000 on eating out – I know that is a lot but I really value trying out new restaurants in NY and spending time with friends.

Worst financial habit. There are always new subscription services and apps that are popping up, and I am a sucker for trying them out during their free trial period.  Unfortunately, there is usually a cancellation period in the fine print and I end up getting stuck paying another month.

Best piece of advice: Take advantage of a Roth IRA every year while you still qualify (2018 income cap $135K single more here).  I actually stumbled upon this advice right out of college when I overhead my colleagues chatting about it at work and maxed out my first year ($5,500/year).  What this basically means is that you are funding an account with post-tax income and when you distribute it will be tax free (e.g., if you keep investing and contributing, your gains won’t be taxed in the future - major win).

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