A comment from a reader yesterday sparked this blog entry. 2million asked: “can you shed some light on you and your husband’s occupations/levels of income? When did you both start working? How long have you owned your 1st home?”
So here are a few details.
I graduated in 1999, my husband, (whom I met in college), graduated 1 year later in 2000. I started working the summer after graduation making $32,000 a year. I lived extremely frugally in a group house for the next two years. My rent was only $310 a month and utilities were split between five different people. My office was only 1 block from home, so I walked to work, lived in the city and drove my Dad’s old station wagon only when necessary. Eventually I had to get rid of the station wagon, and purchased a Honda Civic. I took out a three year loan but managed to pay off the car in just over a year, despite the fact that I was only making $32,000.
In 2001, my husband and I purchased our first home for $260,000. On the day I signed the mortgage I made a little over $42,000. It was five days after my 24th birthday. We couldn’t afford a 20% down payment. We put down only 5% and were forced to pay $200 a month in PMI. But just as luck would have it, home prices began to soar as interest rates fell. Just a few years after purchasing we were able to refinance from a 30 year, 6% mortgage with PMI, to a 15 year, 4.875%, mortgage without it.
Long, relentless hours in front of a keyboard, writing software, have lead to multiple promotions and a good deal of recognition along the way. My salary has tripled in the seven years since I began working.
My husband is also in the computer software field. He worked for a dot com for a year or two, then for a mid-sized company making about $67,000. A little over two years ago he began working for a very small company and now makes a six figure salary.
My husband and I started saving money well before we ever graduated from college. We both worked multiple jobs and internships in college. I opened my first brokerage account in 1998 and had amassed $10,000 by the time I left college.
One of the biggest factors in our current wealth is the fact that neither one of us had to pay for college. Also, unlike a lot of my friends who went directly to grad school, I went to work, and let my employer pay for further education.
I think the right choices have also lead us in the right financial direction, for example, buying a home instead of renting. We bought our home in the summer of 2001, well before the housing boom ignited. Our salaries have grown substantially over time, but we began amassing wealth at a time when we made very little.
I will admit that my husband and I discuss money quite often. We discuss our future goals, both short and long term, and make certain that we are always planning ahead and questioning our every day purchases instead of blindly spending. In my opinion one of the biggest factors in accumulating wealth is finding a partner who has the same ‘save’ mentality. My husband jokes that he is the President and I’m Congress, so the budget can be set, but money won’t be spent until approvals are granted.