Money Diary: A Divorce Lawyer On £75,000

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 penny.

This week:
 "I'm a 27-year-old family law solicitor living and working in London. I grew up in London, moved away for university and returned for my legal studies. My boyfriend and I moved into a flat together after my postgraduate studies and we both work in the City. My work is intense, but I really enjoy supporting people through their divorce and other family matters. In regards to my financial situation: I racked up credit card debt working in retail whilst studying, partially because I was an over spender and partly because I needed to meet my needs whilst on low/no income at times. I paid that off in the pandemic, qualified as a solicitor and then started earning a good salary. I come from a divorced family and parents who have had their own financial difficulties and also one of my siblings is a low earner with chronic health issues so I tend to supplement their lifestyle in lots of ways. I’ve waded through self-funding my studies to qualify as a solicitor and took out maximum student loans etc. I like to think I’ve now found a good balance between saving and spending. I am naturally a spender but I've had to learn about financial discipline and budgeting as I've gone along. My partner earns much more than me, and we are very fortunate but I track everything we spend and keeping a vague eye on my savings goals is important to me."
Occupation: Solicitor 
Industry: Legal
Age: 27
Location London
Salary £75,000
Paycheque Amount: £3,686.07
Number of housemates: 1, my boyfriend, O.
Pronouns: she/her 
Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: £950 for my half of the rent. 
Loan payments: I pay £357 Plan 2 student loan for my undergraduate degree and £270 for my postgraduate degree loan (deducted from my salary gross of tax). I also pay £360 for a zero-interest credit card which I used to pay my law school fees before I qualified as a solicitor. The balance is around £10,000. I intend to pay this off in its entirety before interest begins to accrue in March 2024. Whilst no interest is currently payable, I have kept the money to pay this in a high yield savings account where I earn monthly interest as it just makes more sense.  
Savings?: £10,785.
Pension?: I have a pension and pay 3% of my salary in to it. My employer contributes 4%.
Utilities: Roughly £250 per month for my share of the electricity, wi-fi and council tax bills. Our flat came with private parking which we do not use as we commute everywhere in London. Our landlord gave us free rein when we moved in to either use the parking space or rent it out. This provides us with income of £200 per month which we use to offset against our bill payments. 
All other monthly payments: £70 mobile phone. Subscriptions: £69 for ClassPass, £10.99 for Netflix, £13 for my Peloton (digital only), £5.99 for Apple Music and £8.99 for my Apple storage.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? I was a non-law undergraduate and had to undertake the Law Conversion course (or GDL). I took out a Postgraduate Student Finance England loan to manage my living costs and my parents paid the tuition fee. I had to pay for my Legal Practice Course exams myself and paid for these by working full time and studying part time, putting my expenses and tuition fees on credit cards and then paying those off during the pandemic (c.£12,000).
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I like to think that I’ve found a good balance between saving and spending because of my personal life experiences in adulthood and the way I was exposed to the financial difficulties my parents faced whilst I was growing up. I’m super open about finances; I’m that friend who will help you ask for a pay rise (and get it!) and someone who will share what I earn if it means my friends in the industry have more leverage to argue.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents/guardians' house? I moved out of my parents' house when I was 24. 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I became financially responsible for myself when I graduated from university at 21. I didn’t ask my parents for any financial assistance after university, even if that meant putting expenses on credit cards. My rent was subsidised whilst living at home as my family was renting so I paid £400 per month for my room when I landed my first graduate job. 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was as a waiter at a hotel in central London. I got it when I was 16 as I was so sick of not having any allowance. I was paid £6.31 per hour and it cost me around £6 to get to work. It was really hard work but definitely brought out the grafter in me. 
Do you worry about money now?
I do worry about money, but I do think when you have had a difficult upbringing with parents who had financial difficulties, that worry will never go away, no matter how much you earn. I know I am lucky to work in a secure role in a high-paying industry which brings me some comfort about my future. I think I will feel mental relief when I clear my law school debt and build an emergency fund of £10,000.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
My grandmother gifted me £1,000 when I moved out of my family home to assist me with purchasing home furnishings. She did this in recognition of the fact that I have no inheritance prospects from anyone in the family.