Money Diary: A Senior Content Strategy Manager On 85k

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.
This week: "I’m a 25-year-old Canadian who moved to London six months ago with my British partner, J. I used to work as a management consultant but post-lockdown I began reaching out to new companies with the end goal being to move to London, where J’s family is. Ultimately I chose a role at a startup to help build a product I felt really excited about, even though it meant taking a significant pay cut.
I would say I am an educated spender. Money management has been emphasised since I was young. Without doubt every month I will put away a portion of my paycheque and invest that into ETFs (exchange-traded funds) and stocks so I don’t have the opportunity to spend it. The rest of my pay after covering my rent and other expenses is spent on things that bring me joy: connecting with friends over food and drink, going to music events, travel and shopping (although I am notoriously picky and return 90% of things I order). I do also love luxury bags and shoes and will save up some of my disposable income if I am planning on making a larger purchase. The one rule I have is under no circumstances will I dip into my investments for anything other than an emergency or a down payment on a house."
Occupation: Senior content strategy manager
Industry: Music and travel
Age: 25
Location: London 
Salary: £85,000 + equity
Paycheque amount: £4,757
Number of housemates: One: my partner, J
Pronouns: She/her
 
Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £1,200 (monthly total £2,400 split between my boyfriend and I, inclusive of bills) for a two-bedroom flat.
Loan payments: £0
Pension? I contribute 4% monthly (around £283).
Savings? £110k in savings diversified in stocks, ETFs, mutual funds etc. £5k in crypto (although that value fluctuates frequently and I often don't check it as it gives me heart palpitations) and £15k in an emergency fund.
Utilities: £87 council tax, £35 gas and electricity, £25 internet, £33 biweekly house cleaning.
All other monthly payments: £20 phone plan (reimbursed by work). Subscriptions: £123 Gymbox membership, £3 iCloud storage, £25 Pret coffee subscription.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
My parents are both immigrants from Vietnam to Canada and strongly believe in education being the number one priority. As a result, they have been saving to put myself and my little sister through university since we were little. They graciously paid for tuition (which, given I went to business school, was steep at an average of £13k/year for four years) and rent. I worked internships during the summer months for work experience and discretionary spending money during the year.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
I grew up in an incredibly frugal household as a result of how my parents grew up. My mother grew up homeless in Vietnam and worked multiple jobs to help out her family. My father lost everything during the communist regime and was sentenced to a refugee camp where he did hard labour for 10 years before escaping to Canada. They put themselves through university and have six-figure jobs now but their mentality around money has never changed. I was always taught the importance of being thrifty and saving. Some of my earliest memories around finances include discussions on how my birthday money would be allocated – I could spend 20% on whatever I wanted but the remaining 80% would be invested.
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I moved out officially when I was 21, although I hadn't lived with them for most of the year during university as I studied two hours away from home.
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
Once I finished university at 21 I became fully financially responsible for myself and have never received money from my parents since. Recently I have had discussions with my partner about our finances if I were laid off (working in tech is not a fun time right now) but at this moment I cover all my expenses. 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I was 14 when I got my first job, which I'm sure was not even legal at the time. It was at my local shopping mall at the Crocs store where I earned £7/hour + £0.50 commission for every pair of those rubber shoes I sold.
Do you worry about money now?
I definitely do. As a result of growing up frugal and very desperately wanting to live a 'luxurious' lifestyle I am constantly thinking about money and how to make more. This year I also made the decision to move to London from Toronto and take a pay cut, which has impacted my savings targets.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
No.

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