Money Diary: A Trainee Solicitor In London On 51k

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 23-year-old trainee solicitor living in London. I moved here two years ago and I love having all my friends around me. This period has been quite turbulent for me. I just started an intense new job and broke up with my boyfriend around the same time. Going from living with him to living on my own has been a big change and I’ve been making lots of plans to avoid spending time on my own but I’m definitely happy with the decision I made. In terms of money, I’m definitely more of a spender and have various money issues that one day I’ll work out with a therapist (I’ll be a money-maker for someone). I’ve definitely noticed I spend more when I have a bad day but I’m trying to just enjoy myself for now. Live fast, die young etc."
Occupation: Lawyer
Industry: Legal
Age: 23
Location: London
Salary: £51,500
Paycheque amount: £2,981
Number of housemates: None
Pronouns: She/her
 
Monthly Expenses
 
Housing costs: £850 rent.
Loan payments: £180ish a month for my student loan.
Savings? £0 (lol).
Pension? I have a private pension my parents set up for me when I was little, which has about £70,000 in it. I contribute 3% of my salary into my employer pension too.
Utilities: My family pay the bills and the sum (roughly £600) is included in my rent.
All other monthly payments: My parents still pay for my phone. 1Rebel £105, BT £30.59, ClassPass £35. Subscriptions: Now TV £9.99, Disney+ £8, Patreon £7.80, The Economist £6.90.
Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
My parents paid for my undergrad living expenses and I got £500 a month as an allowance. They also paid for my tuition in my first year.
 
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money?
My parents have never really discussed finances with me. Growing up, I remember feeling very confused about what our financial situation actually was. I am undoubtedly extremely privileged and I’m grateful every day for the life that I have and I know my parents work extremely hard for us. On the other hand, in the space of a day my mum would mention being 'broke' while booking business class flights for a long haul holiday. I was put on my parents’ credit card when I went to boarding school at 15 and despite being told it was for emergencies, I used it for almost everything when I inevitably ran out of money at the end of the month.
 
If you have, when did you move out of your parents'/guardians' house?
I went to boarding school aged 15 and from then on I only went home for school or uni holidays. I officially moved to London at 21.  
 
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself? Does anyone else cover any aspects of your financial life?
I wouldn't necessarily say I’m wholly financially responsible. I still occasionally put things on my parents’ credit card and I live in a flat owned by my family so I pay a comparatively low London rent for a large, two-bedroom flat in a good location.
 
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was working in Next as a sales assistant at Christmas, which I was forced into by my mum as a way to learn the value of hard work etc. It was miserable.
 
Do you worry about money now?
I worry about money a lot despite being on a good salary and a good career path. Growing up reasonably wealthy, there are certain lifestyle non-negotiables I expect and I’m worried I won’t be able to provide them for my own family. I know I have terrible money skills and have absolutely zero self-control and it’s difficult trying to navigate being somewhat responsible alongside having the most amount of fun possible.
 
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income?
My parents gave me £7,000 from bonds in my first year at uni to spend on a car. I spent it on going out instead, which is one of the big regrets of my financial life. I was also given about £20,000 by my grandma to invest in crypto, which honestly I’d rather not think about because it’s now worth less than half of that.

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