A Week Unemployed In Illinois


Occupation: Unemployed (I graduated with my master’s two months ago, and have been job hunting since then.)
Industry: N/A
Age: 29
Location: Illinois
Salary: N/A. I went from a $2,000 monthly stipend to just living off my savings. My husband’s salary is $52,000, plus $5,000 to $10,000 annually from a small side business.
Assets: Checking: $210; personal savings: $8,200; joint savings: $18,210; retirement: $20,800 ($17,400 in a 403(b) and $3,400 in a state-specific retirement plan)
Debt: $840 (the bill for an ambulance ride and ER visit I incurred last year; I’ve been paying $230 a month.)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $150 (from coaching sessions)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $800 for my half of a townhouse plus utilities and wifi, split equally with my husband.
Monthly Loan Payments: $0
All Other Monthly Expenses:
Pet Supplies: $96.20
Gym Membership: $87.50
Spotify Student & Hulu Bundle: $5.99
Extra iCloud Storage: $2.99
Microsoft Office: $7.56
Car Insurance: $402.79 every six months
Yearly Expenses
Phone Plan: $300 (Mint Mobile)

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
My parents are retired teachers, so education was always the top priority. I went to an in-state school for my bachelor’s and earned a few merit scholarships. My parents covered three years of tuition and living expenses, and I took out a small loan to cover the remaining semester.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent(s)/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Our family did not talk about money; my parents felt it was uncouth, and that kids should not worry about money. They did open a savings account for each of us when we were in kindergarten, and that is where I chose to deposit most of my money from holidays and part-time jobs. To this day, I don’t think my parents are very financially savvy. My dad gets a full pension, but I’m pretty sure CDs (certificates of deposit) are their only investment tool.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started detasseling corn when I was 12. It was the only way to get a paycheck at that age, but I mostly did it to hang out with my friends because we were so rural that we’d never get to see each other in the summertime otherwise. In high school, I waited tables at a pizza place and cleaned kennels at a vet clinic.

Did you worry about money growing up?
Not really, my parents kept us sheltered from that. My mom stayed at home and my dad was a teacher for the first 30 years of his career, so he was supporting a family of six on that salary. I remember thinking it was kind of incongruous that almost all of our “vacations” were weekend visits to my grandparents’ house in-state and that we couldn’t afford traveling sports leagues, yet there was always money for name-brand groceries and new clothes for each school year (years later, my dad would confide that they were in about $30,000 of credit card debt at this time). I had friends with single parents who lived in trailer parks and ate all their vegetables out of cans, and friends who had their own rooms and a pool in the backyard. I just figured that we were the middle ground, and I don’t recall fixating on that a lot (aside from desperately wanting my own room).

Do you worry about money now?
I used to worry about retirement, but now I’m more anxious about the next five to eight years. I’d like to buy a house and expand our family, but housing and daycare are scarily expensive (not to mention the possibility of having a child with complex medical or behavioral needs). I think I can accept whatever our future will look like (renting forever, being pet parents only, et cetera), but I wish I could look into a crystal ball now and know for sure. I hate the not knowing.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I graduated from college at 21 and assumed all of my own expenses (rent, groceries, health insurance, et cetera) except for car insurance and my phone bill. I didn’t get off my dad’s car insurance or phone plan until I was 25.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
No.

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