07/23/2024

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In today’s Money Snapshot, we talk salary, net worth, debt, and more with reader V in suburban Washington, D.C., who works as a lawyer for a public company. “My husband worked for a large law firm for six years; it allowed us to pay off our school debt and save for a down payment. We didn’t buy our first home until we were 32,” she noted.

We’ve had requests from some readers to launch our own “money diary” series, so we’re asking would-be readers to fill out a form with lots of details about debts, spending, savings, etc. If you want to fill out the form and be To be considered for inclusion in future personal money snapshots, please click here to submit your responses If you would like to review these questions ahead of time, you can see the questions in PDF format. See other questions in the Personal Money Snapshot series.

Remember, this is a real person who has feelings and gets nothing out of it, unlike your usual friendly (soul-destroying, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-loving) blogger – so please be kind to any comments. thank you – Kate

name. V
Location: MCOL MCOL; D.C./DMV Suburbs
Age: 37
Profession. Attorney for a public company
Income: $167,000 + 15% bonus + $66,000 in rental income
Family: Husband, 36, government lawyer (former barrister) and two children
Household Income: $409,000
Family assets: $1.5 million
Net worth at the start of work. At 25, my husband and I have negative $300k in student loans
Living condition. Own house; $3,000 monthly mortgage

debt
What is your debt situation?
Mortgage only. I have a $3000/month mortgage on my main residence. I have a second mortgage on a rental property [$4500, including taxes] — tenant borne.

How much do you spend each month to pay off debt?
The interest on our mortgage is low so I pay the bare minimum.

How did you pay for your tuition?
Those sweet Biglaw dollars and scholarships — I worked in college and law school, and so did my husband. I went to public school on a full scholarship and graduated early.

household debt. Share your theories and strategies with us (including any reasons why you are renting instead of buying).
Our primary residence has a 30 year 2.75% mortgage. Everything felt more affordable when we moved from San Francisco to Washington DC. I’m very focused on spending less than $700,000. We prioritize living in the city center, which means our house is small and old. I absolutely love it–but I wish we could spend the money to fit into our lives (and more kids!) 10 years from now.

Have you paid off any major debts?
Yes! We paid off about $300,000 in debt. We paid off about $300k in law school debt (+ husband’s private college). We lived on my lesser salary and used my husband’s entire barrister salary and bonus to pay off debts. I snowballed smaller loans for some feel-good wins.

Have you done anything worth mentioning to avoid or reduce debt?
In the first five years we worked, we made a lot of money and Dinks, just living very frugally.

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