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Occupation: Digital media sales
Location: Orange County, CA
Salary: $98,000 (but currently less while on maternity leave)
Why she needs a makeover: “I've been living as if things are going to magically become easy when our careers are established, and I've failed to save during my pre-motherhood years," says Ashley. "Now with more demands on my budget, it's time to buckle down like a responsible adult.”
What She Said
“My husband doesn’t even know how to log into our bank account, so I am clearly the spouse heading up our finances.”While her husband may be getting his Ph.D. (in Renaissance lit), Ashley is the household CFO. “My husband doesn’t even know how to log into our bank account, so I am clearly the spouse heading up our finances,” she says. “Nothing would make me feel better than getting professional guidance as I take control of my family's future.”
Ashley makes a comfortable income from her job in media sales and just got promoted. But she’s expecting her second child in March, and since she’s paid in commission, she’s worried about budgeting for her maternity leave. As a Ph.D. candidate, her husband only earns a small stipend. They’ll be making a lot of financial decisions soon on things like childcare, replacing their old cars, life insurance, saving for a house and retirement.
“Nothing would make me feel better than getting professional guidance as I take control of my family's future.”
- Ashley and her husband each have $16,000 in student loans and have $10,000 in credit card debt (paid down from $30,000).
- Ashley has $12,000 in savings, which she wants to put toward replacing the family's vehicles.
- She's started saving for retirement, and has $5,600 in her 401(k).
In Five Years ...
“I would like to save up for a home.”Ashley just gave birth to a baby boy! We’re so excited for her!
Ashley says: After the first week, I’m encouraged but also feel a little like starting a diet, when you feel pumped … but dreading discipline at the same time. The biggest money challenge is having so many variables up in the air at once, which in turn means being prepared for the worst through savings and a scaled-down budget.
All that boils down to my greatest weakness: controlling my spending. I’ve realized that hitting my goals doesn’t need to be years down the line. If I can make myself spend less, I can stabilize my financial situation.
StephanyPlanning Experience: 9 Years
Best Financial Decision: Setting up retirement savings in my early twenties - time really is money!
Financial Motto: Save big now, spend big later.
- Since you are trying to control your spending, try shopping at an online drugstore to have your essentials delivered. This will save you time as a new mom, and you won’t be as tempted to buy random items you didn’t budget for.
- Review your life insurance: Think about how much coverage you’ll need—this LearnVest story has everything you should know.
- Last week, you opened a separate savings account to keep your money out of sight, out of mind. You want to buy a house in the next five years, so pay off your credit card and split your remaining money between savings for a home down payment and a new car fund.