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Hairstylist and salon owner: My budget and planning for the future

Sam talks about her income and expenses, as well as her financial goals.

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Video transcript

My name is Sam Devine, I'm 27-years old. I am a salon owner and I make 55,000 dollars a year. I feel good about my finances. They're a choice that I made. I own the salon so there's a lot of things that I could do. The choices that are important to me are to make sure that we have the funds to open multiple locations. So, I set myself up with a very nominal salary. The 55,000 dollars is not the salary that I get, that actually includes my commissions and my tips that I get from my clients. So, my salary that I pay myself as a salon owner and the one who runs the salon is substantially lower than that. And, I feel good about it. I've set myself up to cover everything that I need, you know, I'm still really young, so, I went through that period of living in LA as a 18-year old through, you know, 27 at this point, but in those beginning years of being an assistant, I got by on minimum wage and tips. And so I'm still pretty good at getting by on not too much. Things that have become important to me are saving for my future, which includes saving for the business and obviously my future as well. So, I feel good about my finances. They're a choice that I made. So, I don't have any college loans, which I am ecstatic about, personally. When I went to Vidal Sassoon, it was about $27,000 for the tuition and at that time they didn't accept financial aid. I don't know if they currently do. They took payment plans but it was a big chunk of cash to have to come up from. I was very fortunate to have a family member of mine help me with the tuition. Living in Los Angeles is interesting. It's a very, very expensive city. No where near as expensive as New York but I think that it's a lot more manageable than a lot of other metropolitan areas. So, for me personally, it's been pretty easy because I moved out here when I was 18 which meant that I've had roommates, essentially, the entire time. I'm pretty young. I'm very social. I love being around people, so for me, I've always enjoyed that and I still continue to enjoy living with people that I love being around and that cuts down on finances substantially, which is incredible. And, you just kind of figure ... I mean, for me personally, I just figured out ways to make it work. I love this city and there's no where else that I can see myself living, so, I think when all other options are off the table you just figure out how to make what you want work. So, my salary that I take home is about $2,200 a month and then on top of that, my tips and commissions are anywhere from, you know, around another 2,200 so, I gross about $4,500 a month, give or take, depending on how busy or not busy the previous month was. Out of the 4,500, I pay about 900 in taxes. $100 a month for health insurance. My rent in Los Angeles is $1,200 a month. My gas and electric is about 250. 85 for TV. I've got all my subscriptions, like HBO, Hulu, Amazon, that runs me about $40 a month. My car payment and car insurance is about $400 a month. I do a lot of cooking at home and so that's about $100 a week in groceries and then when I go out, you know, movies and entertainment and stuff, I probably spend about $100, would be kind of average for entertainment and just random things that are necessary or that I want or need. And then I contribute about $400 a month to my savings whenever possible. So, you know, obviously, some months with the $2,200 that I bring home in terms of gratuities and commissions that I earn, that can fluctuate, so, my savings will fluctuate with that as well. I am saving for the future. Something that I've been focused on a lot more recently than I have in the past. I've had an IRA set up for a couple years, now, and I started contributing about three years ago and then I stopped for about two years when I first opened the business. Part of it was because my head was in a million different places and it was not something that I was focused on and I was managing it myself rather than having a fiduciary or somebody else manage it for me. Which, I still do, at this point. So, now, one of the things that I'm really focused on is contributing monthly to my IRA. Anything that's tax efficient is positive in my book, so, I contribute monthly to that and over the next year I do plan to make more strategic investments and some smart, like, retirement funds. So, on any given month I'll contribute anywhere from, like, 100 to 600 dollars to my savings and that's just going to depend on how good the previous month was for me in terms of what I brought in. Part of that is going to go into my, like, Roth IRA and the other portion of it I will keep in cash savings. I am trying to build up a little bit more of, like, you know, cash that's readily available in case something were to happen. I think that that's really important and something that I wasn't focused on for the majority of my life up until this point. So, I'm trying to do that and build a retirement plan simultaneously. My financial goals are to be more than financially secure. I definitely want to have a lot of financial freedom. For me, personally, I want to get to the point that I can give back substantially and also, obviously, feel secure in everything that I have. So, my goals are going to, I think, be dictated by my location. Like I said previously, I do want to open up multiple locations and it's hard at this point to know exactly where that's going to take me in terms of the business. So, depending on where I'm living, that's going to dictate how much I think that I need but I want to be very free in terms of my finances and the choices I get to make. I want to be able to contribute to my community and different foundations that I think are doing beautiful work. I could definitely see myself, in the future, starting my own foundation, working with kids and, you know, just doing anything you can do to kind of make this world a better place. So, ultimately, a lot of that requires money and I think the more you give, the more you get, so, I would love to be able to financially contribute to amazing causes that are happening globally, around the world. I've learned a lot about money since I started working. I've learned everything from how to finance a business, I think. I've learned how to manage money to best run the business which I'm learning new ways to improve that every single day. I don't necessarily know that there's ever going to be an end in sight to that because, I think that it's one of things that's forever progressing to be more efficient. I've learned the importance of having retirement ... or, not retirement, sorry, I've learned the importance of having, you know, cash available in case of an emergency, which, you know, unfortunately, I did face at one point in running the business that I didn't have that and I had to do a lot of work to figure out what we could do instead. So, I do know how important that is for, not only a business but for people in general. I mean, things come up all the time and I think that it's wildly important to have money available in case of an emergency. I've learned the importance of financing your retirement. I read a lot, so, I actually am just in the process of finishing an investment book right now in terms of, you know, strategic ways to invest, you know, whatever amount of money you're contributing to your retirement plan or whether it's a 401k or a Roth IRA. I've learned a lot about finances over the last couple of years. Part of it because I've had it and a huge part of it because I want to.