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School social worker: My budget and planning for the future

Video transcript

My name is Estefania Alves. I am the clinical coordinator and school social worker at the Dearborne STEM Academy in Dorchester, and I make $120,000 a year. So I was fortunate enough to practically go to college on a full ride. Coming out of undergrad, I owed about $15-18,000, and that's as a result of my federal Stafford loan, however I ended up with $80,000 in debt, school loans. That's because as I was getting my masters in social work, I had a global concentration and I was placed in London, so I decided to borrow $20,000 to live off of for six months. I never depended on my mother or my father while I was in school because they're immigrant parents. They didn't have an education, so they don't make as much. So I had to always figure out a way to sustain myself. So, I would pay my own phone bills. I would use my credit card, paid off after I would take care of my little brother and sister from school, and never wanted to ask my parents for money. So, after borrowing the $20,000 to go to London, I would also take up other loans up to $6,000 every semester that they would give students who are studying, who are receiving their masters. So I would borrow another $12,000 a year. And that was because of my whole attitude. Like, hey, I'm getting educated so later on I'll be able to pay that off. Let me just sustain myself for now. Kind of like the nimble relationship I had with money then. The carefree relationship. Now, as an adult, I'm still paying that off. I still owe about $24,000. It probably did set me back. Do I have any regrets? No. And I say no because that was what I lived off of. That was what I paid my bills with. That's how I took care of my little brother and sister, and that's how I got to travel the world. So I don't regret it, although, it's, I feel it now, I feel it now. So I just purchased a house in Brockton which is about 35 minutes south of Boston. The cost of living there is significantly lower. And you get more space for your money. Brockton is a city that is a lot like Boston. It's very diverse. It's experiencing its fair share of crime in certain areas, but it's, it has it's beautiful areas and it has its trouble areas. Like most cities. And it's more realistic for me on my budget. So, I am there, and I hope that in the next five to seven years, once I start having kids, that I'll be able to get closer to Boston again. That is my dream. I make $120,000 annually. That's $10,000 pre tax monthly. About $3,982 in taxes come out every month. Before taxes I contribute $300 a month to my 503B plan which is sort of a retirement plant. And the city also puts 11.5% of my income into my pension. My take home amount is $6,022, and I pay my mortgage of $2200 a month. My gas and electric of $130 month. The TV and internet comes up to roughly $150 a month. And I pay $130 for my phone bill which is a little higher, but I split with my brother to cover the cost for my younger siblings. My car expenses are $500 a month. $300 for my lease. $100 for my insurance, and $100 for gas. I pay $500 monthly for my student loan. I spend about $400 on food, and then I cover other costs such as the $125 I contribute to my sister's private school tuition, and $93 that I contribute monthly towards her school bus. I do have a personal loan that I pay $935 a month for. I am almost done with that, and I can't wait because I will have more money at the end of the month. I also pay $55 a month for my life insurance, $35 a month for my disability insurance. I pay $30 towards my gym membership that I haven't been using, and I pay about $200 towards my credit card debt. And for entertainment, I try to keep it around $150 a month. What's left over at the end of the month, most months at least is $380. Some months I have less, some months I have more. And I put my leftovers directly into my savings. Before buying a house, I was able to save at least $600 to $800 a month. So my expenses are currently changing. It needs to be reevaluated and I might have to make cuts in different areas, and think about it differently.
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