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Customer success manager: My budget and planning for the future

How much does a customer success manager earn in the Bay Area? Nick shares details about his income and expenses, as well as his financial goals.

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Video transcript

My name is Nick Donovan, I'm a Customer Success Manager at User Testing and I make about $80,000 a year. So anytime you live in a bay area, I think you're immediately warranted to be a little concerned about finances, it's really expensive to live here. I pay about $2,000 a month in rent, which is a ton of money for an apartment that I share with three other people. I'm making enough money at this point where I am able to live without necessarily needing to worry about money everyday or like, living paycheck to paycheck, but at the same time it can be a little bit stressful, when you think about things like what if I get into some kind of accident or something like that, or something happens, that's always worrying. So right now my main financial goal is trying to build up a buffer of $10,000 so that I have an emergency fund to fall back on if I need it. So my first semester at college at a private technological institute cost me $15,000, and that was a lot of money. I agreed with my parents, as far as how to pay for college and all that, because everyone has a different arrangement, we discussed that each of us would pay for one third of my college, so mom would pay for a third, dad would pay for a third, I would pay for a third. That worked out nicely, thanks mom and dad. But, even at the end of one semester, I had $5,000 in debt and I had never had a job before and that was surprising and I said okay, wait, I've gotta work to pay this off, so I worked full time for a semester and then from there I worked throughout college in order to help make sure that I was paying off some of that interest that was going, and everything like that. For all of my college years, I wound up accruing I think it was about $45,000 of debt, which is not a ton, compared to a lot of other people. For me it was still a significant amount of money and so I've been working to pay that off ever since. Right now I'm down to about $20,000, so, pretty good. Well, when I was back in New York, even working in retail management, even when I did have a job, I was making next to nothing, I was making about $29,000 a year in retail management, and that was not enough to ever make a significant dent in any of my loans, now I'm at a point where I can actually start to pay off my loans and I realize, okay, this is, like, this is what it means to be able to actually afford that. Which is significant because a lot of times you don't have access to things like that, and you don't have access to enough money to make your interest go down, and I've lived that, I was living through that and living paycheck to paycheck for a long time throughout. For my monthly income, I earn approximately $6,667 a month. Then taxes, healthcare and pension are taken out, which takes about $1,667 of those dollars off, which leaves me with about $5,000 for take home pay each month, so let's talk about my monthly expenses a little bit, to start off, I have my rent, and I live with two other people, so a three bedroom apartment together, that is in a nice place, nice apartment, I pay about $2,000 a month for my private room within that three bedroom apartment. Then we've got gas and electricity, utilities, that takes off about $60 a month, once we're done with that, we go to Internet and TV which takes about $100 a month, phone bill for my cell phone is about $100 a month, we've got my car, well I don't make car payments, I do have car insurance, and that together with gas comes out to about $200 a month. I do have my student loans still that I'm paying, and that is about a hundred dollars, $140 a month, however I'll also sometimes make some bulk payments on that in order to eat away at big chunks of the interest. I also have my monthly food allowance, So I spend about $300 a month on food, sometimes more if I'm eating out, and then the gym, I took gym, I spent about $100 a month gym and then finally just entertainment, like I said, going out to eat, usually I'll budget myself about $300 a month for entertainment expenses. So finally, at the end, I'm left with about $1,700 remaining I usually use that in order to, like I was saying, pay off some of my additional bills in bulk, or sometimes I'll contribute, well I try to contribute about $600 a month to my savings and then the rest of it I use towards my emergency fund which I'm building up right now. I do have some bigger long term goals. Like I've mentioned before, I'm really interested in eventually owning a house someday, which is a big challenge in the bay area. But we'll see if I can make my way to that point. I'd like to be able to have a dog and be able to pay to actually care for a dog in the city. Yeah, those are some of my goals, I think largely it's just have comfort in order to be a little flexible. Somethings I wish I'd known about money. Honestly, my aunt always told me this, my aunt Sherry always said, just pay off all of your student loans as soon as possible, and while it's not always 100%, either realistic or totally feasible under a given kind of circumstance, or even always the best bet, for a large portion of them that's super necessary. Well, I wish I knew about refinancing my loans, I wish I knew more about the fact that some of the debts that you have are not hard set in stone numbers that are always gonna be that way, there's a lot of debt that can be kinda negotiated, and that's something that I'm still kind of learning to do, I was on the phone the other day with someone who I was talking about, you know my student loans, and I was scheduling to make payment, and they asked me for a certain amount that was not the full amount that I owed and I said well, you know I'd like to pay off this debt, and I would like to pay it off for this much, and they agreed, and I had like, you know, $400 knocked off of this old debt that I had, and I was like, oh, right, of course, because they just want to get however much money they can, so, it's a little bit salesy but you can negotiate stuff like that, stuff like student loan and student debts, and it's really hard to do but if you're in a really tough spot you know, you can make it happen.