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BFS Reader Profile – Evolving Personal Finance

The following is a new profile for the BFS Reader Profile series. Today we are getting to know Emily and Kyle at Evolving Personal Finance. Thanks for participating!

Personal Background

Hey everyone!  My name is Emily and my husband Kyle and I blog at Evolving Personal Finance.  We are PhD students in the sciences/engineering at a university in North Carolina and we are (crossing our fingers) getting to the end stages of those degrees.  We are both 26, have been married for almost two years, and have no children or pets yet.

Our blog is about the periodic re-equilibration of a family’s money management that happens when the family goes through transitions.  We anticipate many financially-related upheavals in the next few years – getting real jobs, moving, buying a home, having a child – and we want to document how we navigate those transitions.  We are particularly trying to keep lifestyle inflation in check and the blog provides some accountability for that.  In between transitions, like right now, we write about financial situations that arise in our lives and how we live a fun lifestyle on a smaller income (in comparison with most other PF bloggers!).

Financial Background

We are fortunate to have our tuition paid for by our advisors and our yearly stipends for the research we perform combine to about $52,000, which is close to the median income in our city.  Our monthly expenses total around $1800 (rent, utilities, food… the usual) but we save an additional $850 for large, irregular expenses like flights, parking permits, season tickets to our university’s men’s basketball games, and our CSA subscription.  The remaining $1250 of our take-home pay goes to our tithe and retirement accounts.

We only sort of have debt, if that makes any sense!  I have some student loans from undergrad but they are in deferment, and we have invested the money we set aside to pay them off to try to get a bit of a return before I graduate.

Our Goals

The only long-term financial goal we are working toward at the moment is to fund our Roth IRAs as aggressively as possible – we are not quite fully funding them as of now.  When we finish our degrees and get real jobs (with real salaries!), we will start saving for our next car and a down payment on a house.  Our ultimate goal is to live in southern California so we will probably rent for a while yet while we save up.

One aspect of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff that I love is the community Crystal has fostered in the comments and through guest posts.  There is a great diversity of perspectives.  I enjoy participating over here and I hope to have a similar community on our blog in the future!

My question for the readers is Do you have any financial goals that you are not currently working toward?  What are you waiting on?  I look forward to your responses and thanks for reading!

Crystal’s Comments:  It sounds like you two are just on the right track.  Congrats on your upcoming PhD’s!  Is Southern California the expensive part?  Is all of California the expensive part?  No matter…good luck with your goals and congrats on your progress!

If you would like to participate in this series, please follow the guidelines found at BFS Reader Profile and submit your own story. Everyone is more than welcome and you can stay anonymous if you’d prefer. Thanks!



FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 a year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you).  I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too!  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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19 thoughts on “BFS Reader Profile – Evolving Personal Finance

  1. I want to eventually max out our 401ks, but right now we’re focused on paying down student loans. We’re saving some for retirement (about 10% each), but I want it to be more. I started a Roth for each of us and we’re contributing a little to that as well, but again I’d like to max those out each year.

    Darn student loans!

  2. Hey Emily, thanks for sharing your journey! My one financial goal that i
    I’m not working on is that second home/condo in La Jolla 🙂 Congratulations to you and your husband and I look forward to reading more!

  3. @ Crystal Thanks! I think all of CA is somewhat expensive, but particularly LA/San Diego and the Bay area.

    @ Ryan I think 10% toward retirement while paying down low-interest loans is the most I would do as well. When will your loans be paid off?

    @ Shawanda Yep, that is a great goal! It sounds like you have a plan.

    @ Steve Mertz Can I come live in your future second home in La Jolla?? That sounds wonderful!

  4. My brother lives in LA and is renting a 1 bedroom for something like $1300 where as I own a 2br townhouse in Florida for under half that. Crazy how different prices are in different areas but if you love the area and have a good paying job I’m sure things will work out fine.

  5. @ krantcents We started our IRAs when we were 22 but probably won’t start saving for those other goals until 27 or 28, when my husband graduates. I think there is still plenty of time, though. We are not dying to become homeowners yet.

    @ Lance Yeah rents and property values are crazy high! That’s one reason we haven’t started saving yet because anything we can get off the top of our stipends would be such a drop in the bucket. Better to wait until we have the full-time jobs in that area.

    @ Jenna We live in North Carolina right now for graduate school, but I mentioned that our goal is to move to southern California within a few years of graduating. My husband is from L.A. and we went to college there; we are looking to move to San Diego, which is a great area for jobs in our field.

  6. What university in NC? I am a BIG UNC fan! Sounds like you two are track and doing a great job so far. I only wish I would have invested more instead of getting loans I probably didn’t need. The one thing I see people having a people with is increase their expenses just as fast as they make more money.

  7. Congrats Emily! You guys are off to a great start in life. I love reading about people like you (i.e. under 30), who already have it together, know what they want, and make smart financial decisions.

  8. @ Thomas Unfortunately, we can’t be friends because we attend the school with that OTHER shade of blue! (J/k – we have plenty of friends who are UNC alums/students.) I’m so glad that we can do grad school without loans and that we’re prepared to pay off my undergrad loans when they come out of deferment. We really want to combat lifestyle inflation – if my husband is able to get a job in the Triangle after he graduates we are going to try to put ALL of his pay raise into savings and keep living as we are now.

    @ Julie You are so sweet! I’m glad I fell into some PF literature right after college.

  9. We haven’t started pouring into our Roth IRA yet but will start next month once we make the final contribution to our 6 month emergency fund! We did the Dave Ramsey method and paid of $30k of student loans in 9 months and have spent the past 3 months filling up our 911 fund. I’m pretty overwhelmed with all the options there are to invest, so I’ve been trying to do some research before we max our a Roth IRA. Sounds like you guys are on a great journey to financial success!

  10. Reading this i finally took a break from my job. This post just gave me a few minutes of relax =] I tried to find a rss feed on your site so that i could subscribe for some more. Ill be sure to come here more often from now on =]

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