Breadwinning, Six Figure Women – Financial Mechanic

Financial Mechanic

Today I’ve got another amazing interview for you, with a mechanical engineer turned software engineer – Financial Mechanic. She’s pursuing financial independence, a breadwinner, a six figure earner, and a woman in tech (like me!). She’s got a great story to share, and some wonderful advice for you.

Without further ado, lets get to know more about her and her story.

Tell us about yourself!

Boulder CO View

Hi all! I’m Financial Mechanic, a software engineer living in the Pacific Northwest. Though I spend 40 hours a week knee-deep in code, when I’m home I enjoy writing and art. I push back against the idea that we have to either be logical and analytical or emotional and artistic.

I’m originally from Colorado and grew up with mountains perpetually on the horizon. A lot of my outdoor hobbies stem from my time hiking the flatirons in Boulder, skiing every weekend, and spending the rest of my time at home, trying to stay as warm as possible wrapped up like a burrito.

I live with Mr. Mechanic, a high school sweetheart of sorts. We met ten years ago on a spring break trip. We figured we would never see each other again as we lived 1,000 miles apart. After 7 years of long-distance, however, we proved our resolutely practical, unromantic selves wrong and moved to the same city.

Let’s get some details- how much money do you make, and how long did it take you to get there? And are you a millionaire or are you on the way?

I’m on my way to millionaire status, but the going is slow. I know momentum will begin to pick-up, especially after recently doubling my salary. I have been in the software industry since graduating 4 years ago, and I’m now in the top 1-2% earning bracket for my age group, which is above $120k. As for net worth, I have saved $200,000 at 25.

How did you get started in the workforce?

tech stickers

Mr. Mechanic moved to Colorado for the summer for us both to pick up internships after University. I got an mechanical engineering internship making data visualizations using python, and he got a sweet IT gig.

When the summer ended, we packed up for Portland, where he was due to start medical school. I typed “engineering” in the Indeed job search, and all the results seemed to be software related. I applied to all different types of jobs, but I wasn’t too picky.

I figured I needed something to at least tide me over for the move, and if I hated it I could always leave. That’s how I landed a software engineering job with no CS degree.

How did you get from where you started to where you are now?


From starting my career as a Software Engineer I, my very first project ended up saving the company millions of dollars. After 8 months, I was promoted without any prompting from me. I started teaching workshops at local events, picking up speaking gigs, and representing my company around the city. Then I was sent across the pond to work in the UK.

Mr. Mechanic and I went back to long-distance for the 6 months I worked abroad, and it was a truly amazing experience. However, felt like I hit a plateau of learning at my job, so I started applying to new companies. I applied for a senior software engineering position even though the senior title is generally reserved for those with ten years of experience, and actually got the job.

I’ve learned a lot through the twists and turns: prove your value, ask for what you want, and raise the bar for yourself.

Where do you want to go in your career, and your financial life?

I discovered the idea of financial independence after wondering what to do with the money I was earning. I only spend $20,000 a year, so there was a lot of money left over to save, and I wanted to be a good steward of my money. I started following the personal finance subreddit, where people kept talking about this MMM guy. I found the blog and devoured every article from the beginning.

I was pumped. I’ve always been all about independence, and the idea that having a financial safety-net means you can live your life however you want struck a chord with me. I then found the Frugalwoods, and followed their journey from city-life to homesteading. I loved her writing about defining a dream or a goal to work towards.

I want to live a purpose-driven life, living intentionally and finding fulfillment in the work that I do. Financial independence is not a requirement for that, but it sure helps, so it’s on my roadmap.

What’s the biggest challenge in being a breadwinning woman? What’s the best part?


I grew up with a breadwinning mother and a stay-at-home dad. With that model, I always assumed I would be supporting my family, and so I worked hard to get myself to a place where I could support my family. When I brought up the topic to Mr Mechanic, he admitted that he always figured HE would be the breadwinner.

We both want to work, and the idea of having a family scares the hell out of me in our current culture where women are not respected or supported the way they deserve, especially as mothers. I am extremely aware that if we have kids I will most likely bear the brunt of the cost in terms of my career and child-rearing responsibilities.

To answer the question, the biggest challenge in being a breadwinning woman is overcoming the expectations placed on me by society and other people. How do I find the right balance between all the elements of life to find fulfillment that will drive my life? Does it mean kids, a high-powered career, or something else? I want to continue being the breadwinner, but my significant other is poised to out-earn me as a doctor, so how will we craft our life moving forward?

What do you see as the key to earning such a high salary?

The key to earning a high salary is finding a career path where there is a huge demand and not enough people to fill it. There is a reason there is always a demand for engineers and doctors, the jobs are HARD and not everyone can make it through the grueling hours, training, and exams.

If your skills are difficult to obtain, needed by the industry, and will make your boss’s life easier, it is likely that you will be paid well and have decent job security.

Have you ever experienced issues in the workforce because you’re a woman? What did you do in response?

It’s insane that people think we’ve reached equality, when I’ve witnessed a professor bring a man and woman up to the board to solve the same problem, and when they walk back to their seats, he proclaims, “That was good, for a woman!”


Several managers have told me bluntly that I will do well as a woman in engineering, but they ignore the barriers that women have to get over just to get into this field. Honestly, if someone says something to me that I find inappropriate, I ask if they would say it to {insertMaleColleagueHere},” when they inevitably say no, I move on.

Chief Mom Officer is primarily a personal finance blog – tell us about your saving and investment strategy


My strategy is to be content with who I am and what I have.

Seriously, being discontent with ourselves keeps us striving for more, without ever feeling satisfied. Being discontent with what we have will keep us spending more and more to fill a void that can never be filled with material possessions.

Okay but true strategy– I max my Roth IRA, 401k, and HSA I am about 90% in stocks, 10% in bonds, and am invested mostly in index funds like VTSAX. For a Complete Financial Breakdown, you can find it here.

What’s the top three pieces of advice you’d have for someone just starting out in the workforce, struggling with their career, or just looking to improve how they handle their money?

In the workplace, be bold. Apply for jobs even if you don’t meet all the criteria, ask for the salary the job deserves, and put in the work to stand out.

If you are struggling with your career, be open to new opportunities. Every company is different, and at different companies a title might mean different things. If you are unhappy where you are, try a new job. If you can’t find a job, broaden your scope. Take advantage of local meet ups, develop new skills, and keep persevering.

If you are looking to improve how to handle your money, keep learning. When I first started looking into finances, it seemed complicated. There were all these accounts with three-letter acronyms and thousands of companies to invest in. However, in a paradoxical way, the more I learned the more I realized that money management can be simple.

Where can people connect with you?

Find me on my website Financial Mechanic, e-mail me at, or find me on Twitter.

CMO Here Again

Thanks so much to Financial Mechanic for stopping by to share her story!

I feel I need to address her concerns about motherhood. As a mother of three with a career in IT for nearly 20 years now, I’ve certainly seen the pressure on other working moms.

My family has never conformed with the gender stereotypes, and I’ve grown my career as a mom for almost that entire time. My husband is a stay at home dad today

The key to being able to do that, I think, is a supportive spouse. Ideally you have lots of conversations on the topic before kids come into the picture, although in my family we just fell into it as time went on.

Here at CMO, I’m all about supporting women in whatever choice they make for themselves and their family. The only key is that it be a choice, and it be one they’re happy with.

If you’re interested in participating in this series, be sure to stop by my interview form and complete it! I would love to feature your story.

Also for more interviews check out this page.

5 thoughts on “Breadwinning, Six Figure Women – Financial Mechanic”

  1. So darn impressive! You are young and killing it & I’ll be excited to see where this journey takes you. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love that that FM grew up with a breadwinning mom and a stay at home dad! So cool. I also didn’t realize she was 25 and spending so little each year. This was very inspiring!

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