Happy Wednesday! Today I’ve got a great six-figure women feature for you –A Purple Life. She’s a 29 year old in marketing who lives in Seattle, and is working towards financial independence and living her dream life by 30. She’s got a great story, awesome advice, and she’s dropping some investment knowledge bombs here today!
Without further ado, read on to learn more about her story.
Tell us about yourself!
Hi y’all! I’m a 29-year-old from Atlanta, GA who lives in Seattle and works in marketing. I started my career in Manhattan working in ad agencies and after realizing how crazy Manhattan rent prices are decided to move across the country without a job, apartment or family connection.
Luckily my partner joined me on this adventure despite never having been to the west coast outside San Diego (the literal opposite of Seattle). We’ve been here happily for 4 years and plan to stay until I retire late next year.
As for hobbies, I love walking aimlessly through cities, eating delicious food, taking pictures of delicious food and the world around me, and finding out how I can live the life I want for less (hello travel hacking!)
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 projected to make about $110,000 this year (depending on bonuses). Last year I made $106,763.68 and I started making six figures a week after my 27th birthday (so close to 26!) I’ve been working full-time since the summer of 2011 so it’s taken about 8 years to get to this salary level.
I’m not a millionaire and not planning to be one in the foreseeable future. My partner and I don’t combine finances so all my net worth numbers are just meant to cover my spending, which is between $18,000 and $20,000 a year so I’m aiming to have half a million dollars for myself to retire next year.
How did you get started in the workforce?
During my junior year of college I kept hearing how recent alums were having trouble finding jobs. This was 2010 and the pains of the Great Recession were still being felt. So I decided to start laying the groundwork for finding a job right then. I reached out to about 50 alums, talked with them on the phone and received various referrals.
One referral was from the CEO of an ad agency who actually answered my email. That email got me an internship at her agency (which I was told was a requirement to get a full-time job in advertising). After completing that internship they allowed me to interview for a full-time position and I got the job! This was pretty lucky because it was the only job offer I received after taking a long weekend at the end of my senior year to visit Manhattan for interviews right before graduation.
Right after the graduation ceremony I ran off the line and into a car and drove to a Manhattan apartment I had found on Craigslist (that I shared with an opera teacher, but that’s a story for another time…) and started my first full-time job the next morning. It was a whirlwind.
How did you get from where you started to where you are now?
My first job was pretty toxic, but it was my first and I didn’t know all the jobs weren’t just like that. I was making $35,000 and paying rent for me and my partner’s room at the time (he was doing an unpaid internship and has since paid me back – don’t worry).
After a particularly trying day where my SVP told me I didn’t deserve a promotion after busting my hump on nights and weekends for months at a time doing everything they asked of me I completely broke down crying when I got home. Despite having only $5,000 in the bank my partner and Mom told me to just quit. Nothing was worth going into a toxic environment every day. So I did.
I quit my first job with nothing lined up (I had been trying to find another position, but they kept falling through). Hilariously my first day free of that job I received a call that I had landed another job at a much more prestigious agency and the position was a promotion and a raise to $48,000. This has basically been my career trajectory. I quit or am laid off (that’s common in advertising) and that has allowed me to get raises and promotions quickly. Each job hop usually adds about $20,000 to my salary – even when I moved from Manhattan to Seattle.
Where do you want to go in your career – and your financial life?
I’m planning to quit full-time work late next year after I reach financial independence and never look back. I’m going to retire at 30 and live a life that’s not bound by PTO forms or ‘on’ hours. Unfortunately, I’ve never found satisfaction in my work and I’m very curious who I will be without the constant stress of it.
For the first few years of retirement, I want to be a vagabond and move around the world every 3 months or so. I want to spend a lot more time with the people I love, reading, writing and exploring our world.
What’s the biggest challenge in being a breadwinning woman? What’s the best part?
What do you see as the key to earning such a high salary?
In the marketing and advertising world, the key to earning a high salary seems to be job hopping. It’s completely counter-intuitive, but in my experience, it’s a lot easier to get a stranger at another company to give you more money than it is to convince your boss that sees you doing a great job every day. It’s super strange.
On top of that, knowing how much a position is
Have you ever experienced issues in the workforce because you’re a woman? What did you do in response?
I’ve encountered the (unfortunately) standard assumptions that I am (or want to be) married and have children. We don’t want to do either. I’ve never heard someone make those assumptions about my male co-workers and my partner confirmed that it’s never happened to him, but it’s an annoying constant in my life.
In those moments I try to be truthful and calm to help someone see another perspective and if they say something rude like “you’ll change your mind” I explain why that is a rude thing to say to someone (it’s fascinating how many people just spout random phrases without thinking about the implications behind them).
More broadly I have been passed over for promotions and watched them be given to men who were less qualified and less good at their job (based on the words of their actual manager).
Marketing is weird in that it’s actually a female dominated field, but basically, everyone at the top is a man. In response to this promotion
Chief Mom Officer is primarily a personal finance blog – tell us about your saving and investment strategy
As I mentioned, I’m trying to have $500,000 to retire next year. My savings strategy is to save as much as possible after spending as much as I want
I (so far) have not been bothered by volatility and have a completely flexible lifestyle (no house, no car, no kids, no pets etc) so I am comfortable in retirement moving to a lower cost of living area to spend less in a downturn and otherwise being free of the drag bonds have on a portfolio.
Personal finance has always been interesting to me. As a child I collected (hoarded?) money and was actually a bank for my siblings – a bad one. One of them still owns me $50…with 20 years of interest…I should probably just write that off at this point.
I was also fascinated with foreign currency and when asked what I wanted when someone went on an overseas trip would respond “money”…I guess I was a weird kid. Though I didn’t start reading personal finance books until I started getting into the idea of financial independence at the end of 2014. That ignited a lifelong love of the subject.
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?
- Go for it: For someone just starting out in their career, my biggest advice would be to go for it. Don’t be afraid to take risks and aim high. For example, a lot of my friends refuse to even apply to a job that asks for more years of experience than they have. I have never had such qualms and actually, every job I’ve ever had has asked for more experience than I had at the time. Don’t discount yourself, don’t settle and really go for it.
- Examine what you want out of life: For someone struggling in their career, I would suggest taking the time to sit and think about what you want out of your life and your work. If your current situation isn’t aiding those goals – change it. Change is hard (I struggle with it a lot), but necessary to get you closer to the life and work you want in my experience.
- Be intentional: This is my biggest tip for getting a handle on your money. Everyone has different values and examining your purchases to see which ones bring you enough joy to justify the cost is a huge part of that for me. For example, I used to love eating out. I basically never cooked when we lived in Manhattan. I couldn’t imagine cutting my spending in that area and for years I didn’t – going out to eat brought me joy so I decreased things that didn’t (such as paying $90 a month for my iPhone bill). After moving to Seattle I started to eat keto and taught myself to cook. Since then my eating out budget has plummeted, I’m still eating delicious food and instead of meeting friends at a restaurant most nights we have them over for dinner parties. Same fun for less!
Where can people connect with you?
I blog about my journey to and through financial independence at APurpleLife.com. You can also find me spending too much time on Twitter @APurpleLifeBlog. I’m also happy to answer questions over email at APurpleLifeBlog [at] gmail.com. I’m excited to hear from you!
CMO Here Again
Thanks so much to A Purple Life for stopping by to share her story! Honestly, it’s always so frustrating to see the answers to my question about what issues people have experienced in the workforce because they’re women. You would think, in 2019, we would be beyond assuming all women want the same thing (marriage, kids, becoming a stay at home mom) and have moved on to women being able to decide what kind of life they want. Also, getting passed over for promotions so a less qualified man can take your place…can I just say UGH!?!?!
Also, just have to say, I loved her advice on succeeding in your career and in money – go for it; examine what you want out of life; and be intentional. Those three tips will take you a long way at work, in money, and in your overall life.
Be sure to leave A Purple Life a comment to let her know how much you enjoyed her story – and if you’re a breadwinning, six figure, and/or millionaire woman yourself, share your story too!
And if you missed any of the past interviews, catch up on them here.