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Money Diaries A 27-year-old financial advisor on €85K living in Leinster

This week, our reader is spending much more to prepare for Christmas.

WELCOME TO HOW I Spend My Money, a series on The Journal that looks at how people in Ireland really handle their finances.

We’re asking readers to keep a record of how much they earn, what they save if anything, and what they’re spending their money on over the course of one week.

Are you a spender, a saver or a splurger? We’re looking for readers who will keep a money diary for a week. If you’re interested send a mail to money@thejournal.ie. We would love to hear from you.

Each money diary is submitted by readers just like you. When reading and commenting, bear in mind that their situation will not be relatable for everyone, it is simply an account of a weekn their shoes, so let’s be kind.

Last time around, we heard from a customer success manager on €86K, this week, a financial advisor on €85K living in Leinster who has just bought his first home. 

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I’m 27 years old and I live with my partner. We recently bought our own house. We were both fortunate enough that we lived with my partner’s family rent-free. We cut back on all unnecessary expenditures and saved enough in one year to buy our home.

On average, we were saving €3,000-€4,000 each month. We both work in a large nearby town and we bought a new build property in another town about half an hour away. My partner earns approx. €50,000 per annum, our biggest bill was our car loans, which combined, were just under €400 a month. We bought a new build property so we also had use of the Help To Buy scheme, which covered €30,000 towards the deposit.

At present, I’m saving around €500 per month, however, I’ll usually put away more depending on how much is left at the end of the month. Our savings took quite a hit recently on buying the house. I’m also trying to save towards a new car and an engagement ring. I work quite a lot but when the weather’s good, I play golf. I also enjoy reading.

Occupation: Financial advisor
Age: 27
Location: Leinster
Salary: I have a €35,000 basic salary with commission. My commission so far this year is just over €50,000. My total earnings this year will be around €85,000
Monthly pay (net): Usually around €5,000. I pay €225 a month into my pension which my employer matches

Monthly expenses 

(We halve most of our bills)

Transport: €250 (monthly average for petrol, tax and insurance), I have a short commute

Mortgage: My half €750

Utilities: It’s hard to say, we’re only in our house for just under two months. We don’t have gas or oil, we briefly had pre pay when we moved in I estimate around €450 every two months but I could be in for a shock

Phone bill: €60

Protection Insurance: I have income protection, serious illness, mortgage protection and serious illness cover which costs me approx €125

House insurance: Paid annually, approx €25 per month

Groceries: My half €300, quite low but there is only two of us

Loan: €195 per month

Medical: €30 per month

Subscriptions: Amazon Prime and Spotify, €20 per month. My partner pays for Netflix and Disney Plus.

Milkman: €18 a month

Trading 212: €250 per month into funds

Savings: Zurich fund €250 per month

***

Monday

7:15 am: I wake up, scroll through TikTok for a few minutes before getting up and showering for work. My partner leaves before me, she’s usually out of the house by half six. Luckily I’m a heavy sleeper.

7:45 am: Bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee before leaving the house.

8:25 am: I arrive at work, I try to prioritise the most urgent emails before going through my diary for the week. I also spend a bit of time catching up on work left unfinished from last week.

9:00 am: I grab a quick cup of tea, I check my online banking and my credit card bill and loan were paid. I bought a few expensive items last month and my credit card was €1100. I pay it in full each month to avoid interest, it’s mainly used for online purchases. My loan also came out which was €195.

10:45 am: I grab a glass of water and some toast, I try not to spend money in coffee shops and bring lunch from home every day except for Fridays.

11:00 am – 1:00 pm: I make a lot of phone calls, dialling new leads and calling existing clients with updates on their applications.

1:00 pm: For lunch, I have some pesto pasta with chicken I made the night before and a bag of crisps. I stay in for all of lunch and chat with some of my colleagues in the canteen.

2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: I have a couple of meetings with couples who got their loan offer. We go through the closing documents required and discuss protection options. 99% take their mortgage protection through myself and maybe about 25% opt for a second policy. I spend the rest of the evening submitting closing documents to the bank and setting up a couple of life insurance policies. I leave the office around 5:30 pm.

6:15 pm: I get home, I get changed, it’s too cold to go anywhere so I’m in for the evening. We start cooking dinner, tonight we’re having enchiladas. After dinner, we spend most of the evening watching TV, relaxing and looking at furniture online.

10:30 pm: I get ready for bed, brush teeth, wash face. I read a book for a while before going to sleep.

Today’s total: €1,295

Tuesday

7:15 am: Alarm goes off, I go back to sleep for another 15 mins.

7:30 am: I’m up and getting ready for work after shower, brushing teeth, etc.

8:00 am: A quick breakfast and throw together a ham and cheese sandwich and some snacks.

8:40 am: Arrive at work, mailbox is filled up since yesterday so I start clearing through emails.

9:30 am: I’ve a meeting with a young couple looking to buy their first home. Most first meetings are the same, we gather basic information, look at potential max borrowing and then look at what is needed as in monthly savings, deposits, etc. Most clients I meet are already prepared for a mortgage but they don’t want to do it themselves, mainly down to not understanding interest rates or not having the time.

10:15 am: I grab a quick cup of tea and an apple and I’m back to my desk. I’ve a few calls to return that I missed and I work up to lunch.

1:00 pm: I have my sandwich a twin and an orange. Most colleagues are out for lunch today, I stay for about 45 minutes before going back to my desk.

I spend the rest of the afternoon calling leads and following up with lenders as I’ve a few cases looking to draw down. Two of them draw down, I call the first couple who are buying their first home and they are ecstatic, they were an easy case and would’ve got a mortgage anywhere but it’s a major milestone. The second case was a struggle to get through it took a lot of hard work, the client doesn’t seem too thrilled and I don’t even think there was a thank you but that’s just how it goes. It’s worth pointing out I don’t charge a fee for my service, my clients don’t pay me a penny as the business gets commission. I’d say 80% of my commission is from mortgages and 20% is from life insurance. I very rarely do pensions as I just don’t understand them very well.

5:00 pm: I arrive home early as I have an online lecture, im currently doing a level 9 in financial planning. Once I pass I will be eligible to sit the exam for Certified Financial Planner. I currently have my QFA(Qualified Financial Planner) but eventually, I’d like to step away from doing mortgages, it can be months of work to get paid. It looks good on paper getting 1% of the loan amount but when you break down the hours that went into getting there it’s not amazing. I’d much rather exclusively deal with pensions and investments, the commission is generally higher and there is a lot less work involved.

9:00 pm: I finish my lecture, grab some dinner and watch a bit of TV before going to bed.

10:30 pm: Before I go to sleep I do some quick online shopping for Christmas presents on Amazon (€225).

Today’s total: €225 (all Christmas presents)

Wednesday

7:15 am: I wake up, scroll through social media, check online banking my trading 212 and Zurich debits come out.

7:30 am: Get up, shower, brush teeth, dressed, etc.

8:00 am: A quick bowl of cereal, I take some leftover pasta and some snacks for work.

8:50 am: The traffic was busy this morning so I’m later than usual. Technically I don’t have a fixed work schedule, it’s left up to myself when to work. As most of my wage is commission I’m incentivised to work as much as I can I’m also left to work at my own pace. However I have no remote work benefits, any work done is done in the office. I like to get as many emails cleared as I can before 9 am so I can get ahead for the day.

10:30 am: I take a quick break, grab a cup of tea and an apple and go back to my desk. I have a couple of meetings which bring me up lunch.

1:00 pm: I eat my pasta, I take a walk down to the bank to drop off some documents for their internal post. The rest of the afternoon is spent making calls and submitting applications. We don’t have many admin staff so I typically manage a mortgage from start to finish.

5:15 pm: I leave the office, I fill up on petrol on the way home.

6:10 pm: I get home, my partner is on a late shift so I start dinner myself. I make lasagne and garlic bread, I leave hers in the oven on a low heat.

7:30 pm: My partner gets home, I was doing some of my assignment for the course, I do a bit more whilst she has dinner and gets changed.

8:00 pm: We watch TV and talk, I do some online shopping.

10:30 pm: I get ready for bed, I read for a while before going to sleep.

Today’s total: €150

Thursday

8:00 am: I had a lie in as I knew I’d know meetings until the afternoon.

8:30 am: I’m up and ready for work after a shower, etc. I have some cereal, I check my online banking I have direct debits for my protection policies. I cook some pasta and throw in some pesto, nothing fancy and I head to work.

9:45 am: I arrive in the office, I go through my emails and take a few phone calls. Leads are generally quite slow this time of year. It’s mainly just people looking to draw down to have their keys for Christmas.

11:00 am: I have a cup of tea and some toast before going back to work.

1:00 am: I have my lunch, whilst on my phone I pay my motor tax, which is €400 for the year. I have one meeting in the afternoon, I spend the rest of the day reviewing documents for new applications.

4:30 pm: I leave early, I’m meeting a mate to go to the driving range, unfortunately, it’s a bit too cold to go out and enjoy a round so the driving range will do for now.

5:15 pm: I quickly get changed and throw my clubs into the car.

7:00 pm: I get home, my dinner is ready for me, I have a quick shower to warm up. We spend the rest of the evening watching TV and looking at furniture. Our cash back from the mortgage came in today. We had most of the essentials from when we moved in, we had bought a book case, some light fixtures and a dresser.

10:30 pm: I go to bed.

Today’s total: €540 of my own money on tax, insurance and driving range. 

Friday

8:30 am: Wake up, I had a lot of annual leave leftover and I can only carry so many days so I take today off.

9:00 am: I get up and get showered and dressed.

9:15 am: I have breakfast and sit on my phone for a while. I get a call from the office regarding an application, although I’m off we’re still expected to take calls as problems can occur or the client may need to speak to an advisor.

9:30 am: I sit and watch TV for a while, after that, I work on my assignment for the course.

11:45 am: My mam doesn’t work on Fridays so I call round to her to catch up. I have a cup of tea whilst there.

12:30 pm: I get home and decide to take a walk to the shop to get something to eat. I get a chicken fillet roll, jambon and a can of coke (€10).

12:45 pm: I eat my lunch before putting a wash on and tidying up a bit.

I spend the rest of the afternoon working on my assignment, sort the washing and I get a couple of calls from the office.

4:45 pm: My partner gets home, we go for a short walk.

That evening we order a takeaway (€30), watch a couple of films and TV shows. I have a few cans of Guinness and my partner has some Prosecco.

Today’s total: €40

Saturday

8:45 am: We wake up, get showered, dressed, etc.

9:15 am: I have some breakfast before we go do our shopping.

10:00 am: We leave the house, we go to Dunnes first and then to Lidl. The majority of our food shop is in Dunnes, we go to Lidl for basics like dishwasher tablets, tinned foods, fruit and veg. This shop was a bit bigger as we bought a lot of Christmas foods such as cheeses, crackers, sweets, etc. (€300)

11:30 am: We get home and unpack the shopping. We have some croissants for lunch.

12:00 pm: We give the house a deep clean, change sheets, etc. even though it’s a new build and we’re not in it relatively long it still gets messy with only two of us living there.

1:30 pm: We go round to my partner’s parents’ house. We stay there for a while talking about how we’re settling in, etc. I’ve found it a lot easier as I moved out of my family’s house a few years ago but it’s been harder for my partner.

3:00 pm: We head into town for a bit of shopping, we find a nice rug that will go in the living room and buy a soundbar for the TV (€400).

4:00 pm: We head home for the rest of the evening.

6:00 pm: We make dinner, we have enchiladas and nachos.

7:00 pm: We relax for the evening, I have a few cans of Guinness and my partner opens a new bottle of Prosecco.

11:00 pm: I’m woken up as I fell asleep on the sofa, I make it up to the bedroom and call it a night.

Today’s total: €0 (we used our mortgage cash back to cover costs today)

Sunday

9:00 am: We wake up, get showered dressed etc.

10:00 am: We have some breakfast before going for a walk, it’s freezing cold so we wrap up and don’t go too far.

10:45 am: We get home and grab a cup of tea to warm up.

11:30 am: We go round to my mam and dad’s house, we stay there for a few hours and have Sunday dinner. We typically don’t really do much on a Sunday, since moving into our own house we have rotated between my family and her family for dinner on a Sunday.

4:00 pm: We get home, I briefly do a bit more of my assignment before settling down for the rest of the evening.

7:00 pm: I have some croissants, tea and some biscuits. We spent the rest of the evening watching TV before going to bed dreading another week of work starting the next day.

Today’s total: €0

Weekly subtotal: €2,250

***

What I learned –

  • This week had a lot more spending than usual, a good chunk of this was paid for with cash back. There was also more spending on Christmas and house purchases. Typically I’d budget where my basic salary covers all my bills and the commission I earn can be used for treating myself or increasing savings.
  • If I learned anything from keeping track of my weekly spend, we could probably treat ourselves more. We got into a routine of being quite frugal when saving for the mortgage. We’ve cut back on a lot of things like not buying lunch during the week. With the exception of furniture and items for the house we rarely spend money. We only go out for a meal on special occasions and don’t go out for drinks anymore. I should probably also pay a larger proportion of the bills as my earnings are usually higher than my partners, we’ve just never had a discussion as it’s always been 50/50.
  • We’re fortunate enough where there is a good wage coming in, we don’t have any children. I’d consider looking into a big holiday next year so we might start saving towards that. Our typical week isn’t like this, I could easily go a week only paying for petrol and groceries.
  • I know we might be considered lucky and a lot of readers might be struggling with their own bills, I see it quite a bit in work when people aren’t in a position to qualify for a mortgage, through no fault of their own but the banks are stressing repayments and qualifying factors due to the cost of living. We worked quite hard to get where we are, we weren’t gifted any money from family but were lucky enough to live rent free which was probably better than a gift. My partner studied for quite a few years to get her job. I didn’t go to college, I started entry level in a bank and job hopped to move my way up. I don’t feel like I’m overpayed for my job as it can be extremely stressful and I take my work home with me at times, I can have calls from the office or clients at any time. My favourite part of work is when someone gets their keys. Not because I know I’m getting paid but because of how happy it makes them. Most young people might consider buying a house impossible but it’s brilliant to be a part of that process and guide them through.
  • It’s been a good year at work, if I have a bad month with commission I know my bills are covered but there would be no extras bought and no extra in savings. Luckily there has been commission every month this year. My partner is expecting a promotion next year so our household income will grow quite a bit.
  • My plan for the next few years is to buy a new car, get engaged and I’d like for us to have a baby. I’m also hoping to have my certified financial planner qualification and I can move onto the next stage of my career.

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