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We Checked In With Some Of The Most Popular Money Diarists Of 2020 — Here’s Where They Are Now

·14 min read

It's a cliche at this point to say 2020 has been a year, but boy has it been a year. We saw a pandemic, an election, meaningful protests, and even the next iteration of Money Diaries. As the year winds down and we look forward to what hopefully will be a better year in 2021, we checked in with some of your favorite 2020 diarists to see how they've survived (and thrived!) through this year.

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

<strong>Diarist:</strong> <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/attorney-boston-ma-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Attorney in Boston, MA" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Attorney in Boston, MA</a><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/atlanta-ga-attorney-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><br></a><strong>Run Date:</strong> May 19, 2020<br><strong>What Got Commenters Talking:</strong> <br>Commenters loved this diarist for her generous donations (including her whole stimulus check) and her fun life in Boston. The consensus was everyone wanted to be her friend, and we agree!<br><br><strong>Life Update: </strong><br>"I still have my job and am still working from home for the foreseeable future. My firm did not have to do any layoffs. Best guess is that we will be back in the office sometime next summer, but we'll see how that plays out. My husband has been offered a job after he graduates in May and he will soon be making $120,000. With this new income, our financial goals are to purchase a car, move to a two-bedroom, and pay off our student loans. <br><br>"I still stand by my 'F*ck Trump' comment — I took my biggest health risk by flying to my home state of Wisconsin to serve as a poll observer for the Democratic Party. I estimate I was able to help 10-20 people vote who wouldn't have been able to otherwise. It was a rewarding experience and I am lucky to be healthy enough that I thought it was worth the risk.<br><br>"I struggled a lot with my mental health starting during the period of my diary (as evidenced by a disproportionately emotional response to<em> Normal People</em>). This is not something I've really ever experienced before. I started Zoom therapy and it has been very helpful."
Diarist: Attorney in Boston, MA
Run Date: May 19, 2020
What Got Commenters Talking:
Commenters loved this diarist for her generous donations (including her whole stimulus check) and her fun life in Boston. The consensus was everyone wanted to be her friend, and we agree!

Life Update:
"I still have my job and am still working from home for the foreseeable future. My firm did not have to do any layoffs. Best guess is that we will be back in the office sometime next summer, but we'll see how that plays out. My husband has been offered a job after he graduates in May and he will soon be making $120,000. With this new income, our financial goals are to purchase a car, move to a two-bedroom, and pay off our student loans.

"I still stand by my 'F*ck Trump' comment — I took my biggest health risk by flying to my home state of Wisconsin to serve as a poll observer for the Democratic Party. I estimate I was able to help 10-20 people vote who wouldn't have been able to otherwise. It was a rewarding experience and I am lucky to be healthy enough that I thought it was worth the risk.

"I struggled a lot with my mental health starting during the period of my diary (as evidenced by a disproportionately emotional response to Normal People). This is not something I've really ever experienced before. I started Zoom therapy and it has been very helpful."
<strong>Diarist:</strong> <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/a-week-living-in-a-van-on-a-12000-salary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Writer Living In A Van" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Writer Living In A Van</a><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/atlanta-ga-attorney-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><br></a><strong>Run Date:</strong> April 28, 2020<br><strong>What Got Commenters Talking:</strong> <br>Commenters loved learning about van life and felt invested in OP's life, especially her fertility journey. They were intrigued by her low salary, and her comment section sparked a conversation about the ethics of taxes.<br><br><strong>Life Update:</strong><br>"Since my last money diary, I broke up with my boyfriend (he's a good guy, but we really struggled to feel connected after the two miscarriages), which works because honestly, I've always preferred being single. Also, my 13-year-old dog needed surgery that cost $6,000, which is what I usually spend on six months of living expenses. So I've been writing more to pay the surgery off before the six-month no-interest period is up on the loan (thank god for my very good credit score). So far, so good. My dog is doing great, too! She's super energetic and happy since recovering from surgery. <br><br>"In my efforts to make more money, I've reached out to and been published in several publications and editors have been showing interest in my work, so I'm working on some big projects and making more money. I'm even building up a savings account while paying off my dog's surgery. <br>Finally, living the van life has been incredible during the pandemic. I was in Costa Rica when things started getting serious with COVID, so I flew back and quarantined out in the desert alone for two weeks, where I did mushrooms (just a little) which helped me heal from my miscarriages. Since then, I've created a little pod of friends to travel with. So my days are filled with writing, hiking, and campfires. <br><br>"I'm also trying to get pregnant with a known sperm donor. These are the last years of my fertility, and though I know I can have a happy life whether I have a child or not, I want to give it a try. If I do have a kiddo, I'll probably end up moving back to Taiwan where it's easy enough for me to make a good living. But I actually think van life would be ideal for the kid's first five years — tons of time with mom out in nature, a loving community of like-minded travelers, a simple life with very little in the way of scheduling."
Diarist: Writer Living In A Van
Run Date: April 28, 2020
What Got Commenters Talking:
Commenters loved learning about van life and felt invested in OP's life, especially her fertility journey. They were intrigued by her low salary, and her comment section sparked a conversation about the ethics of taxes.

Life Update:
"Since my last money diary, I broke up with my boyfriend (he's a good guy, but we really struggled to feel connected after the two miscarriages), which works because honestly, I've always preferred being single. Also, my 13-year-old dog needed surgery that cost $6,000, which is what I usually spend on six months of living expenses. So I've been writing more to pay the surgery off before the six-month no-interest period is up on the loan (thank god for my very good credit score). So far, so good. My dog is doing great, too! She's super energetic and happy since recovering from surgery.

"In my efforts to make more money, I've reached out to and been published in several publications and editors have been showing interest in my work, so I'm working on some big projects and making more money. I'm even building up a savings account while paying off my dog's surgery.
Finally, living the van life has been incredible during the pandemic. I was in Costa Rica when things started getting serious with COVID, so I flew back and quarantined out in the desert alone for two weeks, where I did mushrooms (just a little) which helped me heal from my miscarriages. Since then, I've created a little pod of friends to travel with. So my days are filled with writing, hiking, and campfires.

"I'm also trying to get pregnant with a known sperm donor. These are the last years of my fertility, and though I know I can have a happy life whether I have a child or not, I want to give it a try. If I do have a kiddo, I'll probably end up moving back to Taiwan where it's easy enough for me to make a good living. But I actually think van life would be ideal for the kid's first five years — tons of time with mom out in nature, a loving community of like-minded travelers, a simple life with very little in the way of scheduling."
<strong>Diarist:</strong> <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/cheesemonger-los-angeles-ca-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cheesemonger in Los Angeles, CA" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cheesemonger in Los Angeles, CA</a><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/atlanta-ga-attorney-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><br></a><strong>Run Date:</strong> September 14, 2020<br><strong>What Got Commenters Talking:</strong> <br>Commenters were fascinated by this diarist's job and interests and had a lot to say about all the cheese she purchased (it sounded so delicious!). They also cheered her on as she paid off her abortion (congrats!). This diarist also received her unemployment 12 (!) weeks late and opened a window into how the pandemic has affected our diarists. <br><br><strong>Life Update:</strong><br>"I'm happy to report that since writing my money diary, I've gone from working two days a week to four days a week. Although I'm not quite working full-time, most weeks I exceed the income limit to qualify for unemployment. It'll be there to fall back on if I need it, though, considering that restrictions are getting tighter and tighter in California. <br><br>"The dust has settled a bit financially. I have a little over $5,000 in savings, no credit card debt (and a credit score of 757), I'm making regular contributions to my IRA, and so far, I've made $100 on Moderna stock! Really though, the biggest news is that I got a dog! <br><br>"I adopted a 10-year-old lab mix, and he is the sweetest, best dog. If I wrote a Money Diary for either of the past two weeks, it would be all money spent on treats and beds for the big guy."
Diarist: Cheesemonger in Los Angeles, CA
Run Date: September 14, 2020
What Got Commenters Talking:
Commenters were fascinated by this diarist's job and interests and had a lot to say about all the cheese she purchased (it sounded so delicious!). They also cheered her on as she paid off her abortion (congrats!). This diarist also received her unemployment 12 (!) weeks late and opened a window into how the pandemic has affected our diarists.

Life Update:
"I'm happy to report that since writing my money diary, I've gone from working two days a week to four days a week. Although I'm not quite working full-time, most weeks I exceed the income limit to qualify for unemployment. It'll be there to fall back on if I need it, though, considering that restrictions are getting tighter and tighter in California.

"The dust has settled a bit financially. I have a little over $5,000 in savings, no credit card debt (and a credit score of 757), I'm making regular contributions to my IRA, and so far, I've made $100 on Moderna stock! Really though, the biggest news is that I got a dog!

"I adopted a 10-year-old lab mix, and he is the sweetest, best dog. If I wrote a Money Diary for either of the past two weeks, it would be all money spent on treats and beds for the big guy."
<strong>Diarist:</strong> <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/executive-assistant-rv-nomad-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Executive Assistant Living In An RV" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Executive Assistant Living In An RV </a><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/atlanta-ga-attorney-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><br></a><strong>Run Date:</strong> April 22, 2020<br><strong>What Got Commenters Talking:</strong> <br>Commenters loved learning about life on the road and were genuinely very happy for OP. They were excited about her commitment to sustainability, her full-time travel lifestyle, and the fact that she took her cats for walks!<br><br><strong>Life Update:</strong><br>"It comes as no surprise, but COVID completely changed our plans. RV and National Parks across the U.S. shut down, canceling almost all of our stays. We didn't have a 'home' to go to, so we spent the summer and some of the fall in Colorado. It was important to us to be as stationary as we could be. When it started getting cold, we headed down south through New Mexico (we are in Arizona for the winter). <br><br>"While in ABQ, my cat needed emergency surgery and then got an infection from the surgery. We spent three weeks and almost all of our savings getting her healthier again. On the day of her surgery, my partner started feeling intense pain in his abdomen, so immediately after bringing her to the emergency vet, I rushed him to the emergency room. Not being able to be with either of them while they were going through this nearly broke me. My partner was sent home after some tests (they still don't know what was wrong, but he didn't die and they didn't have any room in the hospital) and we are still working on managing his pain. <br><br>"As far as finances, while I still have all my clients and they have been nothing but supportive while we have gone through this, my comfort blanket of our savings is depleted and I'm terrified that something will happen to the RV and we won't have the means to fix it. While we were already pretty much hibernating for the winter, we have decided on a strict budget until our savings is healthy again."
Diarist: Executive Assistant Living In An RV
Run Date: April 22, 2020
What Got Commenters Talking:
Commenters loved learning about life on the road and were genuinely very happy for OP. They were excited about her commitment to sustainability, her full-time travel lifestyle, and the fact that she took her cats for walks!

Life Update:
"It comes as no surprise, but COVID completely changed our plans. RV and National Parks across the U.S. shut down, canceling almost all of our stays. We didn't have a 'home' to go to, so we spent the summer and some of the fall in Colorado. It was important to us to be as stationary as we could be. When it started getting cold, we headed down south through New Mexico (we are in Arizona for the winter).

"While in ABQ, my cat needed emergency surgery and then got an infection from the surgery. We spent three weeks and almost all of our savings getting her healthier again. On the day of her surgery, my partner started feeling intense pain in his abdomen, so immediately after bringing her to the emergency vet, I rushed him to the emergency room. Not being able to be with either of them while they were going through this nearly broke me. My partner was sent home after some tests (they still don't know what was wrong, but he didn't die and they didn't have any room in the hospital) and we are still working on managing his pain.

"As far as finances, while I still have all my clients and they have been nothing but supportive while we have gone through this, my comfort blanket of our savings is depleted and I'm terrified that something will happen to the RV and we won't have the means to fix it. While we were already pretty much hibernating for the winter, we have decided on a strict budget until our savings is healthy again."
<strong>Diarist:</strong> <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/librarian-richmond-va-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Elementary School Librarian in Richmond, VA" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Elementary School Librarian in Richmond, VA</a><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/atlanta-ga-attorney-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><br></a><strong>Run Date:</strong> October 7, 2020<br><strong>What Got Commenters Talking:</strong> <br>Commenters loved this diarist's personality and perseverance. They were proud of her for exploring and questioning her LDS faith and learning to horseback ride, and they encouraged her to speak to her husband about the way he treated her.<br><br><strong>Life Update:</strong><br>"In the three months since I submitted my Money Diary, there have been a couple of small but significant changes. Shortly after my diary was featured, my husband told me he was working on finding a therapist. He's gone to a handful of sessions, and while we haven't seen radical change, it's a step in the right direction. I appreciate the effort and look forward to having more productive conversations. <br><br>"Teaching — yes, as a school librarian I am both a teacher and a librarian — has been going very well. I love working with my students and find myself much less exhausted than my first week as my anxiety level drops and my skill set grows. My district is still virtual, but there are talks about returning to in-person school in early 2021. We'll see! For now, I'm enjoying working from home, especially since we just added a dog to our family (which increased our rent by $40 a month). He's the best office mate and a great excuse to go outside and take in the fresh air and city sights.<br><br>"As for finances, we now have a positive net worth of about $20,000 after reducing the loans in big chunks every month and increasing my retirement contribution. Our plan is to keep hammering at those loans, and then start maxing out both retirements while saving for a house down payment."
Diarist: Elementary School Librarian in Richmond, VA
Run Date: October 7, 2020
What Got Commenters Talking:
Commenters loved this diarist's personality and perseverance. They were proud of her for exploring and questioning her LDS faith and learning to horseback ride, and they encouraged her to speak to her husband about the way he treated her.

Life Update:
"In the three months since I submitted my Money Diary, there have been a couple of small but significant changes. Shortly after my diary was featured, my husband told me he was working on finding a therapist. He's gone to a handful of sessions, and while we haven't seen radical change, it's a step in the right direction. I appreciate the effort and look forward to having more productive conversations.

"Teaching — yes, as a school librarian I am both a teacher and a librarian — has been going very well. I love working with my students and find myself much less exhausted than my first week as my anxiety level drops and my skill set grows. My district is still virtual, but there are talks about returning to in-person school in early 2021. We'll see! For now, I'm enjoying working from home, especially since we just added a dog to our family (which increased our rent by $40 a month). He's the best office mate and a great excuse to go outside and take in the fresh air and city sights.

"As for finances, we now have a positive net worth of about $20,000 after reducing the loans in big chunks every month and increasing my retirement contribution. Our plan is to keep hammering at those loans, and then start maxing out both retirements while saving for a house down payment."
<strong>Diarist:</strong><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/wealth-management-dallas-tx-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Wealth Management Director in Dallas, TX" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"> Wealth Management Director in Dallas, TX</a><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/atlanta-ga-attorney-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><br></a><strong>Run Date:</strong> February 27, 2020<br><strong>What Got Commenters Talking:</strong> <br>Commenters were fascinated by how much money she made and spent and loved that she paid for the expenses of her friend's bachelorette party.<br><br><strong>Life Update:</strong><br>"Since writing earlier this year, on the precipice of Coronavirus, life has been pretty good. We refinanced our home loan to get a better interest rate. Without kids, non-mortgage debt, or interruption to cash flow, I consider our experience 'quarantine-lite.' <br><br>"My work has been busy with clients eager to discuss volatility in the stock market and repositioning their portfolios, as well as how to increase cash flow in a period of ultra-low interest rates and the potential impact of Biden's income and estate tax proposals. <br><br>"I entered a half-lease on a horse, which increased my monthly expenses significantly ($725 monthly board plus ~$300 for lessons plus $50 in miscellaneous expenses (medicine, treats, equipment)) and became an invaluable outlet during the quarantine period (the barn remained open to boarders with heightened sanitization protocols and masks required). My other spending likely increased as well: delivery from local restaurants, contributions to food banks, commissioned a piece of art, and had some minor home improvement spending, like building shelves in our garage. If I were to complain, it would sound ridiculous."
Diarist: Wealth Management Director in Dallas, TX
Run Date: February 27, 2020
What Got Commenters Talking:
Commenters were fascinated by how much money she made and spent and loved that she paid for the expenses of her friend's bachelorette party.

Life Update:
"Since writing earlier this year, on the precipice of Coronavirus, life has been pretty good. We refinanced our home loan to get a better interest rate. Without kids, non-mortgage debt, or interruption to cash flow, I consider our experience 'quarantine-lite.'

"My work has been busy with clients eager to discuss volatility in the stock market and repositioning their portfolios, as well as how to increase cash flow in a period of ultra-low interest rates and the potential impact of Biden's income and estate tax proposals.

"I entered a half-lease on a horse, which increased my monthly expenses significantly ($725 monthly board plus ~$300 for lessons plus $50 in miscellaneous expenses (medicine, treats, equipment)) and became an invaluable outlet during the quarantine period (the barn remained open to boarders with heightened sanitization protocols and masks required). My other spending likely increased as well: delivery from local restaurants, contributions to food banks, commissioned a piece of art, and had some minor home improvement spending, like building shelves in our garage. If I were to complain, it would sound ridiculous."
<strong>Diarist:</strong> <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/communications-director-berkeley-ca-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Communications Director in Berkeley, CA" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Communications Director in Berkeley, CA</a><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/atlanta-ga-attorney-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><br></a><strong>Run Date:</strong> September 11, 2020<br><strong>What Got Commenters Talking:</strong> <br>Commenters were super excited to get a diary from an older diarist. They found her life aspirational and she inspired a lot of people to submit their own diaries.<br><br><strong>Life Update:</strong><br>"Since I originally wrote my diary in August, my son has almost completed a full semester of online school. It's been challenging, but he's doing quite well in all his classes (besides PE, but he and I started using a 5K training app a few weeks ago and his PE teacher has accepted that as his physical activity for the week). My husband is also finishing up his first semester in grad school. He's super engaged and it's great to see him really enjoying it. He's an extremely diligent student! <br><br>"We've split up the week so the two days my husband has classes, I monitor my son's school day and make dinner; the other three weekdays, my husband does the same. It's been challenging juggling a demanding job, freelance work (my husband works 10 hours a week as a consultant and I work about the same), being a forced home school parent, cleaning the house every freaking day, and dealing with the stress of both COVID and the political landscape. <br><br>"We spent Thanksgiving at home and will also stay home for Christmas. The COVID rates in California are sobering. I miss my parents, who I haven't seen since before my original diary was published. I miss my friends. But I know that I'm so much luckier than many — I haven't lost anyone close to me to COVID and I am still employed (though just found out I'll be furloughed next year — not a huge financial hit, but an unwelcome one). <br><br>"I'm thrilled at the election results and the COVID vaccines. I'm still experiencing COVID insomnia but better days are coming! I started working on a new novel and fingers crossed on that! Happier 2021 to all the Refinery29 readers! P.S. To everyone who freaked out over our credit card debt, it's down to $2,000 now, and I'll pay it all off in January."
Diarist: Communications Director in Berkeley, CA
Run Date: September 11, 2020
What Got Commenters Talking:
Commenters were super excited to get a diary from an older diarist. They found her life aspirational and she inspired a lot of people to submit their own diaries.

Life Update:
"Since I originally wrote my diary in August, my son has almost completed a full semester of online school. It's been challenging, but he's doing quite well in all his classes (besides PE, but he and I started using a 5K training app a few weeks ago and his PE teacher has accepted that as his physical activity for the week). My husband is also finishing up his first semester in grad school. He's super engaged and it's great to see him really enjoying it. He's an extremely diligent student!

"We've split up the week so the two days my husband has classes, I monitor my son's school day and make dinner; the other three weekdays, my husband does the same. It's been challenging juggling a demanding job, freelance work (my husband works 10 hours a week as a consultant and I work about the same), being a forced home school parent, cleaning the house every freaking day, and dealing with the stress of both COVID and the political landscape.

"We spent Thanksgiving at home and will also stay home for Christmas. The COVID rates in California are sobering. I miss my parents, who I haven't seen since before my original diary was published. I miss my friends. But I know that I'm so much luckier than many — I haven't lost anyone close to me to COVID and I am still employed (though just found out I'll be furloughed next year — not a huge financial hit, but an unwelcome one).

"I'm thrilled at the election results and the COVID vaccines. I'm still experiencing COVID insomnia but better days are coming! I started working on a new novel and fingers crossed on that! Happier 2021 to all the Refinery29 readers! P.S. To everyone who freaked out over our credit card debt, it's down to $2,000 now, and I'll pay it all off in January."
<strong>Diarist:</strong> <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/engineer-san-francisco-ca-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Engineer in San Francisco, CA" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Engineer in San Francisco, CA</a><a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/atlanta-ga-attorney-salary-money-diary" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><br></a><strong>Run Date:</strong> May 21, 2020<br><strong>What Got Commenters Talking:</strong> <br>Commenters love to read a high earning diary, even if they don't agree with all her life choices. Written closer to the beginning of the pandemic, commenters had a ton to say about this OP's shelter-in-place habits and were fascinated that she still wanted roommates despite making $200,000+ a year.<br><br><strong>Life Update:</strong><br>"The biggest change since I wrote a diary in May is that in August I bought a house in Lake Tahoe. With WFH continuing for the foreseeable future and insanely low mortgage interest rates (2.5%!), it was a good time to buy. My housemates from S.F. and boyfriend all helped me with a bunch of renovations in the fall, and we squeezed in some mountain biking and hiking as well. My boyfriend and I have been living here full time. Thankfully everyone has stayed healthy! I've quite enjoyed decorating and learning a bunch of DIY skills. We set up a woodshop in the garage and I've been refinishing some furniture as well as building a couple of beds. Working from my new office is a big improvement over the tiny desk squished into my S.F. bedroom. The ski area is only 10 minutes away, and we've been squeezing in a couple of runs in the mornings before work when there is fresh snow. <br><br>"Moneywise, obviously things have changed a bit now that I own a house. My stock portfolio did very well this summer, which is one of the reasons I could afford the down payment of $140,000. I cashed out $73,000 of investment long term gains and am really not looking forward to taxes next year. I've been withholding an extra $2,500 in taxes out of my paycheck every month since then, so I should make it in under the 10% IRS threshold for owed taxes. This fall, I inherited $15,000 from my great-aunt, which helped pay for most of the furnishings. I'm now paying a mortgage (about $2,000 a month), in addition to rent in S.F. ($1,350), which has strained my monthly budget. I know I'll have to go back to work in person at some point, so I didn't want to give up my apartment there. I also didn't want to put my housemates in the position of finding a sub-tenant in the middle of a pandemic. We did negotiate our rent down $100 per person due to the changing rental market. I'm still able to save enough for retirement from my paycheck after rent, mortgage, utilities, and necessities, but I'm not able to save much beyond that. I have about $145,000 left in my non-retirement investment accounts, so I can draw from that if needed. My boyfriend and I are planning to consolidate to one Bay Area apartment when his lease is up in March, so that will reduce my monthly rent cost. <br><br>"I'm still at the same job in consumer electronics and we successfully shipped the products I've been working on for the past year, which is always exciting! In October, I did get a small raise from $128,000 to $133,000 base salary, as well as a larger than expected bonus of $13,000 cash plus $80,000 in stock (which vests over four years). I also got a $10,000 cash bonus in the spring. Finally, I turned 26 and now have my own health insurance."
Diarist: Engineer in San Francisco, CA
Run Date: May 21, 2020
What Got Commenters Talking:
Commenters love to read a high earning diary, even if they don't agree with all her life choices. Written closer to the beginning of the pandemic, commenters had a ton to say about this OP's shelter-in-place habits and were fascinated that she still wanted roommates despite making $200,000+ a year.

Life Update:
"The biggest change since I wrote a diary in May is that in August I bought a house in Lake Tahoe. With WFH continuing for the foreseeable future and insanely low mortgage interest rates (2.5%!), it was a good time to buy. My housemates from S.F. and boyfriend all helped me with a bunch of renovations in the fall, and we squeezed in some mountain biking and hiking as well. My boyfriend and I have been living here full time. Thankfully everyone has stayed healthy! I've quite enjoyed decorating and learning a bunch of DIY skills. We set up a woodshop in the garage and I've been refinishing some furniture as well as building a couple of beds. Working from my new office is a big improvement over the tiny desk squished into my S.F. bedroom. The ski area is only 10 minutes away, and we've been squeezing in a couple of runs in the mornings before work when there is fresh snow.

"Moneywise, obviously things have changed a bit now that I own a house. My stock portfolio did very well this summer, which is one of the reasons I could afford the down payment of $140,000. I cashed out $73,000 of investment long term gains and am really not looking forward to taxes next year. I've been withholding an extra $2,500 in taxes out of my paycheck every month since then, so I should make it in under the 10% IRS threshold for owed taxes. This fall, I inherited $15,000 from my great-aunt, which helped pay for most of the furnishings. I'm now paying a mortgage (about $2,000 a month), in addition to rent in S.F. ($1,350), which has strained my monthly budget. I know I'll have to go back to work in person at some point, so I didn't want to give up my apartment there. I also didn't want to put my housemates in the position of finding a sub-tenant in the middle of a pandemic. We did negotiate our rent down $100 per person due to the changing rental market. I'm still able to save enough for retirement from my paycheck after rent, mortgage, utilities, and necessities, but I'm not able to save much beyond that. I have about $145,000 left in my non-retirement investment accounts, so I can draw from that if needed. My boyfriend and I are planning to consolidate to one Bay Area apartment when his lease is up in March, so that will reduce my monthly rent cost.

"I'm still at the same job in consumer electronics and we successfully shipped the products I've been working on for the past year, which is always exciting! In October, I did get a small raise from $128,000 to $133,000 base salary, as well as a larger than expected bonus of $13,000 cash plus $80,000 in stock (which vests over four years). I also got a $10,000 cash bonus in the spring. Finally, I turned 26 and now have my own health insurance."

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