Millennial… What does this word bring to mind for you? Do you have an image in mind of what the Millennial lifestyle is like? I wanted to create a series of interviews with bloggers sharing their lifestyle choices and financial decisions as Millennials. Just to clear things up before we get started I know there is some debate on what a Millennial is exactly. The age group that is considered a Millennial for this post is represented by anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22 to 37 in the year 2018) this is the group I am considering as Millennials.
Mike was born in 1986 and is 32. I questioned mike if he eats avocado toast and his response “That’s a hard no on the avocado toast.”
What do you do for a living?
I currently work as a forensic scientist for a large state agency. I am also the CEO of our family business (which I do on nights and weekends) and I run my blog – MikedUp Blog (takes up a good amount of time but isn’t profitable… yet).
So, in short – we love vacations.
Do you have a degree and are you currently using your degree?
I have 2 degrees – a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Masters in Ecology, both of which included some work in genetics (DNA), which I now work with every day. So I’m 1 for 3 on current jobs that use my degree(s)…
But if you’re looking for an argument, I did have to write research papers and grants in grad school to report findings and get money… So I suppose you could call that 2 for 3 on current jobs using my degree(s) (blogging).
When it comes to running a real business though, that was more the school of hard knocks… and we’re still in session.
How long have you worked in your field and what is your current salary range?
I’ve been working as a forensic scientist for 2.5 years and my salary is public record – right now $68k annually. When I started, the bottom range was about $48k and the top is right at $100 if you put in enough years. The one thing you can’t discount, though, are the benefits – health care, retirement, life insurance, are all financially helpful.
I don’t currently take a salary from our business but that will change in January. Even still, we’re working hard to keep our business growing, so think more in the low 5-figures there. Who said all CEO’s are overpaid???
The blog isn’t currently producing an income, but I’m also planning to see improvement in that area as well. I have a few projects in the works but I’m optimistic that 2019 will see MikedUp Blog’s first income-producing year.
Do you save for retirement and how?
We had not saved for retirement for the last 2 years outside of the required contributions from my day job (pension). In Q1 2019, we will be rolling out a 401k program at our business, and both my wife and I will contribute to our accounts through this.
Saving for retirement has been put on the back burner as we’ve paid a lot of cash to help fund the business’ early days, so I’m excited to get this back up to a respectable level (target – 10% of total income to start, with increases from there).
Do you have debt? What kind of debt? What are your goals to pay off this debt?
Debt..? What’s that?
I wish I was serious. We’re intimately familiar with debt. This post I wrote on my site talked about our debt total, where it comes from, and what we’re doing about it – but here is the Cliffnotes version:
We’re in the scary-high 6-figure range with combined debts including student loans, our mortgage, and the business, but no worries – we have a plan! The student loans and business debt will be crushed in about 7-8 years and we’re happy to pay down the mortgage over a longer time period. I’ll have another post coming out at some point about why we’re making this decision, but essentially – we’re working to save up some cash before we prioritize the ‘debt free dream’ many of our contemporaries tout.
Do you have or have you canceled your home phone/cable/satellite TV?
I’ve threatened to cancel our TV off and on for the past 3 years, so now we pay $96/ for both TV and internet and we’re pretty agnostic with our cell phone bill from
Verizon. I’m on my phone a ton and frankly, we need to communicate often with many people and in many different forms during the day
What percentage of your monthly income do you save?
Right now we’re at about 5% but as I stated above, we’re planning to bump that up to 10% minimum to start 2019. So stoked!!
What monthly subscriptions/memberships do use if any and why? Such as a gym membership, Blue Apron, Graze, Amazon prime, Dollar shave club, etc?
We currently use Amazon Prime, Netflix, a gym membership, and I take a daily supplement that I order off the interwebs… Both Prime and Netflix are more for the business (we offer TVs in all of our treatment rooms so the patients can watch what they’d like), but we also – kinda sorta – use it at home too… Shh… Don’t tell.
The gym membership is to our local Y and every family member loves it. My wife and I workout, swim, and have classes available to us, while my daughter can do all of that (in time) and also take age-appropriate swim classes and play youth sports. The icing on the cake is that our Y is about .75 miles from our house – the perfect distance for a warm-up/cool-down run!
How much do you spend on groceries monthly? How often do you eat out?
We group groceries and toiletry items together in our budget and that comes out to about $650/month on the high-end. We do most of our shopping at Aldi and I love the experience, quality, and price.
When it comes to eating out, we’ll typically do pizza or Chipotle on Friday’s ($14 for 2 medium two-topping pizzas at our local shop!!), and maybe one other eat out experience over the weekends… Let’s call it a collective $75/week max.
Do you have any passive income sources?
Unfortunately, not at the present moment… However – I’m currently working my tail off to get multiple income streams generated. In time – some of those may turn passive but for now, I’m in a nose to the grindstone mentality.
Do you own or lease a vehicle?
We own both of our vehicles. Mine is a 10-year-old Camry, and we just purchased a new Outback for my wife due to a recent ‘incident’… That I get to drive on the weekends 😉 Love it!! (the car – not the ‘incident’ – but it’s all good because everyone is fine).
I detail our Outback monthly payment in the post above, but we’re fine with paying 2.9% interest over 5 years for this vehicle we plan to drive for a decade. We’ll probably end up paying it off earlier, but as you can see above – we have some other more pressing debts to handle first.
Do you rent or own your own home/condo/apartment?
We own our home – well the portion of it that the bank doesn’t own (bank owns about 66%).
We had saved up a good amount of money in 2007 that was slated to be a down payment on our first home, but I had us invested too aggressively and had no idea what I was doing in the market and that sum got cut by 66%.
It took us until 2015 when we were able to rebuild that capital and be in a stable enough financial situation to end up purchasing our first home. So, let’s just say we absolutely love this house.
About the featured blogger
Hi, Saving Joyfully readers! I’m Mike – current CEO, blogger, and forensic scientist. We’re getting our family owned business off the ground while I’m focusing on staying fit and being a solid family man… and writing about all the highs and lows on MikedUp Blog! Thanks for sharing in the journey and thank you so much to Andrea for allowing me to share part of my story with you – I truly appreciate it!