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 Millennial’s. 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.

My hope with this series is to give you a better idea of what this generation really values. I honestly believe this generation of young men and women, might be a lot more responsible and hardworking than you may have previously thought.

What do you do for a living?

I am a first-year assistant teacher at an elementary school in my hometown. Outside of school, I run a genealogy research business—Applegate Genealogy—where I research my clients’ family history, assist with lineage society applications, transcribe documents and retrieve records to supplement my income.

Do you have a degree and are you currently using your degree?

I have a B.A. in Political Science with a second major in Public Policy from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and I’d say I’m using my degree (kind of!). For my Capstone Project in Public Policy, I worked as a consultant for Orange County, North Carolina’s Adolescent Parenting Program; I interviewed students and social workers in local schools about the resources they need to succeed in school. Now that I’m teaching, I try to keep their stories and ideas in mind every day.

How long have you worked in your field and what is your current salary range?

I’ve worked in my field as an assistant teacher for two weeks, and I currently receive an hourly wage; my goal is to return to school in the spring and work toward my Masters of Education and Teaching Certification. The starting salary for a first-year teacher in North Carolina is around $35,000, but the salary varies depending on your school district. I’ll need a scholarship or two to make this happen!

Do you save for retirement and how?

Ok, I know I should—I have so many relatives telling me to start saving for retirement now. I don’t even know where to start, though. What’s a 401K? Will I even get Social Security when I retire? What other questions should I be asking? I’m trying to figure out how to build up my credit, pay off student loans and save up for my own place in the future—adding retirement savings to the mix seems overwhelming. I wish there was a Retirement 101 class offered in school!

Do you have debt? What is your debt? What are your goals to pay off debt?

In the United States, the average undergraduate student borrows $37,172 in loans to finance their education over four years, and I am in-line with that estimate. My first priority is to pay off the two private loans I took out during my freshman and sophomore years at UNC, and I have been setting aside about a third of each paycheck

since my sophomore year to do so. Once my private loans are taken care of, I’ll draft a timeline of monthly installments for my remaining federal loans. Wish me luck!

Do you have or have you cancelled your home phone/cable/satellite TV?

Right now, I only pay for my cell phone service and Netflix. I’ve never paid for a home phone, cable or satellite TV, and I doubt I will in the near future—it’s just not in the budget!

What percentage of your monthly budget do you save?

I try to save a third of each paycheck for paying off my loans over the next few years (more like the next decade or two, sigh…). All of my savings are going toward my loans right now, and I wish I was saving more for my own apartment. I’d love advice on how to “budget” and allocate my savings!

What monthly subscriptions/memberships do use if any and why? such as a gym membership, Blue apron, Graze, Amazon prime, Dollar shave club, etc?

I subscribe to and for my genealogy business (and personal family history research when I find the time!). I’m also paying for my website’s domain name on a yearly basis. The income I make from client research and affiliate links goes back into maintaining my site and memberships so I can continue to provide research services!

How much do spend on groceries monthly? How often do you eat out?

I eat out about once a week, but I’m not paying much for groceries each month now that I’m living at home. When I lived in an apartment in college, I was probably spending $100 or so on groceries for the month.

Do you have any passive income sources?

Affiliate links are my only passive income source right now. I’m an affiliate for a few online genealogy services that I use for my own research, and if anyone purchases a subscription or product using the link on my website, I’ll earn a small commission. That commission goes right back into maintaining my website.

Do you own or lease a vehicle?

I own a used vehicle, but I’ll still be making monthly payments on it for about a year. I also cover my own car insurance and gas each month.

Do you rent or own your own home/condo/apartment?

I was renting an apartment while in college—and paying for internet and electricity each month—but I’ve been living at home since I graduated in May. Moving back home was a difficult transition at first, but it’s allowed me to save enough money to start making payments on my student loans and to cover the cost of my car and its insurance. Plus, it’s great to be home with my younger sisters again after four years—I just miss some of the independence.

About the featured blogger

When Jamie Gates first started researching her genealogy in 2011, she only had a few family stories to guide her: one ancestor supposedly owned and operated a penny-candy store in Depression-era New York, while another was arrested for selling bathtub gin during the Prohibition era. Seven years later, she’s traced her family tree back to Edward and Samuel Fuller on the Mayflower, found a common ancestor with the Wright Brothers and has spent hours learning Polish and searching parish records from Kujawsko-Pomorskie.

In May 2018, Jamie founded Applegate Genealogy as a way to help others compile their family’s stories and learn more about their roots. She has a broad range of personal research experience, but she specializes in breaking down “brick walls,” following ancestral paper trails across the United States and searching for immigration records in Eastern and Central Europe. When she’s not researching for clients, blogging about her family tree or teaching elementary school, you’ll probably find her reading a book in her favorite coffee shop; new recommendations are always welcome.