Just wanted to take a moment to welcome the newest addition to the 2 Minute Finance family, Christina Huh. She will be posting about her finances and other musings in the “C-Note” area of blurb section on a weekly basis.
I had chance to interview Christina over e-mail about her new C-Note series. Here’s what she had to say:
Tell me your basic stats and what you’re doing with your life?
I just turned 26 year old female living in Los Angeles. I’m currently a fashion design student at LATTC.
I hear “design student” and the first question that pops into my mind is: How are you supporting yourself?
I used to work two jobs until the end of last year: Sales associate at high-end fabric store and as a web production assistant for a public radio show. My monthly income fluctuated, due to changing school and work schedules, but on average I made about $1,300 a month. I knew eventually I would have to give up one job to finish school within two years, so I saved a lot. Since the new year, I’ve been drawing on those savings.
So retail and media production, not two areas known for high-paying work. How would you describe your financial personality?
Good question. I can say that I’m a good saver but a middling spender. I’ll go into more depth about what I mean by that in my series.
When we initially started talking about writing for 2MF, you mentioned your desire to be pretty open with your finances publicly. Why would you want to tell the world about your bank balance?
The Internet is all about overshare — you can learn how to have sex in any number of ways, what the latest Valley Girl hauled in her latest shopping trip — and yet very few people share how they spend their money. I’m not putting myself out there to show people what they should be doing with their money, but rather to get a conversation going about personal finance. Maybe by taking a look at how I save and spend (and all the mistakes I’ll make), it’ll get readers thinking about their money and how they want to manage it.
Would you mind talking about what your finances look like right now?
Right now, 70 percent of every paycheck goes into savings account at what I’ll call Bank A. I allow myself to withdraw $650.00 a month for rent and utilities and school fees from this account. I am pretty strict about this — if I “loan” this money to myself, I usually pay it back, save for some exceptions.
I also maintain a separate checking and savings account at Bank B. The money in the checking account is for my daily spending, whether it be groceries, that book I’ve always wanted or birthday gifts — you get the idea. I put $12.50 of every paycheck into the Bank B savings account for a future business I’d like to own. And I also put another $5 in too, for my “fun fund,” that is any tickets to ballets or music events I want to go to. I really enjoy going to the theater, so I set this fund up so I can enjoy myself even if I am broke.
I also invested about $3,500 in a South Korean index fund (EWY) in my brokerage account. Honestly, investing is still a bit of a mystery to my; I bought those shares based on my father’s suggestions (he’s an accounting professor, so he’s not totally pulling stuff out of his ass). My personal logic is that unless the South Korean economy ceases to exist completely, I’ll probably come out on top — if only by a little bit — by the time I’m of retirement age.
Finally, I have another $5,000 in a Roth IRA account. I invested $2,500 of it in EWY when the market was lower, so I’m up a little bit with this account. I’m still deciding how to invest the rest of these Roth funds. And yeah, I’m not quite sure how a Roth works, but according to the show I work for, a Roth seems to be the best first step towards retirement savings.
What are some financial concerns you have?
-Retirement – Having worked at a money radio show since the recession started, I have been properly scared s**t-less that I will never get a job that’ll provide me health insurance or retirement — or you know, a wage that doesn’t make me feel on edge all the time.
-Health insurance – Obamacare let me be under the wing of my dad’s insurance until I was 26. Now I’m without insurance and not sure what to do.
-Emergency fund – I’m digging into this right now. Aside from $650 for rent and utilities, I’m allowing myself $50 a week. Again, I knew this day would come. I know in order for me to get a job in the fashion industry, I’ll have to take on at least one unpaid internship (…yeah, I’m playing the unfortunate game). It won’t be possible to juggle two jobs, school and an internship. So the idea is that I’ll make myself my own job, which will let me set my own hours.
Finally, what should we expect from the C-note series?
Every so often (hopefully weekly), I’ll be posting the ins and outs of my checking accounts and tallies of the other accounts with a self-assessment of how I did. Eventually, I will compile this information into a budget. I’ll also be posting about other financial or money challenges I have.