Shaping My Career

Life: I got engaged! And my college bestie got engaged a week later!
– I flew out to the east coast for one weekend and had a small engagement ceremony at my parent’s house. I flew right back to California to attend an onsite interview.
– My mom is hardcore planning my wedding already. I feel like there’s a lot of miscommunication between my parents and my boyfriend’s parents as compared to me and my boyfriend. It may also be that my mom has a lot of free time to overthink things, gets stressed incredibly easily, and has (sometimes unreasonably) high expectations of everyone around her.
– We haven’t made our relationship social media official yet. We have to at least wait until my boyfriend calls or messages all of his close friends and relatives with the news.

Health & wellness: I didn’t work out at all in June. And I don’t have health insurance now that it’s July.
– I took advantage of being out of work to catch up on appointments with my doctor and dentist. I got a 6-month dental checkup and annual physical in the last week of June while I still had coverage. I also got a tetanus shot and had blood work done. I’m grateful for my health and won’t need any appointments till December/January, when I’m due to visit the optometrist and dentist.
– I have until August to elect COBRA coverage and have it be retroactively applied to July. The health insurance I had under my employer would cost $645/month. This is too much coverage and too expensive for my non-existent needs, so I’ve been meaning to look into Obamacare. I’ll spend more time on this towards the end of July after I finish my job search.

– I didn’t have any income in June and am surprised at how little I thought about money. I worried a little about cash flow after paying July rent before my roommates paid me back for their part of the rent, but things went smoothly overall. After my last paycheck of $4K gets deposited next week, I won’t need to think about money till mid-August.
– I’m still holding $6K cash in my brokerage account but don’t expect to need it until the end of August if I haven’t gotten my first paycheck by then.
– My portfolio could use rebalancing but it’s not urgent so I’ll wait till I finish my job search.
– Facebook announced a new currency called Libra which caused Bitcoin to jump in value. As a result I added my crypto wallet under “Other Assets”. It contains 2 ETH and I’ll keep it a static category going forward.

– I successfully navigated a dozen onsites so far and am fielding multiple job offers. I have more onsites next week and possibly the week after so I’m still practicing my interview skills this weekend.
– Now I’m starting to reflect on what I really want in a new role and whether I could picture actually working at various companies for multiple years. I’m also wondering how to shape my career. For example if I take a job doing a similar type of engineering as I have been doing, then will I become a specialist in a couple more years and have more generalist opportunities close as a result? (No.) Should I stick with public companies as I have been doing thus far in my career or am I ready to take the compensation risk to join late-stage startups? (I have enough net worth that I feel okay accepting a job at a startup I believe in.) Say the company I do want to join can’t match the highest offer I receive, then do I forget the money and join the company I like? How much do I hold out until a good company comes along that is willing to pay more than any other offer? (Depends on how much interview fatigue I have at the end of this month.)
– Another focus is to negotiate well and get a competitive offer that reflects the skills I’ve honed in the last 2 years. My best written offer so far is from a public company at $165K salary and $65K RSUs per year. While I primarily care about the team and type of work I’ll be doing in my new job, I still want to be paid well. If I can successfully convey this to recruiters then I could profit by hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run.

2018 Financial Review

Every January I review how the past year went, compare it to previous year’s prediction, and give an estimate for the upcoming year. My last paycheck for the year says I got 296K W-2 gross income in 2018. From what I can tell of my brokerage accounts, I had at least 4K investment income. That puts me over 300K pre-tax income for the year, which is just astounding to me as I never imagined making so much growing up! But my boyfriend likes to quote Professor Scott Galloway saying “It’s not how much you earn, but how much you burn.” so I’d also like to calculate my annual expenses and savings rate for the year. Let’s see how this year compared to my 2017 Financial Review predictions…

Category Predicted Actual Notes
Cash No change -6K I just made a 6K backdoor IRA contribution for 2019.
Stocks (Brokerages + ESPP proceeds) +141K +148K I had predicted 119K RSU contributions using pre-tax numbers, the actual uses post-tax proceeds. From my paycheck, I actually got 130K of RSU’s pre-tax. Between ESPP and RSUs I got 112K post-tax, sold 98K of it (all RSUs and some ESPP), and am currently holding 18K. I believe in my company and can wait till ESPP stock becomes a long position.
Retirement (401K + IRAs) +27K +34K I contributed 28K to my 401K and am counting a 6K 2019 backdoor IRA contribution with this annual review.
Other (Rollover IRA) No change -.3K I rolled my rollover IRA into my 401K. I hadn’t planned to do this last January.
Car Loan Paid Off Paid Off My car turned 5. I paid off the loan and own it outright.
Everything Else No change No change I have a lower credit card balance and have misplaced some Treasury bonds.

My net worth increased by 139K to 353K in 2018 between December 2017 and December 2018 entries, broken down as follows:

  • Cash: 11K original amount, -6K change from 2019 backdoor Roth IRA contribution
  • Stocks: 85K original amount, +121K change
    • +36K personal savings
    • +29K ESPP contributions for five quarters
    • +83K proceeds selling RSUs
    • -28K losses remaining. I realized 5K gains, 3.5K losses, and have 15K unrealized losses in IXUS.
  • Retirement: 122K original amount, +21K change
    • +18.5K my contributions
    • +9.25K company contributions
    • +6K 2019 backdoor Roth IRA contribution
    • +.3K IRA rolled in
    • -13K losses remaining
  • Other: Rolled .3K into 401K
  • Car Loan: Paid off remaining 2K
  • Everything else: Stay the same, within $3K of current levels

2019 Estimates

  • Cash: +6K for 2020 backdoor Roth IRA contribution
  • Stocks: +24K ESPP contributions for four quarters, +50K proceeds selling RSUs
  • Retirement: +19K my contributions, +9.5K company contributions
  • Bonds: Currently this is a placeholder for some misplaced Treasury bonds. I want to either find them or write them off as lost forever.
  • Everything else: Stay the same, within $3K of current levels

Annual Expenses & Savings Rate

300K pre-tax and 201K after-tax is probably a good estimate of how much income I made in 2018. I saved 182K this year and my expenses are ~28K so I have an 86-90% after-tax savings rate.

  • Taxes: 99K total (withheld so far)
    • 58K federal
    • 27.5K state
    • 13K SS & Medicare
  • Stock Contributions: 148K
  • Retirement Contributions: 34K
  • Rent: 12K, I share a 3 bd apt with roommates
  • Credit Cards: 16K, I pay off my balances in full each month

The Numbers

I started to blog anonymously so I can be open about my job and compensation. I got the idea of a numbers post from HerEveryCentCounts, who in turn credits Leigh’s Financial Journey. All numbers are in thousands of USD. Salary is as of December of the listed year, Gross Income is the income from my tax return. Net worth lists Assets – Liabilities using December Networthshare entries.

My income fluctuates from my salary because some of my compensation comes from RSUs and an annual bonus. I have a small amount of income from dividends and capital gains. I’ve always had generous 401K company matches and I participate in my current company’s ESPP plan as well.

Year Salary Gross Income Net Worth Notes
2015 115 50 48 – 10 = 38  Started 1st job!
2016 115 127 110 – 7 = 103 RSU 1 yr grant
2017 135 155 219 – 5 = 214 2nd job!
2018 140 200+ TBD RSU 1 yr grant

I graduated college and started my first full time job in the latter half of 2015 so that’s when I start tracking. I’ve had a lot of financial help and guidance from my parents so I started off with $10K in my bank account, a Roth IRA with $11K from 2 year’s internship earnings, a car that my parents made payments on for 6 months after I graduated, a company which paid for my relocation to the SF Bay Area and gave me temporary housing for a month, and no student loans.