Author Topic: Reader Case Study wasted most of 20's want to turn things around. Punch Away.  (Read 7869 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Topic Title: Reader Case Study - your question here

Life Situation: Single Filer, Single Male 29 Phoenix, AZ

I tried to put as much detail as possible and will respond when I can, but might be delayed with studying or work. Please ask and punch away.

I am a data analyst at a financial company. I made a big mess of my 20s by drinking and partying way too much. I spent a lot on bottle service, food, traveling to visit a long distance GF and a lot of other stupid things. I also lived alone for 3 years and never really regulated my spending. About a year and a half ago I finally decided to start dealing with things and have lost almost 50 lbs. Stopped drinking since June 28, 2014 and am working out consistently and feeling good about myself and my future for the first time in a long time. I really wish I could throttle my old self, but I cannot. So I am focused on moving forward and making positive life choices. I am currently single, but I would like to have a wife and kids in the future. I am studying for the GMAT and would like to go back to school and double or triple my salary. I am currently living in a room in a condo for $450 a month which isn't sustainable. As a relic of my future life I am currently carrying a lot of credit card debt working towards paying it down. As a result of a promotion I will be eligible for a year end bonus of around $3 or $4,000 paid in January and then a bonus in the summer based on company metrics that should be around $12,000 or so. I averaged out my expected salary to a gross monthly income. So I don't really gross $5,500 a month. Also the net to invest in taxable is currently negative because of the amount I am paying for credit card.

Gross Salary/Wages: Before any deductions New job with 2 bonuses around $68,000 so around like $5,500 a month

Pre-tax deductions:
Roth 401k                         $418
Pretax Health Ins.           $28
Pretax Vision/Dental Ins.   $13
HSA/Pension                   $20
Life/LTD Insurance           $4

Subtotal pretax:                $483

Employer match                 $167
Employer 10% quarterly      $450
Roth IRA                           $350.00
Roth 401k/403b                   $418.00

Investment Total                 $768
401k, HSA, FSA, IRA, insurance, etc. - whatever you have

Other Ordinary Income: None currently

Qualified Dividends & Long Term Capital Gains: None currently

Rental Income, Actual Expenses, and Depreciation: None currently

Adjusted Gross Income: $64,701

Taxes: Federal, state/local, and FICA. 

Federal tax   $783
State/City tax   $211
Soc. Sec.   $337.25
Medicare   $78.87
Self-employment Tax   $0
Total income taxes   $1,410

Current expenses:

Rent   $450
Cable TV   $75
Car Insurance   $93
Car Maintenance, Registration, etc.   $5
Christmas/Holidays   $40
Clothing/Shoes   $40
Credit card payments/Interest   $1,092
Dental Insurance   $16
Dining (Pizza, Restaurant, etc.)   $150
Dry Cleaning   $10
Emergency Fund   $200
Entertainment   $300
Fuel/Public Transport   $65
Groceries   $110
Lunches   $64
Phone (cell)   $85
Trainer/Gym   $225
"Student Loans"   $189
Travel/Vacation   $85
Non-mortgage total   $3,294

The trainer/gym is a promotional rate for 1 year and will finish in about 7 or 8 months. Working on lowering/eliminating cable.

Expected ER expenses: (optional, if relevant)

Not sure yet, I will probably relocate in the future for more job opportunities or to the Midwest to live closer to parents. So eventually a house and kids expenses. Not sure where or when but something to keep in mind.

Assets: Amount & description - include current asset allocation plan if you have one

Car 1997 Honda Civic fully paid off maybe $1,000

Name   Account   Value
Short-term reserves
Vanguard Tax-Exempt Money Mkt    $100.00   0.10%
Subtotal   $100.00   0.10%

Name   Account   Value
Bonds and bond funds
Vanguard Wellington Fund Inv (35%)    SEP IRA   $9.03   0.00%
Vanguard S-T Investment-Grade Inv    Roth IRA   $98.38   0.10%
Vanguard Ext Duration Treasury ETF    Roth IRA Brokerage Account—$480.48   0.70%
Vanguard High-Yield Corp Fund Adm    Employer Plan $3,841.96   5.60%
Vanguard Tot Intl Bond Ix Institl     -                        6,415.82   9.30%
Subtotal   $10,845.67   15.70%

Name   Account   Value
Large domestic stocks & stock funds
TESLA MOTORS INC   —Traditional IRA Brokerage Account—$6,257.28   9.10%
Vanguard Wellington Fund Inv (65%)    —SEP IRA   $16.78   0.00%
Vanguard Energy Fund Investor    Roth IRA   $471.03   0.70%
Vanguard Health Care Fund Inv    —Roth IRA   $2,533.77   3.70%
Vanguard Energy ETF —Roth IRA Brokerage Account—$791.74   1.20%
Vanguard Ist Tt St Mk Idx Ist Plus (64%)     - $11,974.50   17.40%
Vanguard PRIMECAP Fund Admiral     - $5,683.27   8.30%
Subtotal   $27,728.36   40.40%

Name   Account   Value
Mid/small domestic stocks & stock funds
Vanguard REIT ETF    —VanguardAdvantage™ Account—$80.73    0.10%
Vanguard Capital Value Fund    Roth IRA   $116.36   0.20%
Vanguard Selected Value Fund    —Roth IRA   $100.72   0.10%
Vanguard Ext Mkt Index Inst Plus    $4,191.55   6.10%
Vanguard International Growth Adm (5%)    $328.62   0.50%
Vanguard Ist Tt St Mk Idx Ist Plus (36%)       $6,735.65   9.80%
Subtotal   $11,553.63   16.80%

Name   Account   Value
International stocks & stock funds
Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF    VanguardAdvantage™ Account—$217.17    0.30%
Vanguard Total Intl Stock ETF    VanguardAdvantage™ Account—$194.84    0.30%
Vanguard Total Intl Stock ETF    Roth IRA Brokerage Account—$735.37   1.10%
Vanguard International Growth Adm (95%)     $6,243.72   9.10%
Vanguard Tot Intl Stock Ix Inst Pl       $10,993.32   16.00%
Subtotal   $18,384.42   26.80%

Name   Account   Value
Other stocks & stock funds
CREDIT SUISSE VELOCITYSHS DAILY 2X VIX SHORT TERM ETN —Traditional IRA Brokerage Account—$112.80   0.20%
Subtotal   $118.44   0.20%
Total   $68,730.53     100.00%

Total $68,730.53

Liabilities: Description, original loan amount, rate, original length, and monthly payment (which should be consistent with a spreadsheet PMT calculation).  Add current balance and time remaining if close to final payment.

Credit Cards Shown Below: A lot of this is zero balance and I am working towards paying off the other debt.

Credit Card   Balance   XPS rolldown calculator   current month payments   remaining to pay   zero balance until   % utilization   midpoint   limits
capital one                $900.00      $150.00                                              $195.32   -$45.32   9/11/2015   22.50%   $2,000.00   $4,000.00
amex                        $768.43   $64.04      $64.04   12/1/2015   76.84%   $500.00   $1,000.00
dividend                   $549.62   $50.00   $50.00   $0.00      42.28%   $650.00   $1,300.00
chase                $3,635.96   $100.00      $100.00      90.90%   $2,000.00   $4,000.00
discover                $4,478.20   $180.00      $180.00      74.64%   $3,000.00   $6,000.00
us bank                $1,986.17   $100.00      $100.00      39.72%   $2,500.00   $5,000.00
forward                $2,743.76   $144.41   $44.11   $100.30   3/1/2016   63.81%   $2,150.00   $4,300.00
us airways                $3,450.43   $202.97      $202.97   2/10/2016   86.26%   $2,000.00   $4,000.00
bank of america        $4,295.50   $204.55      $204.55   4/1/2016   85.91%   $2,500.00   $5,000.00
new egg                $950.00   $100.00   $50.00   $50.00   12/1/2015         
total                        $23,758.07   $1,295.96   $339.43   $389.23         $17,300.00   $34,600.00
Zero Balance amount   $13,108.12   55.17%

Total spreadsheet viewable here:
Student Loans:

 Original Principal     Current Principal    Rate   Original Length   Excel PMT
             $10,659    $9,443    6.50%   194   $57.74
              $14,366    $12,726    6.50%   194   $77.81

Around $48,783.07 total

Specific Question(s): Providing a detailed breakdown is important, so is asking for specific information so we know what kind of help/advice you are looking for.

The big question: What should I be targeting as the number to achieve financial independence early? There are a lot of variables so I know it will be difficult I'm assuming like $2 millon? I would like to travel more as well.
1-   Will I be able to afford children? What is the cost on 2 children? Not sure if I will end up in high or low COL area yet.
2-   Where can I improve my expenses? I have some ideas, but maybe I’m blind to something.
3-   I will be hopefully going back to school in a year or two. It would be additional debt but with an increased salary after. How can i minimize the impact of graduate school on ER?
4-    What else do I need to worry about?
5- My parents are divorced and have saved money for retirement. My mom should be fine, but my father has health issues and only social security. How can I make sure they don't suffer in the future?
6- How did you meet spouses who were ER focused and how early should debt talks come up in a relationship?
7- If business school doesn't work out, what are some next steps to take to arrive at ER?
8- Once I am done with the GMAT what are some good side hustles to make more $? I was thinking of getting a newer car and driving lyft or uber. I live right by a lot of clubs and an airport. Due to my job I can't take something in the financial field to avoid conflicts of interest. But I should be able to do something outside once I get it approved. A lot of people at my work go the real estate route, but I don't think that is for me.

Please let me know if you have any other advice! Willing to listen! Thanks
« Last Edit: August 20, 2015, 06:33:04 AM by ronmexico »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Also forgot t ssay i would like FI by 40.

I know gym membership is a lot. But instruggled for years to lose weight until i got a trainer and it helps my mental health.


  • Stubble
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Sounds like you have really been working to turn your life around. Good for you.

I see cable TV $85 and entertainment $300 as the most offensive items in the monthly budget. The big three of housing, car and food are all very reasonable, although you could definitely work on the $150/month eating out. The gym is expensive but at least it is an investment in your future and improves your well-being.

The table showing your credit card debt is not very clear to me. Are you paying interest on those debts?


  • Magnum Stache
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I would focus on crushing those credit card debts before going back to school. You know what you did wrong and you're fixing it, so you're heading the correct direction.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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More info on credit cards: sorry kind of tough to format. This should provide more clarity. I didn't realize how expensive citibank was. I get offers to negotiate the settlement or to take a prosper or lending tree loan to consolidate and pay down. I also get as much on a zero balance cards as possible. It seems like I am getting fewer zero balance offers.

Credit Card   Balance   XPS rolldown calculator to pay per month   zero balance until   Interest Rate
capital one                $900.00   $150.00                                                 9/11/2015     0% until 9/11/2015 then 22.9%
amex   $768.43        $64.04                                                                         12/1/2015   0% until 12/1/2015 then 12.99%
citibank dividend                   $549.62   $50.00                                                                          29.47%
chase                $3,635.96   $100.00                                                                          15.24%
discover                $4,478.20   $180.00                                                                          11.99%
us bank                $1,986.17   $100.00                                                                          18.99%
citibank forward                $2,743.76   $144.41                                                   3/1/2016    5.99% until 3/1/2016
us airways                $3,450.43   $202.97                                                   2/10/2016    0% until 2/10/2016 then 24.99%
bank of america        $4,295.50   $204.55                                                    4/1/2016   0% until 4/1/2016 then 14.99%
"Totals"   $22,808.07   $1,195.96      


  • Pencil Stache
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OK, you asked a lot of complicated questions here, but I really want to focus on your debt elimination because you have AN EMERGENCY SITUATION!!!

Holy shit, man, look at your credit cards!  Some of them with astonishingly high interest rates (or what will be astonishingly high interest rates very soon).   If I were you, I would be focusing on them with every ounce of my being.

1.  Cable TV- get rid of it.  You can't afford it.  Get Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime if you absolutely can't go without something on TV (I am one of those people, and Netflix is all I need). 
2.  Why are you paying so much on car insurance for a car that is worth almost nothing?  Tell us more about your insurance/coverage.  I bet you can get that for much cheaper if you drop some of your coverages.
3.  Christmas/Holidays:  OK, I know this is tricky, but what are you spending this money on.  You are in a debt emergency and this may be somewhere that you can cut back.  Get creative with your gifts.  Maybe we can help.  Who are you shopping for?
4.  Clothing/Shoes:  FACEPUNCH.  You have TWENTY TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS IN CREDIT CARD DEBT.  You do not get to buy any more clothes and shoes.  If you do, you are getting them at a thrift store or on ebay. 
5.  Dining: NOPE.  No more.  You now get 50/month to go out to eat, and that is being generous.  Choose wisely when you use it. 
6.  Emergency Fund:  How much is in this?  Can you lower your contributions for a bit while you pay off your debt? 
7.  Entertainment:  HAHAHAHAHAHAH.  No.  What are you spending this kind of money on?  That is $3600 per year on "entertainment".  Whatever it is, you can't afford it. 
8.  Lunches:  This isn't a huge amount, but it does seem like an unnecessary expense.  Is this lunches out with co-workers, eating in a cafeteria?  What does this category mean exactly?
9. Phone.  Too much.  Do you have a contract?  You should switch to a much cheaper plan.  Ting, Republic Wireless, or one of the many other options. 
9.  Trainer/Gym:  Well, you've already explained this, but damn that is a lot of money. 
10:  Travel/Vacation:  This is now your travel/vacation/entertainment/eating out/clothing fund.  Spend it carefully. 

Just LOOK at all of that low-hanging fruit!  You can kick some serious debt ass here if you make a few changes.  You can totally do this!  Losing 50 lbs is HARD.  Paying off 22K of debt is EASY. 


  • Pencil Stache
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1-   Kids – current rough estimates regarding the cost of raising a middle class kid in the US is about 200k over their first 18 years of life, not including college expenses. Don’t let this freak you out – there are plenty of ways to raise kids for a lot less (namely not buying them a ton of unnecessary crap).
2-   Expenses – right now you are spending over 200 a month on eating out (dining and lunches categories). Pack pb&j and brew your own coffee to cut those lunch expenses down. Try to work your way down to a more reasonable dining out budget – maybe see if you can stick to 100 a month, and if that goes well, cut further.  Entertainment category is very high – what are you spending $300 a month on? Can you cut this in half to $150? If you shave off $20 from lunches, $50 from dining out, and $150 from entertainment you free up $220 extra to throw at your cc debt each month.
3-   Grad school – think long and hard about this one. Grad student loans have higher interest rates so if you can avoid them do it (I say this as someone who paid for grad school with 6.8% federal loans). Many companies now offer tuition reimbursement for specific courses if it relates to your job, and some companies will pay for your masters in full if you agree to spend a certain amount of time with them (this is how my husband got his masters in engineering). If your current company offers tuition reimbursement, look into taking courses part time - it will take a while to get the degree but you'll avoid the debt trap.
4-   Parents-  you have some serious credit card debt right now, don’t worry about your parents and their situation. The best way to help others financially is to get your own financial house in order. Future kids, spouse, and extended family always benefit from a financially savvy and stable person.


  • Magnum Stache
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Good job coming to reality on your situation.

I can see that your gym/trainer have helped you a lot, but you might seriously consider how much more self-discipline you have developed already and make a plan to switch over to working out on your own by the time your promotion runs out. Sure the health benefits (both mental and physical) of working out are great; but if you can get to the point where you don't need the gym membership and trainer to keep it up, the mental health benefits will go up to the next level.

You don't absolutely need more income to reach ER. You've already got over $2k going towards investments and loans. Face punch on cable TV and entertainment for another $300. Add in your $200 emergency fund and you can easily be investing $2500/mo once you eliminate your debt - that's within striking distance of a 50% savings rate.

You have more value invested than debt, so you're not even digging yourself out of a negative net worth! There is no reason to be paying your credit card rates and make any investment that does not get some sort of matching dollars (either employer or tax credit). I'd even consider raiding past Roth IRA contributions to kill off some of your highest interest rates - paying off a debt can be viewed as a guaranteed tax free return!

All-in-all, you have a lot of work to do to retire at 40, but you're that far off either if it is truely your priority. Read more MMM on fugality and really consider what expense it would take to live happily. $2 million is a "Consumer Sucka" retirement - you could choose to happily retire with a net worth close to $1 million.


  • Handlebar Stache
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I would really research this grad school decision. There is no guarantee an MBA will help you financially. The people who get the big bucks post-MBA usually are the people who were making big bucks pre-MBA (banking, management consulting, technology). My brother had a variety of jobs pre-MBA - none of them were high salary/high status and the MBA did nothing for him salary wise. Meanwhile, he went to a top school and got good grades and networked. If you're a data analyst you need to see what the MBA will do for you within your company and in your field.

I would do whatever it takes to pay off that debt. I would even sell non retirement assets to pay off any debt over 6%.


  • Handlebar Stache
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You are doing decent on your assets.

Would anyone here advise him to possibly sell some of his investments that are just in stocks to pay off some of the higher interest credit card debt?


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Good work on taking the first few steps in the right direction!

I am not sure of your experience in corporate finance but I'd expect you to be able to get a significant pay bump by looking around for jobs or asking for more money at your current job. That income seems a bit low for someone 7 years in the workforce with technical skills at a financial company who is an aspiring MBA. Especially now that you have lost weight (fairly or unfairly, this matters) I'd think you are an even more attractive job candidate.

Everyone else in this thread hit good points. Your CC debt needs to go. Retiring by 40 will require major life changes.

Also, retiring by 40 and getting an MBA are likely opposite goals as your repayment time horizon is limited by your early retirement goal. I am 29 as well, and have done some reasonable calculations on a part time MBA's impact on my FIRE date back when I was 26 and it pushed it back from 34 to 38. You should do the same with some reasonable salary assumptions to determine if it is worth it.

The MBA makes a lot of sense if you plan on a long and fruitful career, or if you think it will be fun and merely enjoy the luxury of higher education but that isn't what this board is for and you have too much debt to indulge in that luxury.


  • Senior Mustachian
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  • Handlebar Stache
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    • My Necronomicon of Badassity
Yeah, ditch those cards ASAP.  Top priority.  It must feel like you're in a cyclone of cards, no?  If you found out you'd be guaranteed an 29.5% return-on-investment annually, say a new fund comes out called "Vanguard Insanely Badass ETF", you'd be all over that mutha, right?  Credit card is the same thing--you win 29% on any money you cut it down with.

When these are down, finished with, kaput, cancel then cut 'em the hell up!  All you really need is one MasterCard, and one Visa, and that's it.  Forget AMEX, most places in the world don't take that anyway, and I've never encountered issue with the other two.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Thanks everybody for the tough love.

I called my cable company and there is a $260 early cancellation fee. I started talking to my roommates about splitting the bill and the owner of the condo was not interested since he already pays all the other utilities. I will talk to my other roommate but he is putting his dog down tomorrow so I will hold off on that for a bit. I already get a below market rate from my roommate so I feel like if I cancel the cable rent may go up or it may cause hostility. I will aggressively reduce the rest of my entertainment budget and really focus on making almost all of the food I eat.

My cell phone is on a 2 year deal and would cost major fees to cancel early.

Car insurance is with farmers, but covers glass, collision and uninsured drivers. I would like this lower, but Phoenix has high auto insurance rates because there are so many crashes and a ton of uninsured drivers. I am open to exploring this, but last time I got car insurance quotes I remember this being a good deal still.

I bought some clothes after the weight loss, but I am good for awhile orwill ask for some for Christmas. My pants were too huge, I looked into getting some taken in but the tailor prices were around the same for new clothes. This is more retrospective looking and will be lower going forward.

For birthdays and Christmas, I gave my mom, dad, step-mom and step-dad a gift worth around $50 each. Then for Christmas the same people plus my brother and his gf and family gift. So maybe this is actually less.

I am almost to $1,000 on my emergency fund just $200 short, then I will hold off for  a bit.


  • Magnum Stache
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For dating, I suggest being up front about what you are looking for. Don't waste your own time. A website like OKCupid can help you screen people.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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I will take out $100 cash per paycheck for entertainment/dining out to limit myself. I have gotten back into reading and can get books for free from the library and I am focusing on doing free things with friends. I also can spend my free time studying for the GMAT which will save me money.

Once my promotion is over with the trainer I will be done with a trainer and in a good enough place to save that money.

Credit Cards are definitely my top priority, the highest will be done next paycheck.

As far as the GMAT/ my job I am sort of stuck at the moment. I was in college for 5 years and started school a year late due to hearing problems as a child. So I am only in my 5th year out of college. In the area including all benefits I am at the top in compensation. My job has an annual salary raise which is generous (10% last year) and a crazy 401k match. With the GMAT i feel like it is the next step to launch me into a financial career. I want to be FI at 40 but think that I will always work in some capacity. So even if I hit FI at 40 I would still like to consult or work for a non-profit. This definitely isn't a luxury or vanity idea.

I have realized that experiences and people matter way more than things.

I also realize that getting myself financially stable will help me get my goals and relax. I definitely don't ever want to be in this situation again.

Thanks again everybody. I will update periodically and have some good news for you guys! Thanks!!!


  • Handlebar Stache
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I found your case study interesting to read. From a "why not to go 22k into CC debt" perspective...

I broke down your expenses a different way

Rent: 450
Entertainment (incl cable+travel): 460
Food: 324
Transport: 163
"Stuff" (incl phone): 175
Health: 241
Lifestyle: 1813

Debts: ~1300

Save: 200

I think your "lifestyle" expenses are pretty darn good. Not perfect, but rent, food (in&out), and transportation are pretty low for a single person. I won't begrudge you the trainer/gym: I know that sometimes the fact that you *can* work out on your own/at home doesn't mean you *will* and working with a trainer has helped me before. One thing I did was cut down from hour-long sessions to half-hour ones once I knew her expectation for warm up/cool down and also only use her services every 2 weeks. Knowing I would get my butt kicked kept me going the other 13 days, and having her input every once in a while helped me keep learning about fitness and add variety to my routines.

But, what's really dragging you down is paying for your past choices, i.e. those credit card balances and >$1k of payments! Paying for those things you used/bought/took advantage of months or years ago...

Anyway, I was going to suggest: I think you're a prime candidate for a snowball-type debt payoff. You said you were almost done adding $200/mo to the E-fund? Your current CC payments line seems to basically be the minimums. Keep paying those. Then take the $200 freed up from E-fund building, add $200 from your Entertainment category, and find $100 somewhere else (from food, from clothes&shoes, from gifts(just do $20 cards this year)), and throw that $500 at the citibank. Boom. you're done! Now you have $550 to throw at the next card next month (in addition to minimums. "Technically" you're supposed to go in order of balance but I think in your case you can do them by interest rate instead. Since you have a bunch of small(ish) balances you'll have a victory every few months and it should be motivating :)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 85
I would really research this grad school decision. There is no guarantee an MBA will help you financially. The people who get the big bucks post-MBA usually are the people who were making big bucks pre-MBA (banking, management consulting, technology). My brother had a variety of jobs pre-MBA - none of them were high salary/high status and the MBA did nothing for him salary wise. Meanwhile, he went to a top school and got good grades and networked. If you're a data analyst you need to see what the MBA will do for you within your company and in your field.

As an MBA-er and Financial Analyst, I second this.  Schools / online reading hype up the salaries that you're 'expected' to earn with an MBA, as it's their marketing materials.  For some people, this higher salary level holds true, but for many it does not.  Think of it this way -- as a data analyst with an MBA, do you feel like you'll be able to provide 2x or 3x the value that you do now to justify that salary increase?  For most data analysts not at a Top 10 MBA school, that's pretty difficult to do.  I've found there's a lot of smart people out there and the scrappy ones that put in the hard work to get ahead tend to be non-MBA types.  If you're going to go this route, find an employer that will pay for the MBA degree for you.  Committing to working there 3 years after graduation is nothing compared to having to repay $50k of loans.

For what it's worth, I'm focusing my efforts on becoming an expert in the software tools that help with analysis (ie: SQL, Qlikview, etc.).  I find this adds more value to my employer than my MBA does.  I regularly deal with SLT members (Senior Leadership Team) given my role and the ability to 'wow' them with the tools we use + my intelligence is much more beneficial than anything I learned in the MBA program.

Yes, the MBA is a badge of honor that no one can take away from you, but I speak from experience when I say to make sure it benefits your specific situation (do all senior managers of data analysis have MBAs?) before you pursue it.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 10
If i were to get an mba it would open up alternative career paths. Im not neccesarrily married to the data analysis route. But the senior managers at my comlany do have mbas. I would primarily want an mba from a top 10 school. Because i dont know where i will end up in the future. Maybe not even in the US. A top 10 program will have name recognition plus alumni network and course content. I keep returning to the conclusion that a top 10 business school aligns with my goals. Even if i reach FI by 40 i would want to keep working in some capacity. I have seen tooany colleague just get an mba from an online school or local school and not even get a raise. I am betting on myself to get into a great school.

I am also learning a few programs that will help with specifically financial data analysis. I plan on lesrning sql and visual basic as well. I have a great reputation within my department and company.

For the other comment my past ia dragging me down and i am definitely goimg to avalanche the debt and focus on paying the higest interest rate off first. I will still have milestones to celebrate by reading a good library book or taking a hike in nature. I understand that payimg highest interest first maximizes debt payoff efficency.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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My company hr also just got back to me about some old overtime that they owe me which will be on my paycheck next friday. Can't wait to pay down more debt!


  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 343
  • Age: 41
  • Location: The Netherlands
  • Zuinigheid met vlijt bouwt huizen als kastelen
+1 on the fact that YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE and you need to get rid of the credit card debt ASAP. Which means cutting ALL unnecessary expenses, i.e. dining out, lunch, entertainment, travel, clothes &c. until your balance is down to 0.

You're doing well on the rent/transportation/groceries front, kudos for that. If I were you I would not get a new car in order to drive Uber/Lyft. There's only so many rides you can take as you are also working a regular job, the extra income probably won't offset the extra costs of your new car. Why do you need a new car to drive Uber/Lyft? I'm not into this (Uber is illegal here) so I wouldn't know, but why can you not drive for them in your current car?

It looks like you're paying 6,8% on your (quite hefty) student loans. I see a lot of people on here paying less. Can you refinance to a lower interest rate? Personally, I wouldn't take on more student loans before these are paid off, but that's me - I really, really hate being in debt.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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The student loans were sold by the Federal Government to a new provider. I can try refinancing but I don't think it will be successful.

The big opportunities that I will implement are way cheaper entertainment, making almost all food at home. Lowering clothing expenses. Once I get to $1,000 in emergency fund going to lower that a lot and direct the difference into credit cards.

I can't drive lyft or uber in my car because it is too old. Nights and weekends would be profitable in the area I live in.

I am happier now and know that I can be disciplined to stick with this stuff and will update in a few months.


  • Magnum Stache
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  • Posts: 4361
  • Location: Texas
Stop saving in ROTH vehicles, put the money in Traditional and you're also saving nearly 30% of that money from being paid in income taxes (Fed + State.)  Use that money to pay of stupid credit cards