How Three Men in LA Spend (and Save) Their Money

You can’t ask your friends these questions — so we did

By The Editors

How 3 Men in LA Spend (and Save) Their Money
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23 March 2017

No one likes talking about money.

It’s taboo. It’s gauche. And it’s a source of boundless curiosity.

So today, we’re pulling back the curtain so you can see how other guys in your tax bracket — as well as outside of it — choose to spend their money.

Below, we ask three Angelenos to share their habits and thoughts: how much they make, how they spend it and how life would be different if they had a little more.

 

Writer/Blogger, 28 
“I rarely feel the need or desire to treat myself.”

Annual income: $40,000
Neighborhood: WeHo
Marital status: Engaged, no kids
Own or rent: Rent
Groceries: $44/week
Credit cards: 1
Investment plan: “None.”
Dining out: “Two-three nights a week.”
Overspends on: “Haircuts.”
Hates overspending on: “Uber and Lyft.”
Last ‘splurge’ purchase: “I rarely feel the need or desire to treat myself. Maybe the expensive  glasses I just bought. Worth it? I'm sure I could have found cheaper ones that'd do the trick.”
Next ‘splurge’ purchase: “A brand new car.”
Spender or saver? “A bit of both. More of a saver.”

 

What’s currently your biggest worry related to money?
“Not having enough money to seem like a viable option to the opposite sex.”

Any financial regrets in the past five years?
“Pursuing a freelance career/nontraditional line of work (and therefore nontraditional paychecks).”

If you made more money, how would your life be different?
“I'd probably be more confident/less stressed.”

How do you think you compare to other Angelenos in terms of income and happiness?
“L.A. seems to have really low lows and really high highs when it comes to income and happiness (especially in the creative/entertainment fields). I'd imagine I fall somewhere in the middle. I try and stay positive and enjoy my life though — so maybe a bit higher on the happiness scale.”

What financial advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
“When you get paid, always put a little money aside in a separate account. Do. Not. Touch. It. That way when you need a new apartment, furniture, or a car, you'll have reserve funds to tap into.”

 

Marketing, 40
“We have school, property taxes, insurance, retirement. It’s a gauntlet it seems so there’s always something to save for.”

Annual income: $200,000
Neighborhood: El Segundo
Marital status: Married, two kids
Rent or own: Homeowner
Groceries: $200/week
Credit cards: 3
Investment plan:
We save for retirement and are pretty strict with how we do that. I have a good 401k at work, and have had for years. We have a financial advisor and save what we can every year, including for kids’ schools. My wife is very good at this, and so it’s a priority with us.”
Dining out: 1-2 times/week
Overspends on: "Probably travel. We don’t travel often now that we have kids, but when we do we like nicer experiences.”
Hates overspending on: "Maintaining the house. Small maintenance jobs are always popping up when you own a hose. It’s so important, but always seems like you’re getting ripped off.”
Last ‘splurge’ purchase: For my 40th I bought a custom Donald Takayama longboard. It was a tad extravagant, but so far I love it. It’s something that I plan to have for a long time so worth the money in my opinion.”
Dream purchase: A really nice watch. Someday I will, but it seems so irresponsible. A Rolex, Omega, something like that.” 
Spender or saver? "That’s tough. My wife is the saver, if I’m being honest I am probably the spender as I like some of the finer things and life is short.”

 

How are you saving for the future? 
“Just planning ahead I suppose. We have school, property taxes, insurance, retirement. It’s a gauntlet it seems so there’s always something to save for.”

What’s currently your biggest worry related to money? 
“Probably that I would lose my job for some unforeseen reason. If that happened, it wouldn’t be ruinous. But it would be stressful. LA is an expensive place and I have a family counting on me.” 

Any financial regrets in the past five years?
“Not really. We’ve been pretty responsible the past five years. We bought a house, had kids. In my 20s, I have a few I don’t care to mention :).“

If you made more money, how would your life be different? 
“I don’t know. Maybe we’d travel more or have a slightly bigger house. But I don’t see life changing too much. We like simplicity, don’t like flashy cars or things like that.”

How do you think you compare to other Angelenos in terms of income and happiness?
 
“Well I would say on average we probably do better than the average person in LA. But for the South Bay, probably just average. There’s a lot of money in places like Manhattan Beach. But I’d say we’re probably on the happier end of the spectrum. We have a ways to go in life, goals to shoot for, careers to continue to build. I think working towards something makes us happy and busy. And with kids, happiness is really measured by just having them around and watching them grow. We are very blessed in that sense.”

What financial advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
“Spend on experiences, not things.”

 

Marketing/Cannabis, 41
“I always spent more than I made and just believed in my future earning potential. That's not a sound strategy for most people.”

Annual income: $500,000
Neighborhood: Venice
Marital status: Married
Rent or own: Homeowner
Groceries: $375/week
Credit cards: 5
Investment plan:  I have a financial advisor who manages most of my funds.”
Dining out: 2/week, every meal on weekends
Overspends on: “Travel.”
Hates overspending on: “Clothes.”
Last ‘splurge’ purchase: “A three-week trip to Australia. Worth every cent.”
Spender or saver? “Spender.”

 

How are you saving for the future? 
“I had a decent size exit already that is being managed so my future is more or less secure as long as we manage burn rate and continue to work.”

What’s currently your biggest worry related to money?
“That we'll overspend based on future earning expectations and that something will happen to one of us or our businesses.” 

Any financial regrets in the past five years?
“Just a couple of bad investments.”

If you made more money, do you think your life would be different?
“It wouldn't be much different. I would just have more security.”

How do you think you compare to other Angelenos in terms of income and happiness?
“I have more income and am happier than most.”

What financial advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
“It worked out for me but it easily could have not. I always spent more than I made and just believed in my future earning potential. That's not a sound strategy for most people.”

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