Money Diary: A Recently Let-Go Accountant In London On 93k
Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period – and we're tracking every last penny.
This week: "Hi! I’m a 28-year-old finance professional living in London. I work in a very niche area of finance so once I qualified as an accountant, my skills were very in demand and I got poached by a boutique firm. I used this opportunity (with some encouragement from my boyfriend, P) to negotiate myself a salary uplift and sign-on bonus. Last year I bought a two-bedroom flat by myself. For full disclosure, I lived with my mum and sister while working. There is some cultural/personal context to this which I won’t go into but I paid rent (albeit slightly reduced). It meant that I could be around (I also did the majority of cooking, general life house stuff, DIY). I recognise there was some element of luck and privilege to be able to do this. I saw the impact of my parents' divorce on my mum so I’ve always been keen to be as financially independent as I can, even though I’m in a relationship. As the eldest child in a first generation immigrant working class family, there have been lots of obstacles but I’ve been truly living my dream.
All this came crashing down last month when, as a complete shock, I was hauled into a meeting and asked to leave my job. After some very upsetting weeks and chatting to various lawyers, I decided to give up fighting my bosses and just leave. I was reluctant to do this as it meant that I had to waive my right to pursue any sexism and racism grievances I had raised. However the negotiation process and the nature of the job (long, intense hours served with a dollop of white public school boy nepotism) had impacted my mental health quite significantly. I am lucky that the payout will be enough to live on for a little bit while I figure out what I want to do with my life. This is a very unusual position to be in!
I am currently in a long-distance relationship with P, who works for an infrastructure startup. We met nearly six years ago through a chance Tinder date. After two years of various dates in random cities worldwide, P and I finally got together in a very snowy and romantic Christmas/New Year visit to New York and have now been together for four years. P’s company transferred him to the US permanently so he is currently going through the Green Card process. Hopefully, some time in the future I will join him.
Pre-COVID, both P and I’s jobs involved a lot of travelling and it worked well as we always managed to see each other frequently. There was a rather memorable flight where I spent 14 hours sitting next to P’s boss… Since COVID, P has only been able to fly back twice (adhering to all rules, of course). P’s job is considered essential as it’s in infrastructure. So we’ve spent quite a lot of the past year apart. I moved out of my mum’s into my own flat during the first lockdown so learning to live alone has been a new and exciting (and sometimes lonely) experience. P has been back in the US since the beginning of the year so my mum and sister who live together and not too far away are my support bubble."
Industry: Finance Age: 28 Location: London Salary: £55,000 plus bonuses which are variable year on year. Last year I earned £93k all in. Normal paycheque amount: £2,929 (after tax). Bonuses are paid as a lump sum once a year. Number of housemates: Just me. Yes, all by myself.
Housing costs: £1,292 is my monthly mortgage payment on my two-bed flat. Loan payments: No loans apart from my student loan payment which is £246 per month (and a couple of grand around bonus time). I have a credit card that I use for work expenses and any large house purchases over £100. The points and lounge access are super helpful when travelling with work/to see P. The balance gets paid in full at the end of the month. Utilities: £36 a month for water, £37 for gas and electric, £30 for broadband, £88 council tax, £40 for home and contents insurance (this is paid annually so I save £40 a month for the remaining 11 months of the year in anticipation of my renewal). Transportation: £0 as I’m no longer commuting to work. Phone bill: £16 SIM only deal which also includes a subscription to Spotify Premium. Savings? Circa £10k split across a few accounts: one untouchable old school building society account with passbook, a stocks and shares ISA (this is a longer term fund with an emphasis on investing in socially responsible businesses) and two regular savers. My savings were depleted after buying my flat last year and I’m trying to balance slowly furnishing it with having an emergency fund. Pension: I contribute 8% as a salary sacrifice before tax and my employers contribute 6%. Other: Monthly: £25 for dental insurance (I had very bad problems with my teeth and ended up having a root canal a few years ago – this policy covers things that my work health insurance does not), £13 for life insurance (bit morbid but once I completed on my flat I got my financial affairs in order. The policy covers the entire mortgage plus a bit extra in case anything happens to me. I also wrote a will which gives me a lot of reassurance that I will not leave a big financial mess for my family. Although I have a death-in-service policy through work, getting a separate one (in hindsight) was a great idea). £12 for Netflix, £4 for Amazon Prime, £10 for Dropbox, £5 on an interiors magazine subscription, £6 for Microsoft Office, £150 charity donation (every month I pick a charity/cause to donate to – some Christians believe in tithing, which is the practice of giving away 10% of your income. This is something that I was brought up doing. Although I am no longer religious, I try to give away 10% of my earnings each year. I top this up with a lump sum when I get paid my yearly bonus).
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
Members of Gen Z are more likely to be affected by lockdown loneliness, according to the latest nationwide survey. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 16 to 24 year olds were five times more likely to say they had felt lonely in the past week than people aged between 65 and 74. Overall, 7% of the adult population – 3.7 million people – told the ONS they were “always or often” lonely during the last seven days. This is an increase of more than a million people since the first lockdown a year ago. Single people and people living in industrial areas with high levels of unemployment were also more likely to report that they are experiencing lockdown loneliness. Underlining the link between access to nature and mental health, people living in rural areas were generally less likely to report loneliness. Responding to the survey results, Vivian Hill of the British Psychological Society Covid-19 isolation and confinement group told The Guardian: “My view is that maybe we’ve learned a few things as a society, that human beings do need to be connected, and maybe our day-to-day going out into the world, going into our jobs or to our places of learning, once that [is stripped] away, it’s revealed the hollowness, the life experience of many young people beneath that – that it’s either a question of being out and about with your friends or completely alone.” If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness or isolation, you can call the Samaritans for free on 116 123 or email at email@example.com You can also call the British Red Cross’s dedicated coronavirus support line, which is open from 10am to 6pm every day on 0808 196 3651. Under 25s can also call The Mix on 0808 808 499. This organisation offers free and confidential support to young people in the UK, and runs text and online chat support services too. Further advice on how to cope with feelings of loneliness during the pandemic is available on the Let’s Talk Loneliness website. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
Following Addison Rae’s controversial March 26 segment on The Tonight Show in which she and Jimmy Fallon were criticised for failing to credit the predominately BIPOC creators of the viral TikTok dances she performed on the show, Fallon took a moment to spotlight the original creators. During the show’s April 5 episode, Fallon addressed the social media backlash by interviewing the TikTokers over Zoom. “On our last show before break, we did a bit with Addison Rae, where she taught me eight viral TikTok dances,” Fallon said. “Now, we recognise the creators of those dances deserve to have their own spotlight, so right now, some of the creators will join me to talk about how their dance went viral, and then perform the dance themselves.” Fallon spoke to seven creators responsible for some of the most viral and impressive TikTok moments of the past year: Mya Nicole Johnson and Chris Cotter (@theemyanicole & @cchrvs) who created the “Up” dance, Dorien Scott (@yvnggprince) for “Corvette Corvette,” Fly Boy Fu’s composed the “Laffy Taffy” remix and Indii who made the dance (@FlyBoyFu & @17slumz), Adam Snyder, Nate Nale, and Greg Dahl (@macdaddyz) for the “Blinding Lights” dance, and Keara Wilson (@keke.janajah) for “Savage.” While Rae — who performed these creators’ dances and three more on the show — and Fallon received their fair share of criticism, the controversy opened up a larger discourse about crediting work on social media platforms, and how often white personalities often go viral using or appropriating ideas created by BIPOC users. The segment, however, was devoid of tension or animosity towards Fallon. Instead, the TikTok creators took full advantage of their time to shine — and in some cases…shake their Laffy Taffy. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Addison Rae Viral Clip Reveals Huge TikTok IssueGwyneth Paltrow's Daughter Roasts Her On TikTokWhat Addison Riecke Is Watching In Quarantine
Even if international travel turns out to be possible this summer, many of us have been firmly bitten by the staycation bug. After all, destinations in the UK aren't just quick and convenient to get to; they also make travelling sustainably a little easier. With this in mind, it's interesting to check out Airbnb's list of the top trending staycation destinations for 2021. These aren't necessarily the most popular destinations overall, but the ones that are seeing the biggest increase in search traffic. Basically, if these holiday spots aren't big yet, they definitely will be.Amanda Cupples, general manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb, said of the list: "Our trending destinations show that travel this year is likely to be a little different, with many using a summer closer to home to explore lesser-known rural destinations in addition to the well-loved favourites."Check out the top 10, including pretty coastal spots in Devon, Cornwall and North Yorkshire, in this slideshow.St Clears, PembrokeshireThis small town on the River Tâf is something of a hidden gem in South Wales.Forest of Dean, GloucestershireThis ancient forest offers 42 square miles of peaceful woodland to explore. Popular villages located around the forest include Brockhampton, Alvington and Lydbrook.Clovelly, DevonWith its cute cobbled high street, traditional buildings and stunning views of the Bristol Channel, it's easy to see why this Devon town is a staycation favourite.Bosham, West SussexThis coastal village on England's south coast has its own, very charming harbour.Primrose Valley, Filey, North YorkshireHome to one of the UK's best-rated beaches, this is definitely a destination on the rise.Mullion, CornwallThis picturesque Cornish fishing village has its own uninhabited island which is home to large colonies of seabirds. Cawsand, CornwallLocated on the Rame Peninsula, which is often called "the forgotten corner of Cornwall", this village remains a bit of an undiscovered gem... for now.Noss Mayo, DevonLocated just six miles from Plymouth (and its handy train station), this tiny village is considered one of Devon's prettiest. Saunton, Devon This Devon village is known for its sizeable beach, Saunton Sands, which is where Robbie Williams shot his iconic "Angels" video.East Wittering, West SussexLocated just 60 miles from London, this West Sussex village is especially popular with the surfing community. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
Despite the unappetising, gnarly appearance of oysters, their primeval, necrotic-looking shells are of course considered to contain edible utopia. In the west coast of Denmark, wild oysters fuelled Viking rampages and were used as currency before coins were around. King Frederick II, who ruled around the same time as Tudor King Henry VIII, was so fond of the molluscs that anyone who dared pick them, depriving him, was subject to the death penalty – a law that was only abolished in the 1980s. In recent times, oysters have been successfully marketed as a supposed aphrodisiac and the ultimate protein supplement, not to mention a sophisticated and decadent food fix. Given the considerable cost at which every creamy, metallic-flavoured slurp comes, an oyster free-for-all excursion sounds like a great idea.
Major spoilers and descriptions of violence are ahead. Amazon Prime Video’s Them ends to the tune of Nina Simone’s “To Be Young, Gifted and Black.” The first season of the horror anthology’s heroes, the Emory family, line up proudly in front of their suburban L.A. home. Dad Henry (Ashley Thomas) may be down a finger, mum Lucky (Deborah Ayorinde) may have narrowly escaped a lobotomy, and their daughters (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Melody Hurd) may be forever traumatised — but they’re all still standing. That theme — of unshakeable fortitude — is the final message the Emorys telegraph as they deliberately stare into Them’s camera, in the face of the racist mob surrounding their house. This parting visual should feel triumphant. Instead, it’s infuriating — a faux empowerment paean that refuses to reckon with the buffet of white supremacist trauma built by Them over 10 episodes. The issues with Them’s ending goes back to season 1’s penultimate episode, “Day 9.” The chapter follows flashback episode “Covenant II.” When we check back in with the Emorys, it feels as if multiple scenes of connective tissue between “Day 9” and its timeline predecessor “Night,” Them’s seventh episode, are missing. Lucky is trapped in a mental hospital after Henry finds the corpse of their murdered son Chester in a box. It’s a macabre reveal — but not a crime. The doctor in charge of Lucky’s mental hospital, Frances Moynihan (Kate McNeil), confirms authorities do not believe Lucky killed her child. Therefore, there is no real reason to keep her locked up, or for Lucky’s daughters to say they believe their mum harmed Chester. Still, Lucky remains in a psychiatric hold, and the Emory girls suspect their mother of heinous misdeeds. With Lucky sequestered, the Emorys’ racist neighbours capitalise on the opportunity to terrorise her family members. Marty (Pat Healy) and Roger (Zack Daly) beat Henry, hold him at gunpoint, and clip off one of his fingers. The entire time, the threat of sexual assault hangs in the air against eldest Emory daughter Ruby as the men mention how “grown” she is; in the Them premiere, Compton’s racist dads panic about the idea of Ruby, a child, tempting their white sons at school. The men claim their abuse has a righteous purpose — the recovery of missing white woman Betty Wendell (Alison Pill) — but it’s simply unmitigated racist hate and paranoia made actions. The already sickening situation escalates when Marty and Roger become displeased with Henry’s answers (they were always going to be displeased with Henry’s answers). The white men drag Henry into the basement and attempt to lynch him in front of his daughters. It is likely one of the most upsetting and unnecessary scenes you will see in 2021, if not your lifetime. The finale, “Day 10,” fails to mesh the true-to-life terror of the Emorys’ neighbours with the supernatural white supremacy that is also haunting the family home. Ruby heaves a hatchet into one of her father’s white assailants, killing him. Over at the mental hospital, Lucky bashes racist Dr. Monyhan’s skull in to save herself (and the other black women in Moynihan’s “care”). At this point in the series, Henry, afflicted by the otherworldly manipulation of Hiram Epps (Supernatural demon Christopher Heyerdahl), has already shot a police officer to death. It is difficult to watch the minutes tick down on “Day 10” and not fixate on how the Emorys will escape violent retribution for these self-defence killings. As Them takes great pains to prove, there is little justice, or understanding, for Black people in America — especially in this slice of America. The finale ignores its own vicious pillar, turning its attention away from the discord on Palmer Drive and towards the terror inside the Emory house. Lucky arrives home and lights a fire perimeter with a psychic power she hadn’t previously possessed. In earlier episode “Covenant II,” viewers see a similar flicker of ability in Martha (Nona Parker Johnson), the pregnant Black woman in the flashback instalment. Yet, Them never takes the time to make a concrete connection between Martha and Lucky at any time over its 10 episodes. Inside the house, Lucky must help her family step away from the violent indignities inflicted upon them by Hiram. Gracie is abused by an imaginary teacher; Ruby imagines being choked to death and actually bloodies her hands on shards of glass; Henry is forced to rewatch “film” of his wife’s rape and his son’s murder by unrepentant racists. It is unclear why Them believes it is essential to show us the extensive brutalisation of Black bodies once again, when there is so much plot to wrap up (no one even knows Betty was actually kidnapped and killed by the milkman). In one last gasp to add more inexplicable “twists” to Them, Lucky enters the basement for a final showdown with Hiram. She rebuffs his attempt to trap her in the dark forever and screams “I see you” at Hiram repeatedly, banishing him to hell. Considering the prime placement and intense music, this moment should be meaningful. But that supposedly integral phrase — “I see you!” — has never been uttered in Them before. It holds no meaning or bearing in this series. Why those, of all the words in the world, are what finally defeats Hiram is a quickly discarded mystery. The last time the audience sees Hiram, his spirit is burning in the basement. Although Hiram has been eliminated, there is still the matter of the angry white mob outside of the house, the multiple killings the Emorys committed to survive, and the reveal of Betty’s fate — all subjects Them has asked viewers to care about. “Day 10’s” closing sequence drops each of these threads entirely and purposefully. The Emorys leave the house on Palmer Drive and come face-to-face with their enraged neighbours and three police officers, who are on the other side of the fire barrier Lucky (somehow) magically enacted. The cops have their guns pulled and trained on the Emorys. Despite the intensity of the fire, the officers could still easily shoot through it to kill the Emorys, after everything they have been through. Them does not grapple with the fatalistic sadness of that reality or work to give its protagonists a shred of hope. It plays “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” and urges Henry, Lucky, Ruby, and Gracie to pose for the camera like they’ve just pulled off the greatest Fast and the Furious heist in history. But their lives are still in danger, and there is no clear route for escape. After all that fight, their future could still be cut down in the middle of the street. This kind of demoralising horror is the furthest image Miss Simone had in mind when she sang, “Oh what a lovely precious dream,” a few seconds into “Young, Gifted, and Black.” If you have experienced sexual violence of any kind and need help or support, please visit Rape Crisis or call 0808 802 9999. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Black Film School Wants To Diversify The CanonSelah & The Spades Is About Teens Being TeensStranger Things' Caleb McLaughlin Is All Grown Up
Things seem to be going well between Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker. Two months after making their relationship status Instagram official, we have an important Friday update: Barker just went and got himself a “Kourtney” tattoo. To celebrate her boyfriend’s very permanent tribute, Kardashian posted a photo of Barker’s fresh piece to her Instagram feed. Across the musician’s chest, “Kourtney” is seen inked in a large cursive-script font overlaying his existing body art. For her part, Kardashian included her hand in the closeup image of the tattoo, showing off another manicure with romantic undertones: red French tips with cherry hearts. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) In addition to the grid post, Kardashian gave Barker a shoutout on her Instagram Stories, telling fans that the former Blink-182 drummer sometimes braids her hair. While nobody can say for sure what will happen next with this relationship, its trajectory sure is sweet. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Justin & Hailey Bieber Get Matching Peach TattoosAdam Levine Shows Off A Fresh Leg Sleeve TattooVanessa Got A New "Mambacita" Tattoo To Honor Gigi
At just after 9.15pm each weeknight, I hear a familiar sound from outside the window of my north London flat. The gentle whine of the locomotive pulling the Caledonian Sleeper as it passes through Camden Town a few minutes after its departure from Euston station. Sometimes I open the blind and look down to the cutting below, watching the dark green metal snake, 13-carriages long, as it begins its journey north. During the first lockdown, I would ponder who was travelling, who was permitted to make the overnight journey to Dunkeld and Birnam, Dalwhinnie or Aviemore. Now I view the train’s nightly passing as something reassuring, a symbol of continuity in confusing times. Not even Covid-19 can stop the London to Inverness night express. The last time I took a sleeper was on Jan 1 2020, part of a journey from Vienna to eastern Slovakia. An unprepossessing suburban shuttle carried me across the Austrian frontier to Bratislava’s Soviet-era railway terminus, its main hall dominated by an elaborate mural showing workers being freed from their chains. The smell of gently sweating hot dogs from a würstelstand hung heavily in the air; a small group of passengers sat on the plastic benches around the digital departure board, surrounded by their suitcases, overpacked plastic bags and sleeping children.