Living On $120K A Year In The D.C. Area | Millennial Money

Living On $120K A Year In The D.C. Area | Millennial Money


My military experience really
opened my eyes a lot. And I’m from a
suburban town in Pennsylvania where everyone is
the same. Being in the military, you
meet people from all different walks of life,
you get to understand different cultures and
share different values that you wouldn’t normally
share unless you live in a big city. I’m Garrett Ramala, I’m 24
years old, I make $120,000 a year and I
live in the Washington, D.C. area. I work as
an information systems and financial consultant. I’m
a defense contractor for a company
called TITANONEZERO. In my junior year of
high school, I found out about a personal finance
class and everything just clicked. I’m like, you
could go into a profession that you can
learn more about your financial situation and also
help other people? And that was really
what planted the seed. And ever since then, I
mean, I have been trying to learn everything
I can. So whenever you go
into the U.S. armed forces, you
receive the V.A. home loan, which is
a guaranteed program that allows you to purchase a
property as your primary residence for zero
money down. You don’t have to
pay for private mortgage insurance when there’s not
20 percent equity in the property. You don’t
have to have those additional payments, which is
a really nice benefit. And you get a
really good interest rate, which is really competitive
in terms of conventional financing. I did learn over the past
year, I mean, I’m young so I can have roommates. I actually enjoy
the company. So this year, you know,
I bought a two-bedroom and the goal is to
always have a roommate because one, I’m never home. And two, you know, if I
could provide one of my friends a place to stay
at, you know, at a cheaper price than what
they’re getting in D.C., then I’m going to do
that and help them out. And at the same time, it
helps me out as well. My plan is to not
be here forever, but to continue purchasing properties,
pulling equity out of other properties and
using the tax laws to really get a sizeable
real estate portfolio that I could have. Everyone
always says like, “Hey, you spend $1,500 to go out
to eat all the time?” And, you know, being a
business major and like kind of understanding economics,
it’s really an opportunity cost. So, I will
pay a premium to be able to eat out for
convenience and not have to travel back home, especially
in the D.C. area where, you know, traffic
could be, you know, two hours. So if I spend a little
bit more money, I could have a dinner with some
friends and have some social life instead of coming
home to make a grilled cheese sandwich. I really get to spend
more time doing things that I love and not worrying
about washing the dishes, which is the
worst chore ever. Even with a dishwasher. And just, you know,
spending time going grocery shopping and cooking
and prepping. I am the worst cook ever. The point of having passive
income is to be able to have it rented and not
have to worry about it. That’s the
long-term goal. And then you also
have the debt repayment. So when a tenant is
in the property, they’re paying off your mortgage. So over the course of
10 or 15 years, you’re building up all this equity
in a property that you could later take out
and invest into other properties and other
properties and other properties. And we came together and
decided that we were going to turn it
into a rental property. So we spent a lot of time,
a lot of money and we eventually got it to
where it was rented. Essentially, you can move into
the home and just start making your
mortgage payments. And with both
of the properties… Yes, you know, after all
the expenses are paid, they make only a
few dollars a month. $300, when everything’s
added up. But you have to
take into account the appreciation that goes
into place. So, for example, the
Alexandria property, it’s actually located in
North Old Town. And if you have watched
the news lately, Amazon has come in
to Crystal City. And just over the past
year, the property values have gone up 20 percent. So that was pretty good. I joined the Marine Corps
because I had graduated high school and fell
on my face. I started college, I
took online classes and didn’t understand the
workload behind it. I ended up working some
odd jobs and just really fell on my face, you
know, in terms of becoming an adult. So my my dad
was in the Marine Corps. I found out about
the education benefits and opportunities and the
ability to travel. And I also found out that
I could do finance work in the Marine Corps. So
I ended up enlisting. And I really never
wanted to exercise. So being in the Marine
Corps, I mean, you know, you’re taught, you know,
exercise is a lifestyle. So I spent, you know… It became a part of
my life, which was pretty good. A lot of changes have
happened in the last year that has required me to
buy furniture or purchase renovation materials, and a
lot of that was financed but with
short-term debt. You know, credit cards. Instead of putting more into
a savings account or into a
retirement account. My main focus now is to
get the debt repaid as quickly as possible. And, you know, that’s
gonna be possible because of the increased income that
I have gotten over the last few months. I don’t
want to put in money to a retirement account that
gets like 10 percent interest, given the market
returns, if I’m paying 20 percent interest
on a credit card. That’s just, you
know, unwise. So the biggest thing is
just getting the debt repaid. Most of it has
been interest free, which is great, but it is at
that point now where I kind of have to focus
on the debt repayment. A lot of the schools I
was talking to, they said, “Why are you doing this?”
And I’m like, well, it makes sense in my head. You know, if I can go
and I spend my weekends at UVA and spend my
weekdays at American University, I’m learning much,
much more quickly. I want to be a CFO, and
I think CFO s in the future really have to know
how to use I.T. to create business value and be
able to use IT to talk finance
and accounting. The military programs
are really good. I am currently using
the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, which is a
Veterans Affairs sponsored program that kind of
pays the tuition. There’s a bunch of stipulations
with it, but for the most part, as of last
year, I had $46,000 of tuition paid for at
American University and during my time at school
I received $ 2,436 every month. That is a
tax free entitlement for housing. So I could
use that for anything. I mean normally most folks
will go to school full-time and not
work full-time. But in my case, where I
could work and kind of go to school, you know, I
get to have that benefit to use for other things. So with my girlfriend
and I do… She lives in Seattle and
I live in D.C.. You know, everyone is always
like , “It’s long distance.” But it’s not too
bad because we get to see each other like once
a month or once every other month. I do
want to get to the point where I don’t
have to just live in one area. I could just
travel say to Seattle for two weeks and then
travel back to D.C. or to say Austin, Texas
or, you know, California somewhere and just kind of
spread myself out and and to do that, you know,
I have to focus on the real estate and buying
real estate in different areas. I think
I live nice. I mean, much more than,
you know, where I came from. But I mean, I
could be more frugal. But the thing is, I
enjoy the lifestyle that I have. And, you know, at the
end of the day, all the stuff that I try
to purchase, it’s not like I’m just, you know, traveling
every day or on experiences. You know, I
try to buy things that’ll be around in 20
years or in 30 years.

77 thoughts on “Living On $120K A Year In The D.C. Area | Millennial Money

  1. If I earned that type of money I would for sure be doing the exact same thing which is gaining rental properties. He's so young and does so great. This is motivation to help me level up my game.

  2. What’s your budget breakdown? Share your story with us at [email protected] for a chance to be featured in a future installment. We are especially interested in hearing from first-time homebuyers in San Francisco, Denver, Boston and Nashville.

  3. I make $288k day trading forex. Literally easy af and work from home. I barely graduated hs and thank god I learned out trading when I was 18. I’m only 20 now and its pretty humbling. Proof @tommen.yang on insta

  4. 0% down on housing, makes 120k, but still has ~$50k in cc debt? I'm a little confused how he got into that position, and where the remainder of his savings goes. If hes guaranteeing 10% market return on retirement, wouldn't that make it a better investment than his properties? Guess we'll have Graham break it down in 48 hours.

  5. Spending $1300 a month eating out is outrageous. You literally have to each breakfast lunch and dinner out every day.

  6. Guy was smart and chose an mos that translated skills well into jobs. Also most likely went to school while he was in. Smart dude I’m having Uncle Sam pay my mortgage too

  7. I always surprised how you Usa ppl so lucky!i mean 1300 eating out 200 grocery shoping. Men you eat a lot. Also rent out 1 room for1k eh

  8. This guy finds as many excuses as possible not to cook or make a damn sandwich for work. Doing dishes is hard? How about grow the hell up? You’re a marine, right? And can’t do dishes?

  9. This guy is really milking the government for all the benefits he can possibly get from spending one year traveling the world with the military. Buying multiple properties, getting multiple masters

  10. I wish my brother here would realize he can be a CFO right now, it's a matter of taking on the responsibility and learning as you go along. This was only something I learned through mergers and acquisitions and if he would stop studying to go into it, he would actually retire within this very new decade. Thanks for your service! I did 3 years Air Force here.

  11. Graham is actually gonna love it. Despite the fact that he spends 1300$ on food, he already has like 3 properties, while he is only 24. And! even this 1300$ he spend in order not to waste time on cooking and cleaning, I guess it is worth it. What is more, he literally goes the same path as Graham, save-buy house-rent it-repeat

  12. “The goal is to always have a roommate” spends $1500 mth on food.
    Translation: terrible with money and and doesn’t know how to be alone. Run ladies RUN!!!!

  13. This guy is kind of all over the place. He has some good habits and then other things I'm just shaking my head at. I live in dc and make half his income but am arguably doing better.

  14. I was just thinking of how it would be cool to see a service member/veteran on here! I would have volunteered! haha

  15. I hope he sees this comment. Eating out that much is so unhealthy. You’re not getting a balanced diet. Restaurant meals are dense in empty calories and have more added chemicals than most meals prepared at home. Try to cook at home more for your health not even for money’s sake. You may not feel the effects now, but in ten years your body’s gonna be hurting from your choices. You can even try meal subscription services that may be a least a little healthier. Health is wealth.

  16. This kid really needs a wife. If I was his wife I would do the shopping and the cooking, and we would have that cut in half.

  17. Glad they finally featured someone who's  been in the military, especially someone who used it to get ahead in a civilian career.  The GI Bill pays a lot in the DC area – I receive ~$2600/month for GI Bill benefits while attending school. Most vets use the GI Bill and the VA Loan for 0% down on a house.  There are some good benefits you can rake out of the military, but you definitely earn your keep over the years.  FYI he is probably paying a large amount of state income taxes and other misc. taxes on his condo – Maryland is horrible when it comes to taxes.  Maybe National Harbor is closer to his job, but Virginia is right across the bridge and doesn't murder you in taxes every year.  Curious why he chose National Harbor.

  18. I also live in the DC area and am a UVa alum! It's great he's tackling his credit card debt, though he'd probably knock it out way sooner if he cut back on food!

  19. Actually after watching this, I know so many messed up 24 years old, he is an overachiever, he is doing a lot of things right, yeah he has no savings, but he is doing after a second masters degree while employed full time, has rental properties, is mastering the debt repayment, and has goals and visions. I will look over the money your spending eating out, because if your that busy (and I've been that busy) you just don't have the time or energy for elaborate meals.

  20. He lives in Maryland at the National Harbor. You guys should really update the title and he should stop saying he’s in the Washington DC area 😒. Washington DC is a City!

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