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Our Family's Income Over the Years

As I mentioned in Why Am I doin This?, Mrs. Mom and I are now in a position to really take hold of our finances and face them head on. But how did we get to the point of thinking we could now be aggressive with our finances? Here's an overview of each job and the salaries for both Mrs. Mom and myself over the years. You might recall that we got married a month after I finished undergrad (Mrs. Mom was finishing her second year of vet school at this time), so we've been on this journey together from day one.

Alright, here are the numbers starting with me:

So let's dive a little deeper starting with my my journey. I graduated college and went straight into a great program with a big conglomerate. I knew nothing about negotiating, so I accepted the first offer they gave me, which I thought was fair. I won't talk about expenses in this post (I'll write another post detailing expenses), but Mrs. Mom and I got married 3 weeks before my official first day at work which meant getting an apartment, buying a new car (Mrs. Mom's old Accord died), and figuring out how to adult. Ok continuing the journey here, I got a "normal" 3% annual increase a year later, and in the summer of 2016, my role along with everyone else's at my facility was eliminated and I had the option to move to a couple of states with the same company but neither appealed to us, so my search started up again. On to Job 2, and I found a company in a different field that offered me $8,260 more per year than what I was making. That sounded great to me! Except that the new city we were moving to was also much more expensive than the city we lived in. I took the job, but continued to look at opportunities in my old industry and that's when Job 3 came into play. Job 3 wasn't a huge increase in pay, but it gave me a bump I liked and put me back in an industry I loved. I received a couple of annual increases of around 3% that eventually brought my salary up to $78,009. At this point, I started looking at opportunities in a different department with the same company and was able to negotiate a promotion that increased my base salary by 13% and brought me up to $88,500 for Job 4. I was so proud to stick to my plan and salary requirements even when at one point it seemed like I might lose out on the promotion; the hiring manager came back and gave me everything I asked for...whooo!

And then COVID hit and we were all sent home. This is the time when Mrs. Mom and I decided to look at our family (our first child had been born a year earlier) and made the decision to move back to the South and make it our "forever home" (although we still believe that we should never say never to other options). I was able to negotiate with my company to let me move and they gave me 6 months to try and find something else. Challenge accepted! I was offered Job 5 in 2020 and was surprised at the offer being 10% above my current salary, bringing me up to $98,000. It's probably good to mention that in 2018 I went back to school for my Master's degree part-time and finished it in 2021, which gave me another tool for negotiations. In 2022, I accepted Job 6 in a completely different industry, following what ended up being a very toxic work environment with Job 5. Job 6 was amazing! No salary increase here, in fact it was the same salary as Job 5 but had other perks like being fully remote, having unlimited vacation, etc. (oh the tech world). Now, because I was running away from Job 5, I didn't negotiate anything with Job 6 (shame on me), but I was happy and my mental health thanked me. Then the tech world went upside down at the end of 2022/early 2023 and I was lucky to have some contacts at different companies around me. Job 7 was exactly the role I was working towards at every one of my prior companies but the door had never truly opened. So in mid-2023, Job 7's offer came in and I negotiated hard. I knew that it was exactly the position I wanted, in a much safer industry than tech, but I also had nothing to lose at the time since I really was happy at Job 6. They offered me more than I was looking for and that's how my salary jumped up by 25% to $122,000 per year.

Okay, so I've jumped quite a bit since I started my career. Some of those jumps were not really my choice, others had to be made in order to fit in with our family goals, and others were made as opportunities opened and I decided the best thing to do for me and family was to take it! My mindset changed in 2016 when I received the news that my job was being eliminated from a company I legitimately thought could be my forever company. I realized I was nothing but a number and easily replaceable. Since then, I've always looked out for me and my family above all else and have made decisions based on that alone; and honestly I have no regrets. I think having experienced so many different cultures and companies so far has made me more flexible and allowed me to think differently than co-workers who have stayed put at the same company for years. Plus, it's allowed me to increase my salary by 110% in 8 years!

Ok, now on to Mrs. Mom:

So when Mrs. Mom and I got married, she was halfway through veterinary school (paying out of state tuition...ouch). She graduated in 2017 and with the news of my job being eliminated we looked at our hometown city and decided to move back north. She accepted a job as a veterinarian making $85,000 a year (bonus structure was interesting and based on commission so it fluctuated quite a lot). That first job was eliminated, but she was moved to a different hospital nearby. Luckily for us, that meant a higher salary because of the location which really started her off at $92,000. When we decided to move back to the South, she was able to transfer to another hospital without taking a pay cut. But just like me, she found herself in a really toxic environment and started thinking about long-term career goals. We made the decision as a couple that going back to school and pivoting to a different field might be beneficial, so in 2021 she was back to being a full-time student. 2021 also meant us welcoming our second child (and daycare costs skyrocketed!). Mrs. Mom was able to get an internship during the first summer with a great company that turned into a contracting position while she finished her last semester of school, so I guess it really wasn't $0 in income during 2022, but anyway. She had been hoping that that contracting position would turn into a full-time role, but the organization's budget wouldn't allow for it. So during her last semester, she went through the recruiting process with other companies and was extended an incredible offer for a rotational program in the pharmaceutical industry. Job 3 for Mrs. Mom turned into $130,000 salary, an increase of 41% from being a veterinarian with better hours!

And that brings us to today. We still have a ton of debt that we're working on and I plan on sharing those details in other posts, but I wanted to walk through our salary journey so far. It's been a crazy 8 years for us with multiple cities, multiple companies, the addition of 2 children, buying a house, daycare, 2 cats, and as if things weren't crazy enough adding a dog as well. Let me know about your own salary journeys, I'm always interested to hear and learn from others!

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