Bukola Ayodele, 25, earns $210,000 a year as a software engineer in New York City. That income includes her base salary, bonus and equity. She doesn’t touch the equity and lives off of her base salary and bonus. Now, she wants to inspire more women, and especially black women, to join her in tech. To help fill the gap, she started a YouTube channel called The Come Up (@The Come Up) to provide black women and other women of color with the resources and advice she wished existed when she first considered pursuing a career in tech.
This is the latest installment of Millennial Money, which profiles people across the U.S. and details how they earn and spend their money.
Read more about Bukola’s budget breakdown here:
She attended Columbia University where she studied political science. She graduated in 2016 with $7,000 in student loan debt, thanks to combination of needs-based financial aid and holding a job throughout college, as well as financial support from her grandmother and her parents, who also took out some loans. She paid off her loans by the beginning of 2018.
Growing up, “we had a saying that you could either be a doctor or a lawyer or a disgrace,” she says, and after college, she expected to go into law. But it didn’t take her long to realize she wasn’t passionate about the work.
Computer science, though, had appealed to her since she took an introductory course in undergrad. After researching careers online, Ayodele quit her job in compliance in 2017 to attend a three-month engineering retreat at the New York City-based RECURSE Center to refresh her programming skills.
Leaving behind a steady job is never an easy call, especially when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, like Ayodele was. While the retreat itself was free, she saved around $6,000 in the months before she quit her job. Making that career change is what inspired her to start taking her finances more seriously: She watched YouTube videos, listened to podcasts and cut her expenses down as far as she could to save up.
Ayodele is a fan of the FIRE — financial independence, retire early — movement, and one of her goals is to earn enough off of her investments that all of her monthly costs are covered.
To that end, she contributes $1,583 each month to max out her 401(k) contributions for the year (those were her contributions in 2019 when this story was reported; the 2020 individual contribution limit increased slightly from $19,000 to $19,500), and invests an additional $4,000 a month in a Vanguard brokerage account. She also contributes around $42 a month to a health savings account.
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Living On $210K A Year In Brooklyn | Millennial Money