How My New Six-figure Income As A Software Engineer Has Changed Our Lives (Numbers Revealed)

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Hi all, after almost a year and a half since I started teaching myself how to code, I have formally accepted an offer to work as a Software Engineer at the company where I did my apprenticeship. As the title suggests, my income has jumped to six figures, a number I never thought would be possible even a couple of months ago.

We now have two software engineers in the FAF household. Both Mr. FAF and I are very happy about my new job. But we have also been thinking a lot about the major changes the job will bring to our lives.

My goal of sharing this news is twofold. First, many of you have been asking me about my software engineer apprenticeship and how my new career change is coming along. I want to give you an update on my job situation and how we are coping during the pandemic.

Second, I want to encourage you (if you haven’t done so already) to give coding a try since it’s such a rewarding field to be in.

In personal finance, we talk a lot about saving and investing our money. But if we learn a new skill to increase our income, I think it will definitely boost our saving rates and investment.  I know Kris at Chronicles of A Father with Cents is now learning how to code to change careers. I am super excited for Kris and can’t wait to see hime make the switch to a new field.

With the new job and the new income, Mr. FAF and I have seen and will see major changes to our lives. And I will tell you all about them in this post.

Related: What’s It Like Being Married to A Software Engineer

Finances

1. Income

The biggest change to our lives with my new job is that our income has now reached a new high, more than anything we’ve ever had before.

Our combined income, including base salaries, bonuses, stocks, and other benefits are about $380,000/year.

On November 20, 2017, I wrote a post about how our income had increased by 128% after Mr. FAF got a job as a Software Engineer. And in July 2020, I’m very happy that our income has again experienced another substantial increase.

This new income will allow us to continue maxing out our 401(k)s, save more (most likely for our second house), take better care of our parents, and gives us peace of mind that if something happens, we will still be able to wearther it financially.

2. Spending

Some of you might be wondering if we will experience lifestyle inflation due to this jump in income. My answer is no. I want to maintain our current lifestyle since I’m comfortable with it. I have no desire to buy anything we don’t need since I’m trying to pursue a minimalist lifestyle (and to avoid clutter).

As for Mr. FAF, after I formally accepted the offer, he went on a spending spree on Amazon and purchased a series of random items we don’t even need, such as a 3-in-1 charger, shower curtains, and pencil holders. But I let him have his fun since we can’t go out to celebrate the news.

I did tell him, however, to slow down on his purchases since I’m always the one who has to clean the house and get rid of whatever it is that he brings home and no longer uses/likes.

RelatedFighting About A $2 Trash Can – How Hubby & I Welcomed 2019

3. Investment

Our investment so far consists of the following:

– Our maxed out 401(k)s

– Stocks from Mr. FAF’s company

A paid-off house

– Stocks from my company (will be added)

With my new job, we will add stocks from my company which will be vested after a year. As you can tell, our investment portfolio is pretty simple. Some might even say it’s not diverse enough.

As we have more cash in hand, we will look into investing in more stocks. But for now, we are more focused on saving for our next house, and we keep the extra cash in a money market account.

4. People’s reaction to my new job

Before I made the career change, whenever I told others Mr. FAF was a Software Engineer at a big tech company, people would have the following reactions:

— “Oh!”

— “OHHHH”

— “Oh wow”

— “WOW”

— “That’s amazing!”

— “Whoo fancy!”

— “He must be making really good money then.”

Now that I have gotten a Software Engineer offer, below are the reactions I’ve gotten:

— “Wow. You must have a really nice jump in income then.”

— “Oh if you don’t mind me asking, what does the compensation look like? You don’t have to tell me the details. You can just tell me the range.” – Translation: “I want to know the details.”

— “You guys must be monetarily rolling.”

— “Nice! Now you two can retire early.”

— “You two must be doing really well financially.”

Whenever I tell others I have chaged careers, I will get “Congratulations!” and then a comment or two about my/our income. I am still getting used to people’s new reactions to my new job as opposed to the lukewarn responses I used to get about my previous job in the nonprofit sector.

RelatedHow To Deal With Spousal Envy

Life changes

1. Moving to West coast

You read that right. After seven years of living in Washington DC, Mr. FAF and I are thinking about uprooting our family to move to the West coast.

My new job will be based in the Washington state. One requirement of the contract is that I will be relocating to the new city.

Currently, I can work from home in DC due to the shelter-in-place order. But once the campus is open, I will need to be physically in the office.

No one knows for sure when it will be. I hope that we can stay in DC at least until the Covid situation subsides and there will be a vaccine for the public.

2. Housing

This photo is for demonstration purposes only and is not our house 😉

As for housing, we plan to rent a two-bedroom apartment to see how we like the new city and whether we want to stay in Washington long-term.

Mr. FAF wants my in-laws to come stay with us for a year when the travel ban on China is lifted, so we might need to rent a three-bedroom apartment or a house to acommodate their stay.

We have a paid-off house in the DC area. One the one hand, I want to rent out the house and hire a property manager to manage it for us since we will be half way across the country. We will be able to bring in about $2,500/mo in rental income.

On the other hand, Mr. FAF wants to leave the house as is so that we won’t have to get rid of our furniture, and we can move back to DC if things don’t work out.

Renting the house to someone else means we will need to move all of our furniture and belongings to storage, which will also cost money.

Also, if the property manager is not good and if something happens, it will be a headache for us to manage the rental out of state.

In the future, when we decide where we want to live for the next few years, we will consider selling the house or just keeping it as an investment.

RelatedHow We Paid Off Our Mortgage In Less Than 4 Years

3. Mr. FAF’s job

Mr. FAF originally didn’t want to move since he likes his team and feels settled in the DC area. However, due to Covid, his company lets everyone work from home until October 2 and might extend remote work after that.

Mr. FAF said he can stay with the current team and work remotely. If it doesn’t work out, he can switch teams since his company has an office in Washington state.

4. Kids and schools

What we are most concerned most about is our kids and their schools. Baby F1 is now five and is registered at an elementary school in our area. Baby F2 just got off the waitlist for a pre-K near our house.

At the moment, Baby F1 has the option to attend school virtually. But when we move to the new city, we will need to make sure we can enroll them in schools so that we can work.

RelatedUpdate on My Software Engineer Apprenticeship & How We Are Coping with Covid-19

5. Friends in the new city 

Over the years, we have developed great relationships with some friends and neighbors in the DC area. When we move, we will most likely need to start over and create new social circles.

However, since Mr. FAF has been talking to some of his sister teams in Washington online, and I have also met new people at my new job, I hope we will be able to maintain such relationships and meet new friends in the new city.

I also look forward to living closer to my blog sis, Lily at The Frugal Gene, and hang out with her more often.

Conclusion

I am so happy to be able to share our life update with you all. It’s been a long journey learning how to code on my own.

There have been times when I seriously doubted my decision to change careers and wondered if I was even good enough to learn coding. But I persisted knowing that there was nothing else that would make me happier than being able to code for a career.

With the new hobby, I have been able to learn a new skill, change to a rewarding career, and add more financial stability to our lives. And I believe that if I can make the career change into programming, anyone else can as long as they persist and put in the work.

Seven years ago, both Mr. FAF and I were still two poor graduate students pulling in about $40,000/year. Mr. FAF once lived in a converted garage for $230/month to save money for our family. We’ve done some crazy weird things to save money.

Now it’s still hard for me to believe that we are making $380,000/year. Thinking about how much we’ve gone through together and how far we’ve come makes me appreciate everything that we currently have. It also reaffirms my believe in the value of hard work and pursuing our dreams.

Related

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30 thoughts on “How My New Six-figure Income As A Software Engineer Has Changed Our Lives (Numbers Revealed)”

  • Congratulations! You have sacrificed to reach this goal. I think you will eventually be happy in your new location and wonder why you ever hesitated about moving. Of course there will be a lot of decisions ahead.

    • Thank you, Susan! We have been thinking about the weather in WA a lot too. We will definitely need to get used to it 🙂

  • Wow, that’s huge news! The absolute hardest part (outside of all the word to get there) is getting that first job. After that doors open up everywhere! Do you know where in the city you want to live?

    • Thank you, Adam! I totally agree. It was so hard for me to get that first job. That’s why I thought about doing an apprenticeship. No one wanted to take risks on a career-changer with no experience or no CS degree like me, which is totally understandable. As for the city, I will write about it in more detail when the timing is right 😉

  • Congratulations on your new job!
    Since you have expressed interest in investing in individual stocks, I recommend you check out the stock study tools at Better Investing and/or join an investment club. I have been following their principles for just about 30 years now to great success.

    https://www.betterinvesting.org/

  • I’m thrilled for you! Congratulations. I know leaving friends in the DC area will be hard, but you’ll make new friends with the kids going to school and having playdates.

    • Aww thank you for being so nice, Janet! I hope we will be able to build our new social circles in the new city too!

  • Congratulations! You deserve this! You’ve both worked so hard, but you especially, being a mother and wife AND having a career– I’m very happy for you. Your blogs was one of my favorites to read. Very inspiring.

  • Congratulations on the new job! I had been wondering how things were going with the switch to coding, and I am happy for you to hear things are going so well. I hope the move to the West Coast (whenever that happens) works out well for you.

  • I wrote to you a while ago to say that hard work ALWAYS pays off and frankly you have done ultra hard work so YOU absolutely deserve every cent of your new income.Well done,congratulations and best possible wishes for such an impressive work effort.

  • Congratulations! It’s exciting to see more women in the computer science field. We’re in WA state as well, recently retired so we our in the suburbs of Seattle with our 3 year old and a 4 month old. There’s a good FI community here. If you have questions about the area, let me know!

    • Hi Rosie, it’s great to hear that you are in WA and that there’s an FI community in the area. I will definitely try to get involved with the community and will reach out to you if I have questions. Thank you!

  • CONGRATS on changing careers — that’s a Herculean task, and it sounds like you’re excited about your new job which is what matters most. Regarding the house, if you’re not sure whether you will return or not, I wouldn’t sell it b/c there are high transaction costs to selling and then buying back in. Storage costs will be miniscule compared to two sets of closing costs, so if you need more time to be sure, storage isn’t a bad way to go. As for renting it out, one concern I would have is the wear and tear — tenants are much harder on a property than owners, and since you may want to return, you may want to leave it vacant to preserve the condition. It does depend on how long you want to give yourself to decide since $2,500/ mo is significant.

  • Congrats Ms. FAF on landing a software engineering position up in Washington State!! So happy for you that your journey in a career change has brought you happiness and more income. All those hours learning to code, doing projects, networking with people in the field and doing your apprenticeship has paid off.
    This is a big move for you and your family to move cross country so hopefully it will be smooth as possible (of course that’s if you decide to move for the long term). My two cents on your place in DC, leave it vacant for now until you guys decide if want to live in Washington State long term so you will have to fallback on it in case you decide to move back to DC.
    As for me, I finished my career paths(DS and WD) on Codecademy a few weeks ago and now doing some projects that I’m starting on GitHub. Also I’m updating my resume to include my projects and plan to apply to jobs later in August. And to keep my mind fresh for coding, I’m watching Python, JS, and React tutorials on edX and Coursera. So hopefully I’ll land something this fall. Wish me luck!!
    Wishing you all the best during your career and family transition!

    • Hi Kris, I’m SO happy you are done with the two paths on Codecademy. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to hearing the good news soon!

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