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Today: a family lawyer working in Law who makes $1,600,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on pacifiers.
Editor’s Note: This diary is from the Money Diary Archives and was submitted in June.
Occupation: Family Lawyer
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Joint Salary: $1,600,000 (My husband, K., makes $900,000 annually and I make $700,000)
Net Worth: Around $7,000,000. Along with stocks and investments, we own a townhouse in an up-and-coming suburb. We rent out this house and make about $2,500 in rent from it each month. The townhouse is completely paid off. We also own part of our family’s vacation home in Park City.
Debt: $0 (both K. and I. had full-ride academic scholarships. We have stayed debt-free our entire lives.)
Mortgage: $0 (Our house was completely paid off last year.)
Car Payment: $47.56 a month for our van, which is on a 36-month payment plan.
Kids: $5,000 a month (this includes our part-time nanny, extracurricular activities, subscriptions to ABCMouse and other learning apps)
Life Insurance and Car Insurance: $2,100
Medical Insurance: $127.50
Cell Phone and WiFi: $210
Subscriptions (Netflix, Disney+, Spotify Family, etc.): $50
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Absolutely. Growing up South Asian, I was always encouraged to attend university. I went to college for four years to get a double major in International Relations and Political Science and then went to law school for three years immediately after. My parents created a savings account for me when I was born which covered my undergraduate tuition. I ended up receiving a full-ride academic scholarship and used the money saved for my undergraduate degree to pay for both law school and my wedding.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My father was always open about money and taught me and my siblings about budgeting and personal finances. Both my parents came to the United States with not a lot of money and worked hard to save and create a great life for us. It was clear to us that if we wanted to have the lifestyle we grew up in, we would have to work hard, budget, and manage our finances intelligently.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was in high school and was a paid internship at a law firm. I honestly took the job as more a way of gaining experience for college applications, but looking back I’m grateful I learned how to manage work and school when I was younger. I worked all through my undergraduate as a cashier on campus to save for my graduate schooling and avoided student loans that way.
Did you worry about money growing up?
I didn’t worry about my parents’ finances, but I worried about mine. I saw how hard my parents worked to earn the salary they did, and it instilled an awareness in me that I couldn’t expect to live the way I was raised without working my ass off.
Do you worry about money now?
I still do! I mainly worry about how to manage money. I want to save money and save for my children and their futures, but also treat myself. I think I’ve achieved a good balance but it’s still a constant struggle to figure out how to budget for a big family, as well as my husband’s medical issues. As a cancer survivor, he has many health complications and there always seems to be another bill coming our way.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I was financially responsible for myself the minute I graduated from college. My parents weaned me off throughout college, slowly increasing the percentage of my living expenses I had to cover, which made the transition smooth. As for a financial safety net, we have about $200,000 in an emergency fund and work with a financial planner to budget for retirement.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I have not received any form of inheritance yet.
6 a.m. — Good morning! Our four-month-old has started sleeping through the night, and this feels like the most sleep I’ve had since high school. While I nurse the baby, K. wakes up the older kids (five kids ages 5-9). Our younger four (four months to age 3) don’t go to school yet. Once the baby is fed, I hand him to K. and get showered and dressed. I curl my hair and do my makeup (Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, Benefit Cakeless Concealer, Colourpop eyeshadow, Stila eyeliner, L’Oréal Mascara, and a NARS liquid lipstick).
7 a.m. — The kids are showered, dressed, and ready thanks to K. While he gets ready, I set the older kids up with breakfast (breakfast burritos and fruits) and then go upstairs to get the younger kids ready. Once all eleven of us are ready and fed, we clean up breakfast, get lunches packed, and head out the door. The older kids take the bus to elementary school and our nanny comes to watch the younger four.
9:30 a.m. — I’m at work (after a quick pitstop for Starbucks). My mornings usually consist of replying to emails, answering calls, and reviewing activity on recent cases. My assistant hands me my schedule for the day. Since I no longer handle litigation and divorce settlements (thank God), I deal more with managing the firm, supervising attorneys, and handling paperwork for adoptions. $4.65
12:30 p.m. — During my lunch break (sesame noodle bowls with tofu brought from home), I do some online shopping. The con of having big families (K. and I together have 12 siblings) is that there is permanently a birthday. As a result, I often stockpile items that are on sale so I’m not buying birthday gifts at full-price every other week. I catch a great deal on some Barbie toys that will work perfectly for some of my nieces. $47.68
2 p.m. — I meet with attorneys to talk about a difficult case coming in that involves domestic violence. Figuring out how to best approach this case ends up taking a few hours and I leave the office drained. Part of the reason I prefer to specialize in adoptions is to avoid the heart-wrenching issues that come with divorce.
4:30 p.m. — Home! Today’s my turn to take the older kids to sports and activities while the babies stay home with K. I cave and buy the kids In-N-Out since I don’t have time to make an after-school snack. Once the kids are dropped off, I head to the car to take some work calls. $21.97
6 p.m. — Dinner time! I feed the baby while simultaneously getting dinner ready. K. takes some of the kids out for a walk with our two dogs. While I get dinner (summer corn pasta with shrimp) ready, I also watch over homework and listen to NPR’s Code Switch podcast. Once the dog-walking crew is back, we eat and do scripture lessons. K. was raised Christian and I was raised Hindu. Rather than raise our kids strictly in a certain religion, we choose a theme every week (like “Honesty” or “Anger”) and find scriptures, stories, and lessons from both of our religions to share with the kids. It’s worked great for our family and has allowed us to share the positive aspects of both of our beliefs.
7:30 p.m. — Bedtime for the littles! K. and I tag-team getting the kids in pajamas, reading bedtime stories, and tucking them in. Once they’re asleep, we head back down to spend some time playing board games with the older kids. It’s also the first of the month, so we do donations! Instead of giving our kids allowance, our school-age kids earn $50 a month to donate to a charity of their choices. Between the five kids and K. and I, there’s $350 in donations per month. It’s always fun to see what charities the kids pick and to have age-appropriate conversations with them about social issues going on. $350
8:30 p.m. — Time to get the older kids in bed! By the time the older kids are brushed, in pajamas, and tucked in, it’s time for the baby’s last feeding. I nurse him and then settle down to watch Queer Eye with K. We both have our laptops open while watching to get some work done, but it’s still nice to just sit down for a second. Once we’re done watching, we get ready for bed and (insert word of choice).
Daily Total: $424.30
5:30 a.m. — I wake up to a very hungry baby. It’s Saturday today, which means we don’t have the chaos of getting kids ready for school. Since I’m up anyway, I head downstairs to start making homemade cinnamon rolls once the baby is fed. K. eventually gets up and joins me downstairs.
7 a.m. — Kids are up and cinnamon rolls are ready! I used the one-hour cinnamon roll recipe from Gimme Some Oven, and they win the seal of approval from my hungry children. We get the kids showered and ready so we can get errands done. Saturdays are filled with soccer games in the afternoon, so we try and get all of our groceries done in the morning.
10 a.m. — First stop of the day is Costco. We get bread, tortillas, eggs, milk, shredded cheese, fruits, vegetables, meat, salad mix, cereal, and some other things I can’t remember. I also stock up on some shampoo and lotion since they’re on sale. Five of our kiddos are girls so we go through shampoo VERY quickly. We also head to Trader Joe’s after and grab some frozen food, snacks, and bagels. $294.53
12:30 p.m. — We feed the kids sandwiches from home in between their soccer games, and try and keep the ones not playing entertained with phones (you gotta do what you gotta do) and the playground. I cave and end up taking some of the younger kids to Target with me to buy some school supplies and baby Tylenol. $36.42
4:30 p.m. — Soccer is finally done! We take the kids back home and make vegan crunchwraps (Pinch of Yum recipe) for snack. While K. keeps the kids busy with homework and piano practice, I sneak upstairs to get some work done while nursing the baby. I have to go into court Monday for an adoption to be finalized, which means lots of last-minute questions from my clients. Once my work is done, I head back downstairs to play with the kids.
6:30 p.m. — K. and I are headed on a date night for dinner and drinks with some friends. I change into a dress and do my makeup with some nicer products (Bobbi Brown stick foundation, Tarte Shape Tape concealer, Too Faced eye primer, KKW Beauty eyeshadow, Tarte eyeliner, Milani bronzer, Huda Beauty contour, and Maybelline liquid lipstick). While I get ready, K. preps a pan of enchiladas for the kids’ dinner. I do babysitting trade-offs with my neighbor who has a similar number of kids, so it doesn’t end up costing me anything.
7:30 p.m. — Dinner is so good! We try out a new Italian restaurant downtown and the food is amazing. I get chicken marsala, a salad, and tiramisu. I contemplate having some wine but decide against it so I don’t have to pump and dump. We end up staying out a little later than planned, so I have my mom pick the kids up from my neighbor’s and stay at my house with them. $56.78
12 a.m. — I head home and thank my neighbor for watching the kids so last-minute. I quickly remember to Venmo my sister for an anniversary present she’s buying my parents before heading to bed. K. and I have sex and then fall asleep. $25
Daily Total: $412.73
6 a.m. — I get up with early with baby. I nurse him while answering some emails, and then head downstairs to make some tea and get breakfast going. Once breakfast (a Southern-ish biscuits and gravy casserole) is in the oven, I give the baby to K. so I can go upstairs and get ready. I get dressed, straighten my hair, and put on some tinted moisturizer, mascara, and brow gel. By the time I’m ready, the kids are up and hungry, as always.
7:30 a.m. — I get all the kids fed and showered and we get started on Hair Day. K. gets the boys’ hair cut with an at-home kit (best money we ever spent). I get the girls’ hair ready and prepped. Our kids are part Japanese, part Spaniard, and part Indian, so we have just about every hair type in our family. Between Not Your Mother’s Naturals products, Aussie curl products, and Hairitage products, I’m able to get everyone from the 1A girls to the 3C girls happy.
11 a.m. — K. helps the kids get their chores done while I get lunch going. Our amazing housekeeper is coming tomorrow so I’m not super worried about getting the house very clean. Lunch today is Indian food — dal makhni, cucumber raita, and chicken biryani. My kids have a fairly good spice tolerance, so I love making Indian and Middle Eastern food. It’s fairly economical and healthy, not to mention drop-dead delicious.
2 p.m. — K. takes the other eight kids to the library while I have a kid date. One of my older daughters has been having a hard time lately with some mean friends, so I decide to take her out for a pedicure. We have a great time, and I’m glad I got a chance to spend an hour making sure my daughter knows how loved she is! $46.14
4:30 p.m. — We make homemade Dole Whips with the kids (frozen pineapple, pineapple juice, almond milk, and vanilla ice cream) and read with them in the playroom before we need to get ready. Sunday nights are for dinners with all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins, which is always such a fun way to end the weekend. While K. gets the kids washed up, I do my makeup (Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse, Benefit concealer, Charlotte Tillbury eyeliner, Juvia’s Place eyeshadow, and a Kylie Cosmetics gloss). I quickly nurse the baby before we head to my parents’ house.
6 p.m. — K. and the kids walk to my parents’ house while I grab two gallons of vanilla ice cream from Target before heading over. K. and I were high school sweethearts, which is awesome since our families are basically one at this point. This week’s dinner is build-your-own poke bowls and brownies with ice cream. It’s always great getting to catch up with the whole family all at once, and we have a great time. We leave a little early since the baby is fussy. $4.03
9:30 p.m. — We get all the kids in bed, and I prep school lunches for the week while re-watching Jane The Virgin. K. and I have some shower sex before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $50.17
4 a.m. — I wake up with a migraine from hell. I need to be in court by 7:30, so I take some Advil and pump while reviewing case materials. I take a shower, get dressed, and braid my hair. I quickly do my makeup (Bobbi Brown foundation stick, Glossier Stretch concealer, Charlotte Tillbury eyeshadow, Maybelline eyeliner, NYX contour, and a NARS lipstick). I kiss K. goodbye and head out the door.
6:30 a.m. — I head to a cute café near the courthouse to take a work call. My call ends up being canceled, so I spend the time sending some emails instead. I order a chai latte and a bacon, egg, and cheese croissant sandwich and work until my clients get here. I meet up with them, take some photos for them, and head to the courthouse. $14.59
10 a.m. — The adoption is done! I’m so happy for this family. The parents have brought donuts to celebrate, so I indulge in one before heading to the office.
12 p.m. — While I eat lunch (leftovers from yesterday’s dinner), I get some shopping done online. One of my kids is having a difficult time gaining weight, so I order him Pediasure at our pediatrician’s request. I also order a rug from Wayfair for the baby’s nursery. Once I’m done with lunch, I get to work reviewing cases, taking calls, and preparing paperwork. $123.98
4 p.m. — I’m home! I make the kids guacamole and quesadillas and get started on homework with them. I nurse the baby and get the kids loaded up in the car for after-school activities. K. has a work dinner tonight, so I have to handle “witching hour” (the time between school and dinner) by myself. I drive the kids to piano, dance, and soccer and head to the salon with the littlest kids to get my eyebrows threaded. My eyebrow lady is super affordable and does an amazing job, so I don’t mind going to her rather than plucking my brows at home. $5.97
6:30 p.m. — It’s time for dinner! I’m using one of my Home Chef meal kits today (we order these sporadically): fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn. I make it for the kids and me with a super-easy strawberry spinach salad with poppyseed dressing. We eat, clean up, and take the puppies for a walk.
7:30 p.m. — I get the littles into bed, and read with the older kids in the playroom. I get them in bed a little earlier than normal, nurse the baby and settle into bed to watch yesterday’s episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians while simultaneously texting one of my best friends my thoughts on the episode. (Don’t judge me! It’s my guilty pleasure, haha!) I end up heading to bed around 10:30.
Daily Total: $144.54
6:30 a.m. — I get up, nurse the baby, and read the news. I hand K. the baby once I’m done nursing and take a shower. I curl my hair and do my makeup (Fenty Beauty concealer, Glossier brow gel, Colourpop eyeshadow, and Charlotte Tillbury lipstick). Once I’m ready, I head downstairs to start making breakfast — scrambled eggs, avocado toast, and fruit salad while K. gets the kids dressed and ready.
8 a.m. — We get the kids fed and get ourselves out the door. I head over to a coffee shop to meet with my younger sisters. I order all five of us cappuccinos, which we drink while catching up over engagements, marriages, kids, etc. $14.36
9 a.m. — I get to work. I get on some calls while also reading over some cases that have been sent to me for review. My inbox is swarming, so I grab some chocolate chip cookies from the communal pantry while I work.
12:30 p.m. — I have my lunch (cauliflower burrito bowl) and a peach while I pay a medical bill I just received. K. had some childhood health problems that left him infertile due to hormone imbalance. He received hormone therapy while we were having our kids to prevent that infertility, which was EXPENSIVE. Now that we are done growing our family, he is stopping hormone therapy and getting a vasectomy, which is not covered entirely by insurance. $235.98
2:15 p.m. — I head home early today. I pump while feeding my littles a quick snack of chicken nuggets and watermelon. I cave and let them watch some Paw Patrol while I wait for the older kids to get home from school. Once the kids are back, I make them smoothies and chicken tacos. K. gets home and takes the older kids for their extracurriculars while I stay home with the littles.
5:30 p.m. — We have parent-teacher conferences this evening, so I meet K. at elementary school after dropping the littles off with a friend (I Venmo her $25). Parent-teacher conferences take about thirty minutes per kid, so we’re not done until 8. The kids are hungry, so I have K. head to pick up the younger kids and get them home to bed while I take the older kids home for dinner. $25
8:45 p.m. — I get the kids quickly fed with our Home Chef meal kit (barbecue chicken flatbread pizza) and get them into bed just as K. brings the other sleepy kids home. I nurse the baby before putting him to bed and watch some Netflix (well, we were doing a little more than just watching) with K. before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $275.34
4 a.m. — I wake up to two sick kiddos. My seven-year-olds both seem to have the stomach flu, which means today’s a work-from-home day. I have an important meeting today, so I ask K. to stay at home with the sick kids, as well as the littles so we don’t get the nanny sick. I head back to bed for about another hour and a half before getting up.
6:30 a.m. — I get the kids showered and dressed while K. gets breakfast going for everyone (huevos rancheros and fruit salad). One of my other kids also seems a little sick, so I decide to keep them at home as well. I get ready, braid my hair, and throw on some mascara and brow gel before hurrying out the door to drop the two healthy kids at school.
12 p.m. — I head to my work meeting, which is at a nice Italian place downtown. I pay for all of us, but it will be reimbursed by the office. ($359.76 expensed)
2:30 p.m. — I go to Target to pick up some Gatorade, pacifiers, and laundry detergent. I FaceTime a friend while I shop. I’ve found that one of my favorite ways to stay sane and keep my mental health up is just staying in contact with friends. Whenever I have to run an errand or have an extra fifteen minutes, I’ll try and call someone and stay in touch. I’m a HORRIBLE texter, so I love calling friends to stay in touch without the worry of forgetting to reply back. $34.05
3:30 p.m. — I head home and help tag-team the sick kids and the littles with K. The kids seem to be doing a little better, so hopefully staying home tomorrow and the weekend will be enough for them to recover. I have them read to me out loud while I get snacks (ham and cheese sandwiches, fruits, and some sad-looking baby carrots). Once the older kids are home, I let K. take them to their activities so he can get a break from being cooped up with the kids at home.
6:30 p.m. — We make dinner — General Tso’s cauliflower and zoodles and get the kids ready for bed. I UberEats edible cookie dough over for K. and I to enjoy with an episode of Patriot Act. Once the episode is over, I nurse the baby and then head to bed. $16.56
Daily Total: $50.61
6 a.m. — I get up to nurse the baby. I have to go into court in the afternoon, so I decide to not go into the office this morning so I don’t have to rush out the door. Once the baby is fed, I take a shower, curl my hair, and get dressed. I head downstairs to make breakfast (banana bread, fruit, and bacon) while K. gets the kids up and ready.
8:30 a.m. — I take the puppies and the littles on a walk to go see my mother-in-law, who had surgery yesterday. We bring her a loaf of banana bread and spend some time with her before taking the kids back home. Once back home, I get the kids all on ABCMouse and Duolingo so I can send some emails. K. heads to the gym and texts me to let me know he got a coffee from Starbucks on the way there. $3.67
12:30 p.m. — I make chicken salad sandwiches for lunch for everyone and coffee for myself. I nurse the baby, do my makeup (Tarte foundation, Fenty Beauty concealer, KKW Beauty contour, Charlotte Tillbury eyeliner, Too Faced mascara, and a Huda Beauty liquid lipstick) and leave for work.
1:30 p.m. — I meet up with my clients at court and finalize some details with them. Adoption Day is always such a big deal, and it’s fun to watch this moment unfold for families. We take some pictures, review some paperwork, and wait to be called in to meet with the judge.
3:30 p.m. — Adoption finalized! This family is truly so generous and kind, and I’m glad that this baby gets to have them as his “forever family.” I’m meeting with a few of my friends tonight to celebrate my birthday early so I hurry out of court so I can get home and get ready.
4:15 p.m. — I get dressed and do my makeup (Fenty Beauty foundation, NARS concealer, Stila eyeliner, Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pencil, L’Oréal mascara, KKW Beauty eyeshadow, Huda Beauty contour, Honest Beauty blush, and a Milani gloss). I kiss the kids goodbye and toss dinner into the slow cooker (sweet pork tacos) so K. won’t have to worry about it when he gets home.
6 p.m. — My friends and I meet up for some Thai food and drinks. We get tempura vegetables, chicken satay, pad see ew, yellow and green curry, and a duck dish. I offer to pay for my portion, but my amazing friends refuse to let me. The five of us all went to high school together and it’s always so fun to catch up and see what’s going on in each other’s lives. I leave feeling very happy and very full.
10 p.m. — I bring home ice cream for me and K. We watch a Bollywood movie on Netflix while enjoying the ice cream and head to bed. We have sex and then fall asleep around midnight. $7.38
Daily Total: $11.05
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