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

Garrett Ramela, a 24-year-old former Marine, earns $120,000 a year as a defense contractor in the Washington, D.C. area. He owns three properties that bring in nearly $40,000 a year in rental income, but nets far less since this income pays off mortgages on the properties. Here’s how Garrett makes and spends his money.

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 Garrett’s budget breakdown here:

Sitting on his new West Elm bed in his two-bedroom condo in National Harbor, Maryland, 24-year-old Garrett Ramela flashes bill after colorful bill: bright red from Singapore, pale purple from England, teal and brown from Sudan.

He started the collection during his years in the Marine Corps, when he spent time stationed across three different continents and traveled to more than a dozen countries. In a nearby box, a collection of coins and medals shine in the mid-morning sun.

Ramela’s collection of foreign currency symbolizes more than just his past. Money is part of what motivates him to work so hard, pursue multiple graduate degrees and invest in real estate. He’s working toward a future where he can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and the flexibility to travel or live anywhere in the world.

Today, he’s employed full-time at a tech company as a defense contractor (where he earns a base salary of $120,000). He owns three properties (which bring in another $38,000 a year in rental income). And he’s meticulous in his day-to-day financial decision making, which is reflected in his carefully curated budgeting spreadsheet.

“I joined the Marine Corps because I graduated high school and fell on my face,” he admits.

Balancing online college courses with a string of odd jobs left Ramela both overwhelmed and directionless. The military not only provided structure but offered him tuition benefits and the ability to travel, so in 2013, he enlisted. He went to boot camp in 2014 and was stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

From there, he volunteered for an assignment in Okinawa, Japan, and later another deployment in Djibouti, Africa, where he spent a year before returning to Japan.

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


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