CNBC make it 2024-02-28 02:50:52


31-year-old earns $220,000 a year and saves 75% of his salary by living with his parents

This story is part of CNBC Make It’s Millennial Money series, which details how people around the world earn, spend and save their money.

By the numbers, Sal Khan does really well for himself. The 31-year-old earns around $212,000 from his day job in tech sales. He started buying real estate in 2022 and now has four investment properties, which net him $8,000 a year with room to grow. He splurges on nice dinners out and makes time for vacations.

He also lives at home with his parents in Houston rent-free.

It’s a financially savvy move, of course, but also means more.

Khan was born and raised in Pakistan as the youngest of five kids. His older siblings started moving to the U.S. when he was 9 years old, starting with his oldest brother, who came to the States for college.

Soon after, his oldest sister moved to Houston to work as a physician, and by the time Khan was 17, his parents moved to be close to her and help raise their grandchildren. They also started the process of gaining a green card. Khan stayed behind under the care of his grandfather as his other two siblings moved for work and school.

Khan was the last to move to the U.S. in 2013 at 20 years old when his parents sponsored his visa. He earned a finance and economics degree from Ohio State University and worked in the Bay Area for a few years until the pandemic prompted him to move in with his parents in Houston.

What started as a temporary solution became a long-term arrangement that’s strengthened their bond in meaningful ways.

“I do think my relationship now has been the best with my parents than it has been before,” Khan tells CNBC Make It.

Here’s how the arrangement impacts his personal life, his financial goals and his future plans.

Moving in with his parents

Khan was living in the Bay in 2020 when the pandemic hit. His lease ended in August, and while he could work remotely, he figured he’d move in with his parents in Houston to save money and wait out the pandemic. He planned to find his own apartment in the Houston area after a few months, but his parents proposed another idea.

Khan recalls his mother saying, “You can stay as long as you want.”

As the youngest child in the family, and after spending roughly 10 years away from his parents, he saw it as a way to make up for lost time, or “an opportunity that we could use as a family and really improve our relationship.” His oldest sister and her family also lived in the area, and his second sister and her family have since moved from Chicago to the Houston area.

Plus, Khan adds, “there is a cultural aspect to it where, as a son, it’s required that you take care of your parents.”

It was an adjustment living with his parents as his roommates and reasserting his independence as a single man in his 20s. But Khan says he and his parents have gotten better at communicating boundaries and expectations.

Khan doesn’t pay any specific bills for the household, but covers other miscellaneous expenses, like the family’s Costco membership, gas, some medical bills and, in one instance, his father’s property taxes. Khan also gives his mom $200 a month as a gift to put toward whatever she chooses.

Khan’s parents are retired and live off savings from selling their house in Pakistan, which also covered their house in Texas.

Khan’s mother doesn’t drive, so he’ll make sure she gets around for her “great social life.” He also accompanies his father on doctor’s appointments.

He misses some parts of living in California, like his friends and being able to hit the beach. But those are easy “sacrifices,” he says, to improve his financial future and spend more time with his family in Texas.

Dating while living at home

Moving home had a big impact on Khan’s dating life. He had his fair share of dates who weren’t on the same page about why he chooses to live with his parents.

“It’s just one of those things where you just have to find people that understand your situation,” Khan says.

As it turns out, Khan’s girlfriend, Nina Nguyen, 29, also lives with her parents for both family and financial reasons.

“She understands it’s a cultural thing and we can still be together with someone without actually needing to [share] an apartment or home,” Khan says. That does mean, however, a lot of their shared time happens outside of their respective homes on dates, out at restaurants or on trips together.

“It’s not easy to find someone who’s comfortable with me living with my parents,” he adds. “There is a social stigma to it. So the fact that she has never even once even asked me to move out, I think that’s just being empathetic on her part.”

Khan plans to move out of his current home when he has $2 million in assets, which he hopes will happen within the next five years. But that won’t be the end of his living arrangement with this parents: Khan hopes to move his parents to his new home, too.

“They have explicitly mentioned that, wherever I go, they want to go with me,” Khan says. He considers it the “biggest honor” to spend time with them and care for them as they get older.

Khan says it’s also possible his girlfriend will want to continue living with her parents, so he’s considering saving up for a house big enough for the couple and both sets of parents to live together.

How he spends his money

Here’s how Khan spent his money in December 2023.

  • Housing: $2,116 to cover the mortgage on one of his properties
  • Food: $1,638 on groceries and meals out
  • Discretionary: $1,414 on travel, gifts and entertainment
  • Gas and parking: $301
  • Insurance: $250, which includes $191 for car insurance and $59 for employer-provided health, dental, vision and life insurance
  • Student loans: $234
  • Gym membership: $11

Khan’s only housing expense each month is to cover the mortgage on one of his properties in the Houston area, which he rents out to his older sister’s family for $2,700 a month. It’s his most lucrative investment property, netting him $584 each month.

Like a lot of people, Khan’s December spending was higher than usual because of the holidays. He treated his family and girlfriend to a few nice dinners out and splurged on other entertainment, including a theater performance and cooking classes. He also took a trip to Arizona, which included a flight, car rental and trip to the Grand Canyon.

Khan graduated from college in 2016 with over $22,000 in student loans. He took advantage of the federal student loan payment pause during the pandemic and now has roughly $19,000 left. He makes the minimum payments of $234 each month.

For now, Khan says he’d rather focus on beefing up his investments rather than pay off his student debt, which has a low 4% interest rate.

Khan didn’t make any savings or investments in the month of December. But in 2023, he stashed roughly 75% of his pay. He currently has around $212,000 in a Robinhood portfolio, $46,000 invested with Wealthfront and $37,000 in retirement savings.

Getting into real estate

Once Khan moved home and began saving the majority of his earnings, his older brother and brother-in-law encouraged him to consider investing in real estate.

He bought his first property, a single-family home in a nearby Texas town, in April 2022. Khan paid 20%, or roughly $95,000, for the down payment.

He couldn’t find a good tenant to rent out the the 5-bedroom, 4-bedroom house. Thankfully, around the same time, one of his sisters was moving with her family from Chicago to the Houston area, and she ended up renting the home.

Since then, Khan has picked up three more properties: a multi-family parking garage and storage facility in Florida, a vacation rental in Arizona and another single-family home in California, where his brother currently lives.

Khan nets around $600 a month from all his properties, or nearly $8,000 a year, though he says it will be higher once he finds a new tenant for his California property after his brother moves out. By then, he expects to bring in up to $1,100 a month from his real estate portfolio.

The bulk of his savings are earmarked for more down payments on properties, Khan says. However, he wants to keep his portfolio manageable and will likely stick to 10 or fewer properties overall.

Looking ahead

Khan is laser focused on continuing to minimize his living expenses to pour his paychecks into real estate.

He hopes that, by sharing his story, he’ll dispel the stigma of adults who live in the same household as their parents. For him, the arrangement has strengthened their relationship. Plus, the financial gains propelled him on the path to real estate investing and a more solid monetary future.

There’s nothing to be ashamed about the decision, he says: “It’s a choice that I made to be with my parents, and I’m grateful for this choice.”

What’s your budget breakdown? Share your story with us for a chance to be featured in a future installment.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

I took a huge pay cut to work a retail job at Target after being laid off—here’s why I don’t regret it

In April 2023, my director-level job in real estate management got eliminated. I allowed myself a small window to mourn, and then decided to view the layoff as an opportunity instead of a loss. I’d been longing for a career change, and here was my chance to pursue a path that gave me a greater sense of purpose.

But I never expected to still be unemployed as the holidays approached. I had applied to hundreds of jobs but landed only two interviews and received zero job offers.

In early December, I applied online for a seasonal position with Target completely on a whim — half expecting to be ghosted again. But the very next day, I got an offer to be a guest advocate for the holidays at $15 an hour.

It was a huge pay cut from what I made as a director, but I was excited to get out of the house and interact with living things other than my pets and family!

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Initially, I was as nervous as a 16-year-old showing up to their first job, but after some training, I found my stride. And it didn’t take long for me to realize that my “little seasonal job,” as I liked to call it, was one of the best things I could have done for myself.

Going from senior roles to retail was humbling

If I’m being honest, I secretly felt like I was too good to work in a retail role again more than 20 years after my last day at The Disney Store, where I’d once picked up a part-time job on the side for fun. I assumed I’d dread every shift and be annoyed by customers who treated me like gum on their shoes. 

But almost every guest was incredibly kind and engaging. I bonded quickly with my co-workers and looked forward to seeing them every day. And I didn’t dread a single shift.

I gained so much respect for workers who are on their feet (and game) all day

Retail and other customer-facing employees are some of the hardest-working people I’ve ever met.

In those first weeks, my feet and knees hurt so badly that I developed a close relationship with my ice pack. I found myself sweating from the physical exertion of assisting crowds waiting in line for purchases, returns, and order pick-ups, and logged at least 10,000 steps with each shift.

My confidence came back

When I began my career in higher education more than 25 years ago, I loved every moment of it. But stress and budget cuts took a toll on my positivity, and I spent several years refusing to acknowledge I was burned out.

When the pandemic hit, I finally recognized my lack of enthusiasm for the work I used to adore and admitted I needed a change. Returning to retail was the therapy I didn’t know I needed. I remembered that I am valued, smart, hardworking, and fantastic at making customers happy!

I also realized I need words of praise to buoy my confidence and will make sure I can get them in future roles. 

I took immense pride in my work

When the chaotic assortment of clips for plastic hangers in the back room started to resemble the aftermath of a colorful plastic explosion, for example, I took the initiative to organize the mess. It made everyone’s work easier, and my colleagues were thankful I did it. 

My crisis-management skills were handy when a guest had a medical emergency while in my checkout lane. And when I was asked several times to stay on a permanent basis, I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself.

Now that my “Target Run” is over, I’ll forever look back on it as one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career. I’m searching for my dream role in HR management or training and development, and I will no doubt be a better manager due to my lessons in humility, respect, pride, and self-confidence.

As I bid farewell to my “little seasonal job,” I feel grateful for the unexpected but rewarding detour. And you can be sure I’ll be back to shop!

Kathleen Baker is an award-winning presenter of training programs, seminars, and publications. Her career spans higher education, real estate management, and human resources. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling, and has studied at the doctoral level in educational leadership. Find her on LinkedIn.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.

7 in-demand side hustles you can do from home—some can pay as much as $100 an hour

You don’t need a background in tech to start a lucrative side hustle from home.

There are dozens of in-demand, non-tech side hustles you can do remotely to earn extra cash — some of which can pay as much as $100 an hour.

FlexJobs, one of the most popular platforms for finding remote and hybrid work opportunities, has seen a steady increase in the number of remote, part-time listings for non-tech roles including virtual assistants, accountants and customer service representatives in recent months, FlexJobs lead career expert Toni Frana tells CNBC Make It.

To help people interested in pursuing a side hustle find the best remote opportunities, FlexJobs has identified seven in-demand side hustles that can be done from home, based on listings from more than 58,000 companies on its platform posted between July and December 2023. These jobs have dozens of active listings and offer remote, part-time opportunities. 

Here are seven in-demand side hustles that can be done from home, and how much they pay, according to FlexJobs, with salary estimates from Payscale:

  1. Virtual assistant ($18 per hour)
  2. Bookkeeper ($20 per hour)
  3. Customer service representative ($16 per hour)
  4. Accountant ($23 per hour)
  5. Technical writer ($26 per hour)
  6. Social media specialist ($19 per hour)
  7. Video editor ($22 per hour)

While the total number of hours varies from role to role, most of the jobs on FlexJobs’ list ask for a commitment of 10-25 hours per week.

Some of these side hustles, including video editing, bookkeeping and customer service, don’t require a bachelor’s degree, says Frana. Instead, she adds, hiring managers will often evaluate candidates based on their previous work experience and soft skills. 

“There are core soft skills people look for across all of these roles: an ability to meet deadlines, strong communication skills both in writing and on the phone, being a self-starter, problem-solving and, of course, foundational technology skills,” Frana explains.

Some of these remote side hustles can pay upwards of $100 per hour, depending on your level of skill and the project. Bookkeepers on Upwork, for example, can charge as much as $175 an hour or, for some projects, $300 an hour. 

For virtual assisting roles that require more specialized skills — whether it’s building email campaigns or creating WordPress sites — “you’re often talking at least $100 [per hour] and up,” Angelique Rewers, founder of the consulting firm BoldHaus, previously told CNBC Make It.

The most salient benefit of pursuing one of these remote side hustles, says Frana, is the flexibility. You can choose to go freelance and set your own hours, or, if you apply to a part-time listing, Frana says many employers will let you adjust your schedule as needed.

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay. CNBC Make It readers can save 25% with discount code 25OFF.

How often should you wash your jeans? The Levi’s CEO settles the debate

For most pieces of clothing, it’s clear they should be washed after a few wears. But jeans can be more divisive, with some even saying to never wash them.

And in parts, Levi Strauss CEO Charles Bergh may be to blame for that. Even though he didn’t quite mean for that to be the main takeaway from an event he spoke at in 2014.

“I never said don’t wash your jeans,” he clarified in conversation with CNBC’s Christine Tan as part of the “Managing Asia” show broadcast last month.

Bergh still doesn’t use a washing machine to clean his denim. “True denim heads, people that really love their denim, will tell you to never put your denim into a washing machine. So that’s what I do.”

Denim lovers often say washing jeans will impact their shape and color, while keeping them unwashed will improve their appearance through creases and exposure to the elements. Not washing them is also said to make them last longer as it will prevent the denim’s fibers from wearing down — which could lead to holes or rips.  

But Bergh also doesn’t just leave his jeans to get messy and covered in dirt.

“If I drop some curry on my jeans, I’m gonna clean it. But I’ll spot clean it. And if they get really gross you know, if I’ve been out sweating or something and they get really gross, I’ll wash them in the shower,” he said.

This means keeping jeans on in the shower and covering them in soap as you would your body, Bergh explained.

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Managing Asia

Washing jeans is in fact a major part of the clothing’s carbon footprint, Bergh said. The denim industry consumes a lot of water on the production side, he noted, but the amount of times consumers wash their products also plays a role.

In the U.S. people may wash their jeans after every wear, he pointed out, while in other regions of the world the clothes would go in the washing machine after every few wears.

The debate about how often we should really be washing our clothes has expanded from jeans in recent years. Controversy about how often people wash their pajamas and bedding for example has broken out several times on social media recently, prompting discussions about what is and isn’t hygienic.

Hygiene is however not the only argument — as Bergh points out, washing machines use a lot of water. Washing clothes less could therefore be good for the environment, some sustainability experts suggest, especially as our, often synthetic, clothes also release microplastics when washed, which contribute to plastic pollution.

So while not everyone may be satisfied with keeping their jeans out of the washing machine — putting them, and other clothes, in it less frequently may be something to at least consider.  

28-year-old has lived in an old NYC laundromat for 5 years, pays $1,900 in rent—take a look inside

When Sampson Dahl, 28, found a former laundromat in Maspeth, Queens on an online forum back in 2019, he had no idea how much the space would become his life.

Early last year, CNBC Make It met Dahl after his former laundromat-turned-apartment went viral on TikTok. At the time, he was paying $1,850 a month — his rent has since increased to $1,900.

At the start of 2023, Dahl was working in TV and film set design — which allowed him access to a lot of the furniture and décor you see throughout his apartment — but the Writers Guild of America strike put a pause on any new work and forced Dahl to rethink the unlikely home he had created.

“I’ve gotten to focus on the space a lot, so I’ve been throwing shows, events, and intimate gatherings almost weekly at this point,” Dahl tells CNBC Make It. “It’s been a great opportunity to kind of dive into the space more.”

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Dahl doesn’t make a lot of money from the events, but he says what he earns from the door charge is enough to help make his monthly rent payments and continue living alone.

Last year, Dahl told CNBC Make It that he only lives in the former laundromat because it’s what he can afford. Now, Dahl says he is looking more seriously into moving. “I don’t want to be there forever. In my best case scenario, I leave, and I don’t think about it for a while, and then come to visit in 10 years, and it’s something surprising to me,” he says.

While he has enjoyed living in an alternative space, Dahl thinks he might be ready for a more traditional apartment.

But he doesn’t intend to leave the old laundromat behind completely.

In an ideal world, Dahl says he would renovate the laundromat and have a core group of people continuing to operate it as an event space.

“My goal with this space is just to keep it existing, and I think that my friends have no ulterior mission to make a functioning business out of it,” Dahl says. “I’m not against utilizing it as a storefront but I think the neighbors appreciate having a space that adds a different mood. The block I live on informs me and a certain pace of life. Most of my neighbors are retirees and the laundromat is the same.”

When Dahl does move, he says he’ll miss his neighbors and hosting old and new friends in his home at all hours of the day. “I love them so much,” he says.

“I’d love to live across the street. I’ve been looking for years and always keep my eye on the block.”

Living in such an unconventional space has helped Dahl learn to enjoy his home for what it is now instead of trying to turn it into something bigger. “In a place that values commercial success and economic growth, it’s rare to be able to enjoy stasis in a place like this,” Dahl says.

“I think the greatest thing I’ve found living in the laundromat is providing a room where someone can exist without direct purpose.”

Want to land your dream job in 2024? Take CNBC’s new online course How to Ace Your Job Interview to learn what hiring managers are really looking for, body language techniques, what to say and not to say, and the best way to talk about pay.