I Bought a House before 30!

The last several years has been a bit rough for me. I had been living with my parents for many years. At first, I was taking care of my grandfather as his primary caregiver, then as I went back to college for Computer Science, and then continued after graduating as I job hunted, did freelance gigs, and got my first “real job” in industry. I didn’t have a lot of money, and my income was sporadic at best. My parents welcomed the help around the house, and I didn’t mind it. They’re approaching the retirement age and any bit I can help them makes their lives much easier.

Now, because they’re approaching the retirement age, they decided they wanted to move to Florida. They had been talking about it for a while, but it was always a “maybe in 5 years” plan. In the middle of 2020 and the insanely rough beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic, they decided to go through with those plans and started designing a house to retire in in Florida.

They bought land, signed off on all the blueprints and broke ground on construction. (this was a very long process, of which I’m very tired of hearing about and won’t bore you with the details)

So this left me with 2 choices. Move into an apartment either in my town or to a larger city (Seattle or Minneapolis were the top 2 on my lists), or buy my parents' home and not have to move at all. Since my job at the time was local, and I wasn’t making that bad of money for my area, I decided to stay and buy the house.

So, I own a home now!

I’m slowly making upgrades and making everything a smart device or IOT where it makes sense. I highly recommend doing lights, doorbell video, and thermostat at least. In August 2020 I built a home garage gym, then promptly never used it (2022 goal is to actively use it). The next major upgrade I plan on doing will be rewiring the house with cat-6 ethernet and ubiquiti networking gear.

I Bought a Car!

I had been sharing a car with my dad since like 2012. I got better gas mileage, and he drove across the state for work, so it just worked out well for him to use my car, and I use his pickup. But, my car that used to run well, turned into a junker with 200k miles with how much he drove it every day. When my dad took a new job down in Florida, preparing for the eventual move, I decided to sell the old car and buy a new one.

My 2011 Chevy Impala, with 200k miles, sold for over $4k! Thank you Covid-19 used car prices. The dealerships I talked to didn’t even want to give me $1k trade-in.

Initially I wanted a Tesla, I was dead set on getting a Model Y. But then I started hearing about corners being cut because of parts shortages, and there was a 3-4 month waiting period for production. So I decided I’d skip Tesla for now, and maybe try again the next time I’m in the market for a car.

I still wanted to be eco-friendly and considered two routes: Hybrid vs Other Brands' Electric Vehicles; the Chevy volts of the world for example. After thinking really hard on it, I decided to skip the EV route for now and go for a hybrid. I really want to kit out my house with a Tesla Powerwall, and solarpanels (need to do research on snow and performance in Wisconsin) before I buy an EV. That way I can set up a proper charging station in the garage for the car at the same time. And I just can’t afford that now. Maybe in 5-10 years that project will be more feasible. I need to pay off my student loans first!

I ended up going with a 2021 Toyota Venza Hybrid. I wanted a Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid, but it would’ve been 4-6 months to get one. They’re high in demand, and with the parts shortages production was only going to be delayed further. If I didn’t take the Venza offered to me, they had a buyer lined up to call right after me. I know that typically would be considered a sales tactic, but in this case I believe them. There were 4 cars I was wanting to TEST DRIVE to see if I liked the car, and they were sold before they even arrived at the dealership. I had to test drive a Venza that belonged to someone who worked at the dealership!

I’ve had it since August, and really like it a lot. It has enough smart features that it feels like a luxury car, and it gets great gas mileage at 30-40 mpg if you drive efficiently.

I turned 30!

A few weeks after buying the Venza I celebrated my 30th birthday! My mom flew in to visit, and we went to see Shang-Chi at the movie theater. I don’t have much else to say here other than I feel old now but at least I live alone and own a house.

I Bought a New BED!!

Ok, this is the one I’m the MOST excited for because it has direct impact on everything I do (sleep is important yo). I finally replaced my mattress that has a distinct Jeremy shaped dent in it. For those curious, I went with a Saatva Classic Matress in Luxury Firm. It’s a bit stiffer than I’m used to, but after a few nights I started getting used to it.

But it gets better than that. I also bought the Saatva Lineal Adjustable Base, which was 💯% worth it! I can adjust the bed how I want for watching tv and to be in a comfy position for sleeping.

I Changed Jobs and Doubled My Income!??

That’s right, this is NOT click bait! I actually doubled my income. And you can too with this easy trick!

Get a new job at a company that pays market value and provides benefits.

There’s not really a trick, just interview a lot and eventually get a higher paying job (I will talk about interviewing tips in another post sometime). I went from being severely underpaid without any benefits to being properly compensated with a great salary and actual benefits. It just happened to be over double what I was making previously.

This is partially thanks to the Great Resignation that came with Covid-19. Senior software engineers across the industry left their jobs due to Covid-19 and burnout. This caused a HUGE increase in companies trying to hire software engineers, which led to big bumps in base pay due to the shortage of experienced SE’s on the market. If you’re making less than 100k-200k (depending on experience) anywhere in the country as a software engineer, leave your job and find a new one.

To give you an example of the market need. Every single day I would get a message from 5-10 different recruiters trying to get me. Most of them were also recruiting for roles at multiple companies. Without any of my profiles being set to looking for work. I was “off the market” and getting SPAMMED, by small and large well known companies trying to hire senior’ish level SE’s.

I accepted an offer from a fintech infrastructure startup that’s well known in the industry. For now, I won’t name them, but I really am enjoying working there and will hapily talk to people about it in private if you’re interested. I moved from a “startup” with 17 employees, to one with over 300 employees. Boy what a difference!

There are a few things that this gave me:

  1. I’m finally working at a company that does its best to follow industry standards and best practices. This is teaching me skills I’ve been begging to develop for years but never worked at a place large enough.
  2. I learned that money isn’t everything, but when you’re paid under the market rate, you feel like you’re not valued, and the quality of my work suffered. Being properly compensated has made me feel confident in my abilities and that I belong in this industry. I look forward to logging in for work every day.
  3. I’m happier. I’m not stressed about money, if I have health insurance still, or if I’ll get my next paycheck on time. I like the people I work with, I respect them, and I am learning from them.
  4. I want to grow my career down the Individual Contributor path and land in a staff/principal software engineer role someday. Before I thought management might be the right route, but now I know I just want to be a solid engineer.

I have a long ways to go, and plenty of time to get there. I went from thinking I was senior level at a small startup to realizing I’m still probably considered mid-level. But that’s ok, it just means I have more room to grow.

I have renewed excitement for growing my skills again. Which is why I’m starting to blog again.

Last time I got hung up on the blog infrastructure so this time it’s just a simple Hugo blog, with a pre-made theme, hosted on Netlify. I’m done with the Digital Ocean Droplet VPS, self-managed, and not optomized websites. I went with static site generator like Hugo because I dont need a CMS like WordPress. I was overthinking the setup and got turned off on actually writing the content.

Expect lots of posts to come about the things I’m learning. I’m still trying to determine a posting schedule that works for me, but for now we’ll see you soon!

Cheers, Jeremy