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October 1, 2021

Alex Symeonoglou, 34, bought his two-bedroom flat in Maidenhead, UK — just outside of London — in June 2015. He makes $181,000 a year as a strategic assistant and chief of staff for a pharmaceutical company. He considers his interest in investing almost like a second job. As a result, he has amassed over $400,000 in his investment accounts. He enjoys spending his free time playing tennis, traveling, and practicing his mixology skills.

This is an installment of CNBC Make It's Millennial Money series, which profiles people across the globe and details how they earn, spend and save their money.

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As a 10-year-old growing up in Athens, Greece, Alex Symeonoglou got hooked on a TV show about the stock market, called “Limit up, Limit down.”

“I didn’t understand anything, but We absolutely loved watching it,” he tells CNBC Make It.

By the time he was a college student in the U.K. in 2004, Symeonoglou says he was tracking stocks on a daily basis and was even getting involved in his father’s investments.

Today, he jokes that his passion for investing has become like a “second job.” And at 34, Symeonoglou has already amassed an investment pot worth $410,795. (CNBC Make It converted all the figures from GBP to USD).

“It’s actually the thing that We talk about the most with all the friends and family,” he says.

When he’s not watching the stock market, Symeonoglou works as a strategic assistant and chief of staff for a large pharmaceutical company in London and earns about $181,000 a year. That includes his base salary and bonus, as well as $9,311 from an annual company car allowance, an uncommon perk in the U.K., and money from selling some of his vacation days each year.

How he spends his money

Here’s a look at how Symeonoglou typically spends his money, as of July 2021.

Savings: $2,888 goes into his company pension plan each month, equal to 27% of his annual paycheck before taxes. His employer also adds an 8% match, since it is mandatory for employers to contribute to pension savings in the U.K.

Investments: $2,602 in total. Most ($2,396) goes into a tax efficient investment account known as an ISA, or individual savings account. He also contributes $205 of his salary before taxes into a company shares account, and his employer adds $103 on top of that amount.

Housing costs: $2,294 includes a $1,976 monthly payment to his mortgage, $201 toward a maintenance fee for his apartment building and $116 for council tax, which is a local area tax in the U.K.

Food: $733 includes $178 on groceries, $41 on bottles of alcohol for his cocktail-making parties, $438 on eating out and $75 on a Nespresso coffee pods subscription.

Car: $170 includes $60 on insurance, paid in a one-off annual fee of $726, and $110 on gas.
Fitness: $122, with $55 going toward his tennis club membership and $67 going toward his gym membership.

Discretionary: $112, including $19 spent on his Netflix subscription, $82 on ad hoc buys on Amazon or eBay and $11 on a monthly haircut.

Utilities: $105 includes $27 on Wi-Fi, $22 on heating, $22 on hot water and $34 on electricity.
Insurance: $11 contribution to a company dental plan.

Symeonoglou bought his two-bedroom apartment before it was fully built, or “off-plan,” in Maidenhead, Berkshire, in 2015. He decided to buy in Maidenhead because it’s close enough to drive into London, but he could also get more for his money by not living in the city.

He bought the apartment for $383,340, plus another $20,540 for his parking space in the building’s garage. Symeonoglou put down a deposit of $123,238 for the flat and took out a 13-year mortgage. He plans to pay it off in just nine years, since he doesn’t like to be in debt.

He doesn’t plan to live there long-term though. “If all goes well, then We will rent it out in order to have some passive income, while We transition to another flat or house, whether in the U.K. or abroad,” he says.

Since the U.K.’s coronavirus restrictions eased, Symeonoglou has started regularly hosting cocktail parties again. He says mixology is probably his most expensive hobby, with a single party costing as much as $274. However, it averages out to about $41 per month.

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Living On $181K A Year In Maidenhead, England | Millennial Money

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