Living On $60K A Year In Boston | Millennial Money


Jon Urquhart, 27, earns ,000 a year as an interpreter and through his side hustles as a business owner and TikTok creator. Jon makes ,000 a month pre-tax from his full-time as an American Sign Language interpreter and 0 to ,300 a month between Patreon and TikTok.

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 about Jon’s budget breakdown here:

Jon Urquhart’s childhood home wasn’t typical. It was modified to enhance accessibility for his deafblind father, including a doorbell with flashing lights, a video phone and a TTY, which is a telecommunication device for those who are deaf.

As a small child growing up in Foxborough, Mass., just outside of Boston, Urquhart didn’t realize his house was different. “I thought that’s just how houses were built. I thought everyone had a deaf parent,” he tells CNBC Make It.

But in elementary school, he became more aware of the difference between his home life and others. Urquhart was afraid to invite classmates over because he worried they’d make fun of the modifications in his home. “I didn’t want someone coming to my house because kids are bullies,” he says. “We’re all embarrassed of our parents when we’re younger, but my embarrassment stemmed from this feeling of protectiveness.”

Urquhart learned American Sign Language, or ASL, as a child, and acted as an interpreter and sighted guide for his father. He realized at a young age that “the world is not fully accessible to everyone.”

“I grew up having to advocate and fight for accessibility without even knowing that other kids didn’t have to do this,” he says.

This experience inspired Urquhart to center his career around ASL. He became a full-time ASL interpreter in 2016 after graduating from Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina.

Today, the 27-year-old Boston resident earns about ,000 a year. In addition to his full-time gig as an ASL interpreter for the state government, which pays about ,000 a month pre-tax, he also brings in 0 to ,000 a month through his Patreon business, where he hires deaf professionals to teach ASL classes, and 0 to 0 a month monetizing his content as a TikTok creator.

Urquhart didn’t always dream of being a business owner or pursuing side hustles, but “I always had the mindset that I want to be able to provide for my family more than my family could provide for me,” he says.

Urquhart currently feels “pretty comfortable” with his income level, he says. “I have enough money to buy food, I have enough money to pay my bills, and I have enough money to keep storing away my savings.”

Urquhart advocates for the deaf community in all aspects of his work, including in his Patreon business providing ASL classes and TikTok side hustle, which was an unexpected source of income for him.

When he first downloaded TikTok in January, he just wanted “to see what it was like,” he says. Most of the other users seemed to post dancing videos, but Urquhart was inspired to take a different approach. He decided to start posting about having a deafblind father.

“I posted, just to test the waters, and it got 12,000 views and 3,000 likes within like three hours,” he says of his first TikTok. Today, it has over 219,000 views. “I was like, Wait a minute, people actually like this.”

TikTok did not pay users for their content when Urquhart joined, but he thought there could be a possibility to make money off the app in the future.

His prediction was correct: In July, TikTok announced plans to create a billion TikTok Creator Fund, which provides users with regular payments for posting content on the platform. Urquhart met the requirements for the program, and as a result, is able to make 0 to 0 a month from the app, based on his content views.

Urquhart currently has about 263,000 followers on TikTok, and despite the drama surrounding the app, he hopes to continue to grow his TikTok platform.

The extra cash is not the most rewarding part of TikTok for Urquhart — instead, it’s the messages he receives from his followers and viewers saying how his content helped them or inspired them, he says.

“I expose my followers to American Sign Language, deaf culture, my background, growing up with a deaf parent — things that the typical person wouldn’t know about unless they watched my videos,” he says.

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