Growing up, my grandparents always gave me Israeli Savings Bonds for birthdays and holidays instead of physical presents. I never understood why – until I hit 18. Around my 18th birthday, all of the bonds had matured, and I was presented with a cheque for $10,000. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw all of those zeros! I kept thinking about all of the things that I could buy with that money, but my mom had another plan in place for me. I’m so glad that I listened to her advice.
She took me to TD and had me open a Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) where all of the money was invested into Index Funds. At this time, I had NO idea what any of these words meant. I just thought that there was a savings account and a chequing account. If you also don’t know what these financial terms mean, you can check out my blog The Budget Babes for a more in depth explanation.
For the entire year after, I didn’t think about or look at the TFSA. I just let it sit there and allowed the market to take its course. One day, I decided to take a peek and see what was happening. I had made just over $800! And I literally did nothing all year with that money. It just sat in the account, made a 7.5% return, and compounded interest while invested in these Index Funds. Seeing the $800 return sparked my interest in investing. I had a conversation with my dad about the money I had made, and about investing in general. He told me to “make your money work for you, and don’t work so hard for it”. That saying has stuck with me to this day.
I recently turned 30 on May 23, and hit a huge financial milestone. I currently have just over $100,000 in my savings account and investment portfolio. What’s the secret you ask? I’ll tell you how I did it. Keep in mind that I don’t own a home or a car, and don’t have kids or pets.
Set goals for yourself and work hard.
After that first year of investing, it became a personal goal to max out my RRSP and TFSA every year. And I can happily say that I’ve completed this financial goal since the age of 19. I’ve worked in freelance within the entertainment industry, and have worked in the restaurant industry to produce an income.
Pay yourself first, and have fun after.
I know that I have a different mentality about money than other people my age do. I don’t spend a lot on material things. I go out for dinners and drinks with friends, rent a great apartment in Toronto, and bike almost everywhere I can. I spend the majority of my money on experiences, food, and travel. I have the mentality that I need to pay myself first by maxing out my RRSP and TFSA, and then I can have fun afterwards. Knowing that I have that “emergency” account makes me sleep easy at night.
Educate yourself and invest!
I know that I wouldn’t be where I am now without investing. Learn the basics, take a course, and put some money into safer investments so you can begin to understand the principles. It doesn’t need to be a lot! Start with $10/week or open up a high interest savings account to start learning about interest payments. A majority of my portfolio is invested in TD e-series Index Funds, but I hold blue chip stocks that pay out a dividend. I also hold some riskier investments, but I’d suggest staying away from “penny stocks” unless you know what you’re doing. I once lost $2000 in one day on one investment, but then made it back a few years later on another investment. So now I stick to what I know and mostly contribute to Index Funds.
Budget, budget, budget.
This is so important and will be the basis of your financial plan. Once you have a budget in place, you will see where your income is coming from, and what you’re spending money on. And if you have any “leftovers,” you can start putting them into your savings account. I am so gung-ho about budgeting that I created The Budget Babes blog to teach others the basics of personal finance. I write self-published articles outlining the basic principles that we should have been taught in school, and also offer one-on-one budgeting consultations to set individuals up on their own plan. If you’re interested in hearing more, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured Image: Flickr/MorboKat
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