"The easiest way to get rich is to inherit. The second best way is knowledge and some discipline." - Seth Godin, Author of Tribes
In college, I never took a class on "How to Get Rich" or "How to Save Money and Get Ahead of My Finance." I blamed the education system for the longest time for not teaching me about taxes, stocks and the power of compound effect. However, personal-finance pieces of training existed. There are hundreds of books on Amazon. The truth was that I didn't care enough and frankly, quite lazy. What did I do next? Instead of placing the blame on others aka the American economy, the lack of funds, the fear of risks, etc. I focused on what I needed to change myself. So when should I start? Am I too late in the game already? What the hell do I do?
Like anything else, the first step was the hardest but between doing nothing to doing something, I knew that doing nothing was worse of the evil. So let me walk you through my thought process:
Set a simple mission. My mantra is "Live your best life and let money serve you." Then isolate 3 digestible approaches.
- Take small bites. I took out a pen and paper and started to write down measurable goals. For instance, I want $180,000 for a home down payment in 5 years. I can start with $45,000 and add $2,000 each month. Then I let the magic of compounding do the rest.
- Educate yourself. In order to gain confidence, I knew I had to improve my financial literacy. You can't walk the walk if you can't talk the talk. Towards the end of 2017, I read 5 different books on finance and spent at least 30 minutes every weeknight reading. A book recommendation for you? "The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy" https://www.amazon.com/Compound-Effect-Darren-Hardy/dp/159315724X
- Start somewhere, anywhere. I decided that the first step for me to "save" was to open up a savings account. That would make sense right? So I took a portion of the money that was sitting in my checking account (with inflation...having all your money there is a big no-no) and transferred some to my savings. It took me less than 15 minutes to do it. Tip: Find a bank with a high APY.
Like me, if you are in your early or mid-20s, you are most likely enjoying the same freedom I am having — no spouse, no mortgage, no children except for your pet or two. But if you are a woman and you're reading this, you will also have a disadvantage. On average, we tend to live longer than men. We are also typically paid less than men *Cough, gender wage gap* therefore, it is important for us to start saving and investing while we're young.
This is also time for you and me to start having different goals. Maybe we want to buy a rental property, maybe we want to buy round-trip tickets to Asia, maybe we want to upgrade from that old car...whatever it is, I've learned from experience that if you don't #1 save and #2 invest, the path to achieving those goals will be much more arduous.