Darcy We Want Guac ability to grow wealth tips

In 2016 I graduated with honors and had hoped to feel a sense of joy and satisfaction. But when I stepped into the real world, I felt terrified. At the time, I hadn’t been offered any job offers and my only source of income came from sporadic waitressing appearances.

I realized how little I knew about basic personal finance. Almost all of my big dreams, like traveling the world and buying my own house, required a basic understanding of money that I just didn’t have.

It was scary to see how much I had to learn, even though I had spent the past four years focusing on an education that would prepare me for a successful future.

I spent much of that first year out of school learning everything I could to better refine my approach to money, starting with building my first budget. I officially started investing in January 2017. Then, in October 2019, I woke up one day to find that my portfolio balance had crossed the $100,000 mark.

I went from a recent college graduate who had no idea about money, to a six-figure investment portfolio by the time I was 25, and a net worth of $275,000 today. Here’s how.

I found sources that made sense to me

When I started earning more, I prioritized investing

Video by Mariam Abdallah

Even something as simple as optimizing my LinkedIn profile with job posting keywords for jobs I was interested in started getting me and my recruiters work on the platform, rather than relying solely on sending applications to the digital void. . Networking like this got me my next role in February 2018, where I earned a salary of $60,000. A year and a half later, in 2019, I was offered a job with a salary of $86,000.

Earning more meant I had more to add to my investments and grow my wealth. My $60,000 role made it possible for me to invest tens of thousands of dollars in one year, which was the first time I managed to do that. My current job was my first job offering me a 401(k) and an HSA, both of which I’ve been able to maximize over the past two years.

I stayed on track during difficult times

Video by Courtney Stith

Almost overnight, my investments dropped $40,000 and I seemingly lost my $100,000 milestone.

Not raising my money in an effort to protect what I had left, I saw my investments flash back to $100,000, then climb even further. This wouldn’t have happened if I had been nervous to buy during a bull run, or scared when the going got tough.

I have started a special emergency fund

Video by Lauren Shamo

In recent years, my biggest emergency has been an expensive car repair in January. If I hadn’t already set aside money in an emergency fund, which I first started before investing in 2016, I would have had to get some out of my investment plan. Instead, I took care of the towing and repair costs without worry.

Unexpected, urgent expenses can come at any time. This could be sudden repairs, helping a loved one, or new medical expenses. Without savings, dealing with them could end up missing out on investment gains at best or incurring debt at worst. Neither outcome is a concern when your budgeting and investment plan includes how to manage emergency expenses.

I let my budget be my guide

Before I made my budget, I actually found it hard to spend. I had something of a scarcity mindset, because I felt like I had so little, and I didn’t want to let it go.

Once I set up a budget for myself, it gave me permission to spend on what I want most, while setting aside hundreds more for savings and investments.

I have found that all the stress involved in setting up a budgeting system was offset by the power and control I was given over my finances. Explaining it all has made it easier to see where I could change my habits to be more in line with my goals.

By keeping track of my expenses, I was able to save some smaller expenses and started shopping second-hand. For example, instead of spending thousands of dollars furnishing my apartment with new and expensive stuff, I took the time to gather what I needed from sites like Freecycle, NextDoor, and Craigslist. I ended up getting quality pieces for free, including a flat screen TV, kitchen stools, and a complete dining room set.

Everything I’ve saved from that experience, I’ve put into my investments.

Reaching $100,000 in investment was a major milestone for me, especially when I hit that number at 25. Today, at 27, my net worth is currently $275,000. Using these steps gives me confidence in my finances and allows me to grow my wealth in the future.

Darcy is a writer and marketing executive based in Boston. She is the founder of We want Guac, a site focused on helping Gen Z on the path to wealth. She has won a Plutus Award for Best Generational Financial Literacy Content and has been featured in multiple publications and podcasts, including MarketWatch and ChooseFI. You can contact her at Twitter or Instagram

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The views expressed are general and may not be appropriate for all investors. There is no guarantee that past performance will repeat or result in a positive resultThink carefully about your financial situation, including investment goal, time horizon, risk tolerance and fees before making investment decisions. No level of diversification or asset allocation can guarantee gains or guarantee against losses.

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