FOLLOW THESE 5 STEPS AND NEVER WORK AGAIN
Many of us sacrifice our time, energy and even our dreams in exchange for payment. Many of us also wish that that wasn’t the case. We want to give up the 9-5 and finally gain both financial independence and the ability to do what we want whilst making money as we go.
Since making my first trade 5 years ago, I have managed to turn £15,000 into enough capital to quit my full-time job before the age of 30. Alongside learning everything I could about the stock market, here are the 5 steps that I took to achieve financial independence:
1. CREATE AN EMERGENCY FUND
An emergency fund is a chunk of money that we set aside to cover any financial surprises or unforeseen circumstances that life sends our way (e.g. car breaking down, a dental emergency or even losing employment). To create this, I recommend calculating your monthly expenses (accommodation, bills etc), saving enough money to cover you for 3 months and setting this amount aside.
Until you have this safety net in place, I wouldn’t think about putting your money to work elsewhere. However, you will be making an investment decision here and that is where you’ll leave this stash of cash so that it can grow as fast as possible. As an emergency fund is a portion of your wealth that you need to be able to access quickly if needed, you can only really lock it away in a debit or savings account. However, do make sure that you spend some time looking for the account with the highest interest available. Even a savings account that provides you with 1-2% interest will mean that you’re earning money each year by doing literally nothing!
2. PAY OFF ANY HIGH INTEREST DEBT
We all know that it doesn’t feel good to see your hard-earned money being spent on paying off debt but the sooner that it’s paid off, the better! For example, if you currently have a student loan, you are likely being charged an average amount of 2.5% interest in the UK or 4% interest in the US. Every month that you’re not in debt, you could essentially count that interest as extra money that you wouldn’t have previously had. In fact, if you are in debt, this is the easiest way to start earning interest back.
3. START SAVING TO BUY A HOME
If, like the majority of young people, you’re renting your home then your accommodation costs are likely to be your single biggest monthly expense. Unfortunately, there’s no way around the fact that you’ll never see a penny of that money back. If you owned your house however then, although you would potentially be paying back equally high mortgage repayments, around 96% of what you pay will essentially be going back to you!
Because of this, buying a home should be your very first big investment once that emergency fund is in place and debt is paid off, so my advice is to start saving asap!
Where you store this portion of money while you’re saving depends on how long you think it will take you to save for a deposit:
0-1 year - I’d suggest a high interest savings account (I recommend having a look around for this. I use an app called Moneybox which grows my savings by 1.65%).
1-3 years - I’d go for a longer fixed term ISA or Innovative Finance ISA (Again, do research this but the current popular ISA’s include the 3 year fixed term ISA with Barclays bank and the IF ISA with Zopa or Ratesetter).
3-5 years - Consider investing these savings in the stock market. The stock market is relatively unpredictable over the short term but over the long term (3 years or more) you can be more confident that your money will grow.
Also, make sure to look out for any government initiatives that are designed to help people to purchase their first home (In the UK for example there is a great option called a Lifetime ISA. For every £100 you save, the government will give you an additional £25 if you are putting this money towards your first home).
4. INVEST IN THE STOCK MARKET
Ok now that you’ve got your emergency fund in place, you’re out of debt and you have enough for a deposit on a home, the next step is to start to look at more traditional investment methods. This is where trading comes in as the stock market is historically the best way to save and grow your money over the long term.
Over the past 90 years, the average annual return of the stock market has been about 10% so, if you were to invest £3,000 in the stock market today and continued to save and add around £200 per month for the next 25 years, you would have made over £300,000 (despite investing only £60,000) if the stock market continued the way it has. That’s enough money for most of us to retire and live off the interest!
How much you regularly invest should depend on what you can afford but I would personally add around 50% of any unused savings I am left with at the end of the month to my stock portfolio.
For a step by step guide on how exactly to start investing in the stock market, check out my guide to investing (coming soon) or open a free trading account with the worlds leading social investment platform ETORO by clicking HERE!
5. START TAKING RISKS
Hopefully before getting to this stage you’ve been sensible, followed the previous 4 steps and stuck to the long-term approach to investing that has put you on the path to making enough money for an early retirement and financial independence in the future. This is when you can start swinging for the fences so to speak!
After covering your expenses and adding to your long-term portfolio of stocks and shares, you can now use any additional capital for higher risk investments. This could be anything! Maybe there’s a business idea that you’ve always wanted to go for? A qualification that you want to obtain before going for that dream career change? Or perhaps you want to save for a sabbatical so that you can take some time out to travel? No matter what it is, the trick to making high risk investments work is to calculate your risk by balancing emotions and logic.
For example, a few years ago I decided to take a risk and invest quite a large sum of money in cryptocurrency including Bitcoin, Ethereum & XRP. My emotions told me that this was a big risk but something that I could potentially make a lot of money on. Logic told me that if cryptocurrency were to fail in it’s attempt to become an alternative to traditional banking and fiat currency then it could be worth 0. On the other hand logic also told me that, if it were to succeed then my investment could increase by 10x or more. After some research into the potential disruptive capability of cryptocurrency and balancing my emotions and logic, I felt that the reward potential far outweighed the risk and that this was exactly the kind of high-risk investment that I wanted to go for.
Depending on how you’re doing financially at the moment and where you’re starting this process, these steps can take anywhere from 1 year to 25+ years to achieve. This might feel like a long time but the sooner that you start managing your finances correctly, the sooner you can make your money work for you, so that you don’t have to! One way to potentially double your money would be to invest in the following 10 stocks that I think will double in 2020, click HERE to check them out!
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