I’ve never been great with money, to be honest, it’s always kind of stressed me out. My approach to personal finance in my 20s was to just not look at my bank account. But I made a promise to myself that before I turned 30, I would become more proactive about my finances. So, when I was 29-and-three-quarters, I became a client of our Direct Investment Service (Charles Stanley Direct).
As a total novice to investing, everything initially felt overwhelming. Even something as straightforward as choosing what account to open was enough to send me spiralling. So, I reached out to my colleague, stock market and finance expert Rob Morgan, grabbed my camera, and started to document my investing journey.
I filmed my entire sign up process, questions that I had for Rob, and my thoughts along the way. To be honest, the way that I felt about it all took me by surprise.
I’ve always known that money is extremely emotive, but what I didn’t anticipate was to be feeling resentful towards some of the barriers that I was encountering.
The biggest roadblock on my path to financial literacy was a simple one: The language that is used by most financial institutions makes investing feel inaccessible to ‘normal’ people – and if you don’t have an economics or finance degree then you don’t deserve a seat at the investing table. However, everyone should have the opportunity to feel financially safe, and the key to that shouldn’t be hidden behind barriers of financial jargon.
So came my mission: I would document my investing journey, only using language and concepts that felt understandable to someone like me.
What started as three ‘Erica’s Investing Journey’ videos, has now grown into a significant resource that is perfect for anyone who is looking to get started – but doesn’t know how to take that leap.
I wouldn’t call myself an expert (yet), but every day that I learn more about investing I feel increasingly more empowered about the future of my finances. I still have a long way to go, but it feels so good to know that I am finally on track.
Three things to do before you get started:
- Make sure you are contributing to your pension plan through work.
- Pay off any high-interest debt (credit cards and high-interest rate loans).
- Have an emergency fund (3-6 months of bills, to keep in a savings account).
Words of wisdom:
You don’t need to know everything about a car, its engine, and all its parts, in order to drive it, right? The same goes for investing. You don’t have to know everything about it in order to start participating, you just need to understand the basics.
Your side hustle doesn’t necessarily have to be arduous. If you are investing, your money is doing the work for you.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second-best time is today.” This is a Chinese Proverb, which is now one of the most famous investing quotes.
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My investment journey
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