Debt Free: I am not there yet, but I am well on my way…

When I had my first meeting with my financial advisor, he was baffled. I was running a deficit of over $30,000 Jamaican Dollars (JD) every month yet, somehow I managed to survive. I needed more income and I needed to cut expenses but all of my expenses at that time were necessary. I was a part time student in University who had just bought a second vehicle (the first one was totalled in an accident and the current one had just crashed). There was literally no wiggle room.

About a year later, he introduced me to another client of his who was financially savvy, and had more time on his hands to labour with me on this journey. Let’s call this friend D. D was the most unconventional person I have ever met. I thought he was a lunatic and very extreme. Until little by little, I started to see how what he said made sense. So I tried his advice. He gave me tons! Finance, health, personal development, fitness, you name it, D knew about it! And not to worry, I will share some of his tips with you…I am sure he would oblige. But shhh, don’t tell him!

Another year later (2019), I made my first stock purchase. Was I nervous? Gosh, nervousness was the least of my issues. I had not a single clue about what I was doing! Everyone was talking about Wigton Windfarm and so I jumped in with both feet. I did not know what a stock was. I did not understand the prospectus. Pros-what? What is that? I read it perfunctorily, stood in the long line, signed the paperwork, gave them to my banker and left without even as much as a confirmation (please don’t do that, unless you really trust the person!). I did not know what allocation of shares was. I just kept calling her to find out what had transpired! Where was the money and how would I know when I got whatever shares were?

It is now 2020. I have more financial responsibilities, more or less the same pay yet I have invested more (with a better understanding) and saved more than I did with less financial responsibilities. How did I get here? Here are tips I have gained from my many financial, wealth and investment “advisors”.

  1. Write down everything you spend your money on! It will amaze you how much you actually waste. You’d be surprised at how many things you don’t really need. Yes the $2.00 JD candy is included!

  2. Get rid of every excuse as to why you can’t start now. You don’t need $1M to start. Start with whatever you have and build, little by little. Slowly but steadily.

  3. Pay yourself 10%. If you are a Christian who tithe, your 10% comes right out after God’s. That 10% is what you will use to invest or save. This is a principle adapted from the book The Richest Man in Babylon. It is not a sin to be rich. How else will we fund God’s Kingdom and do the work He has foreordained and predestined for us?

  4. When you are ready to invest, there are several ways to get started: Unit trusts where funds are pooled. You can use the drip strategy where you take one third of what you’ve budgeted for investment to purchase a stock that you have evaluated. If it was a good deal, use another third and so on. You can also look at bonds and alternate types of investments. Did you know that you can invest a portion of your life insurance? Yes!

  5. Once you’ve put the money down, forget about it! What money? You don’t have it! Instead go and create another stream of income. What are you good at? Get paid for it! What do you love and are passionate about? Get paid for that too!

  6. NEVER FORGET THE EMERGENCY FUND! And the situation should be pretty close to lethal for it to be considered an emergency.

  7. Follow websites and persons who are talking about money. These will vary a bit depending on where you currently reside. I follow http://www.icinsider.com, http://www.jamstockex.com and http://www.caribbeanvalueinvestor.com to name a few. I am subscribed to YouTube channels hosted by Devrhoid Davis and Kalilah Reynolds.

  8. Read. Rich people or people who are serious about money are constantly reading. Don’t have any money to purchase a book? No problem! It is not an excuse. I listened to the Richest Man in Babylon freeeeeee on YouTube!!

  9. Read. Books such as Rich Dad Poor Dad, Millionaire Next Door…Oh Gosh, this list is too long for this post!

  10. I am not certain I said it before: READ!! Read well. Read often. Read voraciously. Devour everything that you can lay eyes, ears and hands on. [This is applicable to anything that you need to learn.]

So am I fully debt free? Am I rich? Not yet! But I am well on my way. I have changed my mindset, spending habits, literature that I read and I am steadfast. Rome was not built in one day, neither were my faulty ideologies and habits. Likewise, my riches and financial freedom won’t come in one day but they will certainly come ONE DAY! It will take unrelenting discipline and sacrifice. But hey, I am willing to sacrifice some things now, in order to have the life I truly want later!

I am also very much inclined to helping others start their journey. That’s the whole point of the “financial” section of this blog. I am not a financial advisor, I can recommend a few if you’d like. However, we can learn together…I promise, whatever I learn, you’ll read about it too! Get cracking!

Are you on your way yet?

GMW

#Jamaicanblogger #moneymanagement #Jamaica #finance #investment #debtfree

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