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Hello, I am Ann. I have been investing for >2 years since graduation. My Personal Finance journey began after coming across the FIRE movement when I was an undergraduate.

I spent hours binge reading finance blogs (a “financial awakening” period) and learnt so much from all the bloggers. They taught me how to be savvy with my finances and avoid their mistakes.

Since then, I have accumulated $100K by age 25, by maximising my savings rate while living a fulfilling life. Here’s what I did

1. Increase income

  • Managed my career

I moved to a company with a higher growth potential and secured a role with greater responsibilities.

Transitioning to a new job, negotiating for your salary, asking for a promotion and networking are intimidating. 

These books helped me so much in navigating my career

When to jump: The four steps to leave your unfulfilling job - listen to the little voice, make a plan, let yourself be lucky and don’t look back

Never eat alone: The specific steps and inner mindset necessary to develop a network of relationships 

Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn't, And Why: The secrets to climbing the career ladder and strategies for career advancement

  • Have side hustles

I have multiple side hustles and a 9-5 job to strengthen my financial safety net.

My 9-5 role made up the bulk of income and my side hustles cover my monthly expenses.

I have 2 side hustles.  

  1. I teach Math. My primary side hustle takes advantage of my existing strengths. So it's moderately effortless and I find an immense amount of joy doing it.

2. I'm a freelance digital marketer. My secondary side hustle gives me the opportunity to hone my skills and future-proof myself.

Time management is really the key to make the most out of my weekend for these side hustles. These books help me to sharpen my focus

Books: 

  • Work clean: The life-changing power of mise-en-place to organize your life, work and mind
  • 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Right Things Done
  • Master your time, master your life: The Breakthrough System to Get More Results, Faster, in Every Area of Your Life

Time management techniques that I use

  • 80/20 Principle: I concentrate on the most important 20% of the tasks to achieve more with lesser effort, time and resources.
  • Pomodoro technique: To get more done without interruptions, I work in 25 minute intervals, with 5 minute breaks in between.

I invest in Index funds, Reits, Bonds and Stocks after I built up sufficient emergency funds and purchased my insurance

  1. Index funds

After I set aside funds for insurance and emergency situations, I started my investing journey with index funds. It’s the ultimate solution for beginners who want investing to be efficient and simplified. Index funds are a smart investment because it tends to perform better over the long term.

Investing your time to hone and pick up the necessary skills provide a greater ROI, than spending hours doing research. You probably might not have enough capital to make significant returns in your early 20s. Therefore, the most efficient way to make money is through side-hustling and being good at your job.

Spend your 20's in acquiring skills, building income streams and accumulating assets 

  • Individual stocks

I started to invest in individual stocks in May 2020 and took interest in technology and growth stocks such as Tesla, Lemonade and Revolve. I also took the time to learn from experienced investors via courses, before the pivot.

As your capital grows and you feel more comfortable in picking stocks, you can make the pivot gradually.

  • Reits 

I wrote about my reits portfolio here

It’s really important to never stop learning, and adopt a growth mindset. Investing can be overwhelming but it is financially rewarding. You can start small with index funds while taking your time to understand how stock picking works. These are the books on investment which I really enjoy

Books:  

  • The intelligent investor
  • A random walk down wall street
  • The little book of value investing
  1. Decrease expenses

I have a high savings rate generally (>50%) as I adopt a minimalistic way of living. But Covid-19 showed me how I could reduce my spending even more. It's interesting to observe the differences in my expenditure pre-Covid and during Covid.

This means that my savings rate could be even higher by eating out lesser. But I don’t compromise the quality of my life in order to reach F.I. earlier. I know I would be happier in spending on things and experiences that I truly value (food and travel).

Side note: it is okay to buy what you truly desire and makes you happy

Here’s how I manage the biggest expenditures: food, transport, shopping and housing.

- Food: Bringing lunch to work and having my dinner at home at least 4 times a week saves me >$200 a month.

-Transport: I rarely cab. Since I listen to podcasts or catch up on my readings (you could probably guess that I am a huge bookworm by now), taking public transportation is alright.

-Shopping: I typically make my purchases annually/bi-annually on non-necessities. I try to purchase quality items that can withstand the test of time and find alternatives (getting a iMac instead of a Macbook).

- Housing: I live with my parents

We are conditioned to be consumers, with advertising messages telling us what we need to own in order to feel a certain way. Adopting the habit of consuming mindfully and letting it be ingrained into your lifestyle takes work.

The truth is, we can manage our expenses by spending smarter and learning how not to misthink money. 

There are ways to overcome biases and think better, in order to make better money decisions. 

These books taught me how to outwit marketing tactics, manage psychological triggers of influence and make better money decisions.

  • Dollars and Sense: challenges many of our most basic assumptions about the precarious relationship between our brains and our money.
  • The Art of Thinking Clearly: summarizes a variety of biases that affect our thinking and decision-making.
  • Your money or your life: rethink your relationship with money and achieving financial independence

3) Psychology of Success  

There's a big difference between money and wealth. Money is what you earn as you contribute your time. Wealth is the assets that work for you. You want to seek wealth, not money over the long run

To build wealth, you need to have a success-oriented mindset, in order to move towards the fulfilment of your full potential and build wealth. 

  • Mindset shifts to maximise your potential   
  • Thinking big and setting goals
  • Developing habits that fuel your success
  • Reframing failures and letting go of self-limitations 

Here’s some of my favourites

  • Desire map: goal setting mechanism guided by your desire
  • The magic of thinking big: self-belief as the most important tool to become a success
  • Atomic habits: a guide to break bad behaviors and adopt good ones in four steps
  • 7 Habits of highly effective people: Be proactive, Begin with an end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand, then be understood, synergize and sharpen the saw
  • Essentialism: pursuing the principles of less but better as a disciplined way of life
  • Millionaire Fastlane: redefine wealth and the path to retire young

Here's the list of all the articles on my website. Subscribe to get notified when a new post is up!

Thank you for visiting. I hope you enjoy the site!

- Ann, Scrappy Finance

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