In 2016, I graduated college with honors and had hoped to feel a sense of joy and accomplishment. But as I stepped out into the real world, I felt terrified. At the time, I had zero job offers and my only source of income came from sporadic waitressing gigs.
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 baseline of understanding about money that I simply didn’t have.
It was scary to see how much I needed to learn, even though I had spent the last four years focused on an education that was supposed to set me up 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 began investing in January 2017. Then, in October 2019, I woke up one day to see that my portfolio balance had passed the $100,000 mark.
I went from a recent college grad who was clueless 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 resources that made sense to me
There are countless resources out there about personal finance and investing. And when I first started researching, I felt very overwhelmed. But one day, I stumbled across the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement on Reddit’s personal finance forum, and that clicked for me.
The FIRE framework seemed like it could be broken down into specific action steps, and blogs like the Frugalwoods and Millennial Revolution helped cut through the noise for me.
So over several months, I reviewed the basics of FIRE and came up with my FIRE number of $1 million. With my new budget, I looked at my income, subtracted my spending, and figured how much I had left over to put in my IRA or other taxable accounts.
Then I focused on learning about different types of investments. I decided to start investing my money into index funds that tracked the overall stock market….
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