INVESTING IS IMPORTANT
Before starting out on my personal finance journey, I was living paycheck to paycheck, spinning the debt hamster wheel. There was just enough money each month for me to cover expenses and attempt to build a small savings that would surely be depleted faster than it could ever grow.
As a young creative working various gigs, retirement wasn't a thought for me. I assumed I would work in the endless cycle of art jobs until death. It didn't make me sad, I simply assumed this was a career in the arts looked like.
There has been a lot of unlearning for me the last few years around what being a professional artist looks like. One of the biggest misconceptions I held is artists are expected to suffer for their work and be thankful for any opportunity. If you want money, you're not really an artist or are doing it for the wrong reasons.
This is simply not true, and preparing for retirement is INCREDIBLY important. Especially for creatives and freelancers who work in non traditionally structured jobs with very few benefits.
ACORNS : MY FIRST STEP INTO INVESTING
When I was struggling with cash management, I knew the importance of long term investing. I didn't completely understand the process, compounding interest, or time in the market, but I'd heard these things in passing.
My partner, who has a background in economics and app development mentioned to me in passing an app called Acorns. He knew I liked tricking myself into saving and said Acorns was a place I could set this up and start investing. I made a note to look it up later and signed up the next day after doing some research on the company.
Acorns operates on the belief that small investments will grow over time. You can invest as little as $5 a month and link your debit card to the account. You can opt to have Acorns round up each purchase you make and invest that money. There are many ways to take advantage of an Acorns account, which makes it a great option for beginner investors.
When I signed up in 2018, I opened a Roth IRA and general investment account. Still not knowing all of the nuances, I set small recurring deposits, round ups and started saving. The money coming out of my checking account was so small, I hardly noticed it. Every so often, I'd add a little extra. Other than that, I left the account alone and didn't look at it much.
FAST FORWARD TO NOW
When I began working with Sara, my trainer at The Financial Gym, those investment accounts I didn't think about very often had some money there. Even though it wasn’t a lot, it was something! She explained to me what each account was and the benefits and uses of each.
At the time, I had high interest consumer debt and no emergency fund. Investing wasn't the main goal, but we kept the tiny recurring deposits giong while I worked on other goals.
Working with Sara, I've been able to close my earning and spending gap. In this time, I've built an emergency savings, sinking funds, and paid off a chunk of high interest credit card debt. Making progress on these goals opens up money for other goals, part of which is saving for future me.
At our latest meeting, Sara ran the numbers and told me how much I am able to start investing moving forward. I was THRILLED. The best part, I don’t have to start at square one. The accounts I currently have set up with Acorns are perfectly fine for my savings goals. Instead of starting at $0, there was roughly $1,000 I'd saved in tiny chunks over the last few years. Those small savings over time added up more than I imagined they would.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE AN EXPERT
Using Acorns has shown me being patient over time can lead to great reward, even with small efforts. $5 every other week and round-ups on my debit card alone set a small foundation for my current investing goals.
If you are self-employed or work for a company that doesn’t provide some sort of retirement plan, it is important you take saving for your future into your hands. When it comes to investing, you don’t have to be an expert and certainly don’t have to be rich.
It is all about TIME in the market. Every little bit truly helps. You don't have to know everything about investing. You don't even have to pick individual stocks. Don't worry about investing perfectly, just get started.
If you want to get started with something simple like Acorns, you can use MY LINK to get $5 once you start investing.
Tell me about your financial journey progress. Do you invest while paying down debt? What robo advisors do you like to use? Let me know in the comments.