I started on my own personal finance journey around February 2020. I always wondered if I’d ever get round to blogging about it. My technology content has helped millions over the years – but personal finance is something very close to my heart.
Not too long after I read my first few “things” (I can’t recall what exactly the beginning of my journey consisted of) COVID-19 reared its ugly head and the world imploded. Stock markets crashed, people became furloughed (this was a totally new phenomenon to me) and 30-something-year-olds who entered the job market in 2008 were really annoyed.
Had I been prepared like I am today, I could have capitalised on this opportunity of a lifetime. And that’s where this blog post and any future publications under “Personal Finance” come in. I want to help others be more prepared than I was for when it happens again (because it will).
To be frank, my relationship with money and finance has been very toxic my whole life – it still is – but when I begain to address that relationship, I saw the world through a different lens. This new perspective has helped me achieve so much more and I would like to gift it to you (in return for advertising dollars, ha!).
Slowly but surely. Forget what the f0rex bros and crypt0 bros are trying to sell you. Without good luck, there is no get rich quick scheme. Getting rich requires deliberate effort, sacrifice, consistency and time. And it is time that a seven year old has over you which will make them rich.
My approach to investing is one an intelligent seven year old would take. A long-term outlook. Long-term means something different to everyone. For you it might be 40 years, or maybe even as little as 3 years. It doesn’t matter. The important thing here is that you understand it’s about you. Forget what the others are doing, and focus on yourself.
Would you believe me if I told you there’s and investme-…
Sorry, this is starting to sound like a f0rex bro pitch. But I promise you, it really isn’t.
To put it simply, a seven year old can have £67,393.18 by the time they’re 25 years old by “saving” only £100 per month. They won’t need to work a job, trade forex, understand the blockchain or even graduate from primary school. They just need to be consistent for 18 years. 18 years of consistency is the real challenge for a seven year old seeking fortunes.
An index is a collection of stocks and shares traded on the stock market. There are indexes for countries (FTSE for the UK, NASDAQ for the US, SHCOMP for China), indexes for industries like technology, automotive, clean energy and cloud computing as well as other miscellaneous indexes created by individuals and organisations. The best way to think of it is a basket filled with stocks from companies around the world. If you already have a portfolio of stocks you have invested in, you could one day call it the “Fool’s Index” if you can convince enough people to want to invest in exactly the same options as you.
Anyway, indexes allow you to purchase a tiny slice of each stock they track. As a result, when the stocks collectively move up or down in price, the price of the index changes to reflect that.
A seven year old can have almost £70,000 before they’re 25 by investing £100 per month in to an index that grows on average 11% per year. Some indexes grow way more than this – like $QQQQ which grew 184% between March 2020 and March 2021. Other indexes may be closer to the average of 11%, whilst some might even fail miserably and shrink (in other words loose you money!).
As an example, if you invested £100 in to $QQQQ around March 2020, by March 2021 you could sell your position £284 giving you a healthy profit. In the same way, if you invested £100 in to an index that shrunk by 10% you would lose £10. And let’s not forget, in theory there is a small possibility every company tracked by an index goes bankrupt meaning you loose all of your money. Scary!
But we’re here for a journey of growth. Not throwing away our hard earned cash. And that’s why the hardest thing a seven year old needs to decide is which index fund will bring them the highest average growth year after year? If a seven year old can’t decide which colour crayon they want to use, how on earth can they decide which index fund will get the results they need?
This is where the seven year old beats you again. They’re not really interested in spending time managing their investments. They have better things to do like splash in a pool and draw on walls!
What I mean is, on this journey of personal finance both you and I will be tempted and swayed along the way by opportunities presented to us that could make us rich. For example, Bitcoin. Oh, how much money we could have made (or lost!) if we gave in to the peer pressure. But a seven year old doesn’t really care about Bitcoin or get rich quick schemes.
We can mimic the seven year olds disinterested by leveraging automation automation. When we automate our investments, we can put those thoughts to the back of our mind and get on with our lives. The seven year old can spend their childhood playing with lego, attending high school, maybe even university and then one day – BOOM. £70,000.
This is the mechanism I follow for investing. Long-term results.
The purpose of this post wasn’t to educate you at all. It was more to get me writing and sharing my thoughts. I promise you future posts will be informative and will have actionable steps you can take and apply to your own personal finance journey.
But there was one point I wanted to make clear in this post.
The best time to start taking your personal finance seriously was ten years ago. The second best time is today. I hope the seven year old analogy highlights this. Investing isn’t hard, especially if you automate it. But it does take deliberate effort, sacrifice and consistency over longer periods of time – ie the 18 years between 7 and 25 years old.
When you consider it more carefully (and assuming you can afford it), the sacrifice isn’t really that much. If £100/month gets you to £70,000. Imagine what £200/month could do for you!?
In the next post I’ll write about identifying an Index fund that works for your goals. There is actually mathematics behind my strategy that makes it almost impossible to loose in the long term. I’ll share this with you when I next get a chance to sit down and write. In the meantime, do your own research on Index funds and long-term outlooks. That way, if I say anything that glosses over the truth you can call me out on it.
Thank you for dropping by, I’d love to get your thoughts over on Twitter.