If you have read any finance articles or news that relates to money, you probably have come across being financially literate or “financial literacy.” These terms apply to how well you understand your finances and how educated you are in everyday financial decisions.
Unfortunately, financial education isn't something that is taught in schools and often relies on parents to teach their children the beginning of how to handle money. Financial literacy, at its core, is a lifelong journey but most don't "get it" until they've hit rock bottom.
For some, that is in the middle of their schooling when their financial obligations are at their highest and their funds are often at their lowest. That's exactly what happened to me even though my parents had shown me how to be frugal with my money. I don't remember a specific lecture or lesson (although I was given a few books on money management that didn't cover how steep divorce costs a person), but saw how they valued money and is something that sticks out to me even today. It was just hard to follow that example when one is almost homeless and has to live off $20k USD a year...
The Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) movement has been around for a while, but over the last few years I've seen what seems to be a rising number of millennials saving or investing the majority of their income in order to retire early. While I would love to be amongst them, I'm just not in a current position to join... however, I have been inspired to use aspects of the frugal principles to grow my savings and overall net worth for the last few years.
It was during this season of being "rock bottom" that sparked a radical change in me and I became truly interested in working on my financial literacy. Even today, I continue to learn about financial independence and personal finance by watching free videos, listening to podcasts, and reading books (see just some of my recommendations here).
I often get asked why I like to save/invest or why I care so much about money, and the answer is very simple: I love the freedom that comes with being financially secure. When someone is financially independent, you can work less, travel the world, and make life choices based around what you want to do, not what you need to do to survive. Money truly is empowering as a tool to live the life you truly want to live.
My current plan
For now I am focusing more on investing, not solely saving (since saving alone will not result in achieving FI or "financial indepence" due to inflation). I am at a place in my life that I am comfortable with my emergency fund (a bank account with money set aside to pay for large, unexpected expenses - I talk about it here) and other saving goals that I want to invest as much of my income as possible.
What I am using*
The following are apps that I am using to achieve my financial goals. Note, these investing platforms are primarily Australian because that is where I live.
I started out about a year ago using the platforms Raiz (you get $5 if you use the affiliate code "KKDG5Q") and Spaceship (you get $10 if you invest at least $5 and use the affiliate code "S8LRPTY7HK") since they allowed me to invest with as little as $5 without paying any brokerage fees. After a year of microinvesting through those apps I "graduated" to Pearler (you get $9.50 credits towards your investment brokerage costs if you use this referral link).
my tips for your own journey
Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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