Only when I moved out of university, did I realised how many clothes I had. I had so many things, I don't even know how I fit them into my tiny wardrobe. At university, I had my very first job and of course I only spent my money on clothes and booze. I had 0 savings at the time.
When I started my first job, I forced myself to invest 10% of my salary into the company shares in a monthly savings plan. At the time, the money was taken directly from my salary, which for me was the only way to put money aside.
Many years went by, with me not knowing how much I spend on what. Until I had to do my taxes for the first time, that is when I started to take things seriously. Now I am totally nerdy, I create an Excel Sheet with clusters of my expenses. Sometimes it is astonishing, how much I actually spend on clothes and cosmetics. Doing this ever 2 months keeps me in check, and I can balance my expenses better. I also send money on a monthly basis to my depot. Currently, I only have a savings plan for the ETF: MSCI World.
If I can do it, so can you.
Follow these steps to financial wellbeing:
1. Get your bank statements from the past year and either download them from your bank account directly into Excel, or use an app to cluster your expenses. (Numbrs is an app from in Switzerland, it connects your bank accounts, and doesn't sell your data)
2. Analyse your spendings from before Corona, and during Corona, what were the major things that changed? Read on an experts opinion on why you should still by that latte.
3. Set a goal of how much you want to put aside a month
4. If you have dept, pay it off.
5. Open a depot with e.g. Comdirect.de, their transaction prices are quite low, compared to the competition.
6. Start sending your monthly savings to your depot. This makes sense, because your depot is free (e.g. for the first 3 years and then 4Euros/year) and your money is more accessible than a regular savings account. Also, it encourages you to start investing, slowly but surely.
7. If you need an emergency fund (because you don't live in Germany with a stable social system), set a savings goal, before you use the money to start investing. Read this article by former Wallstreet Ceo Sallie Krawcheck Watch Mrs. Dow Jones video what to do before investing.
8. Start learning about the stock market. You don't have to start immediately, but start by watching Warren Buffets 7 investing tips. There is a whole book you can read called the Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, he was Warren Buffets Professor. The audio book is very long and very dry, but very interesting.
9. Remember that the stock market is not equal to the real economy. Watch this video for more information, or read about how to evaluate the current covid-19 crisis
10. Now we told you what not to do, but here is what you CAN do:
- Invest consistently read about how to do that
- Invest long term, grow with the market, don't try to outperform it
- Invest in e.g. ETFs, or companies in an industry that you understand. Watch this 20 min video tutorial with a free spreadsheet on how to analyse a stock.
- For our German natives these two blogs by Fortunalista or Madame Moneypenny give good insights.
Your money is a piece of your independence, take care of it, don't just wish upon a star.