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Today we have a guest post from Liz. Liz is a 20-something year old, independent lady trying to be a responsible adult.
Liz blogs at Ambitious Adulting.
When she is not learning about personal finance, traveling or fixing up her house, she’s running Shoutouts Hamilton and working as a researcher.
I was born in Mexico City and moved to Canada when I was 5.
My family of 6 lived in a 2-bedroom apartment, and my dad was the sole “breadwinner“.
With his broken English, he got a job in the manufacturing industry.
My family didn’t have a lot of money, but my parents had integrity, honesty and a hard-work ethic that rubbed off on me.
I knew that if I worked hard, my life could change.
Fast-forward to 2013. When I was 21, I graduated debt-free from a Canadian university.
I then bought my house when I was 24 and now, I am 26 and my net worth is $100K.
My passion for personal finance and success is the topic of my blog Ambitious Adulting because I know that ideas, action, hard work, persistence, and dedication can change the outcome of my life.
Related: When You Are Ashamed Of Being Poor
The early years
I always knew I was poor but it didn’t really bother me when I was young.
I had a roof over my head and food on the table every day.
I didn’t compare myself to others until later in elementary school.
It was in grade 5, 6, 7, and 8 when I started to realize that I was embarrassed that I couldn’t keep up with the trends.
I remember getting anxiety when I was invited to a birthday party because I wouldn’t be able to bring a nice gift.
I remember never inviting friends to play because I didn’t want them to find out I lived in a 2 bedroom apartment with my family of 6.
There were a lot of things I didn’t do growing up because we didn’t have disposable income and I grew up as a jealous but relatively happy kid.
What growing up poor taught me
1. If you want something, go get it
In my early teens, when Facebook first came out, I wasted so much time comparing myself to others. I was jealous of the vacations people were going on, and I was jealous of people’s new Juicy Couture and Holister outfits that were all the rage.
I spent so much time comparing myself to others and wishing I had what they had. In retrospect, this was not a productive use of time but it did plant a seed in my head. If I wanted what they had, I knew I had to get it myself.
2. Save for a rainy day
There were a few times in my childhood that my dad was out of work. He would take us to the library with him so he could use the computers with internet to job hunt and work on his resume.
I spent a lot of time in the library, and it taught me to enjoy free things in life. It also taught me to save up for a rainy day. Life can change in the blink of an eye so I learned to have an emergency fund and to be prepared.
This came in handy when I went through a horrible break-up and had to move out of the house I shared with my partner. For a month, I was in a rough place emotionally and mentally but after I assessed and reflected on my situation and dried my tears, I set out to buy a house.
I had enough money for a 20% down payment, and I was ready to move forward and move on pretty quickly from the breakup. Having this emergency find helped me with my self-esteem after the break up, and it showed me that patience and perseverance really pay off.
Related: 10 Simple Things We Do To Save Money
3. Be content with what you have
The 3rd lesson growing up poor taught me was to be happy with what I had. Even though we didn’t have a lot of money, I had a great family, supportive parents, nice friends and people who supported my dreams.
I don’t take this for granted. It also taught me to enjoy free things in life including nature, libraries, family time, movie nights, board game nights and getting by with what you have.
These are principles and hobbies I apply to this day.
How I grew my wealth
Since I didn’t have a lot of money, I saved as much as I could. I didn’t know how much the cost of living was when I was young so I just saved and saved because I was scared of not being able to pay my bills and tuition. I was like a squirrel in winter, collecting my food because of scarcity.
Related: 3 Weird Things We Do To Save Money
Coupled with an aggressive savings strategy, I realized that I wanted to make more money. At 26, most of my jobs have been entry-level and on contract work, but that hasn’t stopped me or discouraged me from saving.
Here’s a list of all of the jobs and things I’ve done to make money in the last 10 years
2008: babysat & waited tables
2009: applied for grants and scholarships and secured enough funds to pay for 1.5 years of university
2010-2012: worked full-time on the weekends to pay for school, applied for more scholarships, worked at the library part-time
2012-2014: worked at a co-op for school, starting investing, and got volunteer work experience
2015-present: work a 9-5 job, invest, freelance as a social media manager, work odd jobs here and there
Working non-stop comes with lots of perks including guilt-free spending. I make it a priority to travel at least 3 times a year. I eat out as much as I want without feeling bad. And I’m known to enjoy a facial every now and then.
Even though I like to spend my time working and growing my wealth, I make time in my calendar for travel and spending time with my loved ones, my partner, and my friends.
I believe in balance, and I work very hard to achieve everything I want
Results (wealth and travel goals)
$52,000 in equity on my house
$10,000 emergency fund
$3,000 fun fund
No debt other than my mortgage
Countries I’ve visited:
Road tripped across California
My mind is always churning. I am constantly on the look-out for my next project and adventure, and that’s why my blog is called Ambitious Adulting.
I strive for success and have an ambition that fuels so many of my ideas. I recognize that many of my accomplishments are because of the sacrifices my parents made to help the children get ahead in life.
Success is a combination of hard work and luck and I’m lucky to have a supportive, family, a strong body, time, a job, support for my mental health, access to resources, and a great circle of friends. Here’s to the next $100K and more adventures.