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Investing Your Money When You’re Still in Debt

girl staring at piggy bank

Whether you live on your own or in your parents’ basement, it’s time to think about investing your money.

We all want to get ahead.

We want to get ahead by throwing tonight’s dinner in the crock pot before departing for work in the much-too-early hours of the morning. We want to accomplish Friday afternoon’s project deadline by Thursday afternoon, so can be spent sipping coffee and perusing our favourite websites all day. We want this month’s mortgage or rent payment collected and saved early in order to avoid scrambling when the first of the month rolls around.

We all want to get ahead; in our every day actions, our responsibilities, our commitments and maybe most of all, in our finances.

Yes, like most millennials, I have debt.

Money, in my world, has been an ongoing struggle. It’s one of the reasons I moved back home with my mom after university.

But my story is not all that unique.

Many millennials work hard to get out of a financial hole after graduating. Still, even the most determined of us can fall off track. Some days we’re left feeling defeated, wondering: How will I ever get ahead?

Well, I may have an answer for you. I’m not saying it’s the answer to end all of your financial woes. But it’s one that is working for me, even though I initially pushed against the idea.

Ready? Here it is: Invest the leftovers.

I know what you’re thinking: what leftovers? The dollars and cents I have left after paying my bills each month? How will a couple bucks ever make a real difference?

That’s what I was thinking too… until I tried it for myself.

I consider myself extremely lucky to be an adult who is still living at home with the ability to get myself financially ahead. Investing was my next big move. Plus, when you are already familiar with chunks of money disappearing from your bank account, it just follows in line with the rest of your monthly automatic transactions.

Once you’ve contributed a few extra dollars towards an investment the next step is to put a plan in place.

Get Your Shit Finances Together

Establishing awareness of your own personal finances can be scary. Especially as a millennial who may still be finding your financial footing. Facing your monthly income versus your monthly expenses can smack you pretty hard in the face when first starting out.

But having a firm handle on your daily and your month-to-month finances is an excellent way to ease investing. There are a number of great articles already on The Reply that can start you down the path to daily financial stability, most of which actually motivated me to start making my own financial stability a priority.

Once you’ve contributed a few extra dollars towards an investment (or if you’re already at this stage), the next step is to put a plan in place.

Create a Financial Plan

To take the fear out of investing, you need to have a plan.

Ask yourself some basic questions: What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in five years from now? Do you want to own a house?

The key is to think long-term. Of course, the money you are setting aside can treat you (and maybe five of your closest friends) to an all-expenses-paid vacation to the sunny and unforgettable Ha-wa-ii … but when temptation grabs hold, look back at your goals, and remember, this is about saving for your future, and setting yourself up for financial freedom.

Talk to a Professional

When I first started investing, I asked my financial advisor a lot of questions, such as: What is the difference between a high-risk and medium-risk investment? How will my money grow?

I also wanted to see my investments visually to better grasp the concepts. When you are able to see a chart that shows your monthly and yearly earnings of the money you are putting into an investment, it motivates you. Watching this growth expand over a length of time confirms the extra earnings you’re setting aside are absolutely worth it. Sure, it may be “disappearing” from your bank account right now, but keep focused on those goals.

Personally, I went with a medium-risk investment because it suited my long-term goals the best. This kind of investment allows me to pull my money out of the investment when needed, with no additional setbacks and at a very little cost.

My money will grow in a pool (if you will) of money with the contributions of other investors, wherever my financial advisor advises as the best fit for gaining potential growth. This is definitely not the average millennial’s area of expertise, which is why it is important and in your best interest to talk to a professional who knows the ropes.

My Personal Investing Experience

Now that I am putting aside money each month and investing, I feel the options are truly endless, that house of mine has become more realistic to buy within the next five years.

Remember, whether it be weekly, monthly contributions, or a large sum at once, the trick is to find an investment that best suits your personal goals. This is no minimum or maximum, it’s whatever number fits your situation.

Hey, maybe you don’t believe a little goes a long way. I definitely didn’t either! But I couldn’t be happier I was proven wrong.


Katelynn Langer

Katelynn is a contributing writer at The Reply. Also a blogger and expert coffee lover, she is a fun loving, outgoing soul who simply enjoys the company of her favourite people. She is a new hire of a full time position and couldn't be more excited to start this next journey of her life. Follow her blog: katelanger.blogspot.ca.