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A single mum in the US has revealed the six steps she took to save up $750,000 (£539,906) in four years.
Lakisha Simmons, from Nashville, Tennessee, went through a divorce in 2017 which vastly altered her financial situation. With a mortgage and two children under the age of 10 to worry about, paying the bills was a big concern, and she was determined to reach a comfortable position.
Speaking to Business Insider, she said: "The financial insecurity was weighing on me so heavy. I didn't want to be in a position where I couldn't take care of myself. Like, what does it take for me to just live off of investments?"
Now the associate professor of analytics at Belmont University is sitting pretty having achieved her goal, meaning she can stop working whenever she likes.
She managed to rack up more than half a million quid's worth of financial security in just a few years through the following six key steps:
. Reading personal finance books
As any good professor would, she swotted up, reading blogs and finding tips relevant to her situation.
. Selling her home
While she was reluctant to do it, Lakisha realised the house was her largest unnecessary expense, and downsizing enabled her to invest the profit in a brokerage account.
. Tracking her expenses
It's one thing to check your balance after a night out, it's another to plan your budget for the year on a spreadsheet. She also used budgeting app Mint to track her daily spending.
. Cutting her monthly bills
This is an obvious step but it can be tricky in practice. Lakisha was able to find many more affordable alternatives though, switching to a cheaper supermarket and mobile contract, and getting rid of cable TV.
. Maxing out her tax-advantaged retirement accounts
This will take some figuring out with your employer, but basically by maxing out her tax-advantaged retirement accounts, she was able to contribute about a third of her income to her pension plan.
. Contributing to a brokerage account
Again this took some research, but she invested across index funds and exchange-traded funds, in order to keep her portfolio diversified.
She explained: "To become financially independent, I just needed to switch my mindset from spending money, to saving money, to investing money. Because the investments have grown so much, way more than I could have even saved over the years."
But while Lakisha may now be somewhat of a money saving expert, it wasn't always that way; she had to put in a lot of graft to be in the position she is in today.
Her website explains: "She's not from a 'wealthy' family. She bounced around schools, lived with and was raised by multiple family members, and felt hopeless as a child.
"But she had to shift her mindset and develop grit and hustle to get there. But when she learned that financial freedom could be as simple as shifting from saving to investing, everything changed."
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