How to Start Investing When You're Earning Pennies & Broke


I have spent most of my life looking for ways to earn a living, but in that time I also ignored the hundred ways I could save or invest money.

When I was younger, I used to hop from one job to another, looking for easy work and disregarding the meager salary in favor of constant money flow. I focused on just getting by.

My money after work was spent with colleagues in music bars and on unplanned getaways over the weekends.

But everything changed when I got into debt in 2012 and owed $675 to a friend for helping me with my younger sister’s hospital fees. I was extremely broke when this happened and I still needed more money to assist her after care treatments.

Having that debt made me question why I didn’t have enough of my own money and I felt ashamed that I had to depend on others to save my sister’s life. It might be a small amount for some but it derailed me for a long while; the weight was heavy, my self-esteem was low, I felt incapable and demotivated. The truth hit me — I was young and broke.

Not having enough money impacts our financial state

The American Psychological Association has been conducting a survey since 2007 to measure and examine the condition of stress across the country and understand its impact. Their recent 2017 survey showed that 62% of Americans find money as the perennial stressor, with almost the same rating from the previous years. Most common money-related problems include: housing or rental, student loans, daily basic needs, unexpected expenses, and saving for retirement.

It’s hard to admit that scarcity of money will lead us to overthink, deprive us from sleep and might cause insomnia. For some, this would cause anxiety, depression, violence and other mental problems. Money affects how we think, our emotions, personality and our decision making.


The emotional impact of feeling financially insecure


I used to wonder how much my boss made, and how much money his personal cash-in-transit service provider collected every time. My boss might not be aware of my personal financial struggles but I was looking up to him to inspire me to do better. I started by saving little by little from my small salary, tried to understand my money flow and strategized my own financial journey.

Four years later, I had finally paid the money I owed. This experience made me realize that we’re only young once and a job is not forever. I needed money to prepare for the future: for health, for emergencies, for retirement and for the ones that I’ll be going to leave behind. It was then that I felt fully free; and goodness, I was able to travel around the country again —responsibly this time.


Investing is about securing your future


Last year, I invested in a 100 square meter lot sold by a friend of mine who works part-time as a real estate agent. Hopefully everything will go smoothly and the lot will be mine in a few years’ time.

This makes me proud of myself, because I didn’t ask for my parents’ or anyone’s help, and it revived my self-confidence, which made me realize that I’m capable of doing a lot more financially. I used to think that money attracts everything, but it’s actually the good vibrations and our positive attitude towards achieving our goals that attracts the money we want.

People usually use their lack of money as the primary excuse for not investing.

But when will money ever be enough? When you reach 45? 50? 60 or too old to count?

Investing while you’re broke is possible; you just need to make that mindset shift. 

For instance, when you get promoted with a higher pay, your cost of living and lifestyle will also upgrade. And by the time this happens, you will forget about investing and drown in your upgraded lifestyle, you will then forget about saving money, and regretfully, you’d be back to square one.

So change your mindset – keep your expenses the same, even as your income increases.

The right time to invest is now, while you still have an income. The right time to save is today, when you’re still young and capable.

Sure, money can’t buy happiness or love, but it can give us the comfort that we need to survive the tough times, to help us get by and live — a little bit more.

Guest blog  by Wendy Anderson over at: