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Djamilla on the Magic of Talking About Investing #InvestingTruths

Written by The Inspired Investor Team | Published on September 22, 2021

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During the pandemic, 24-year-old Djamilla1 found herself spending money online to ease her anxieties – which she quickly realized was impacting her savings. “There's no way that I can continue doing this based on where I want to go and all the things I want to achieve," the Montreal-based media founder and model remembers thinking to herself. “I started learning about how to budget, how to save and how to invest."

Since then, the Ivory Coast native's investing journey has challenged her to unlearn some preconceptions she grew up with. “My financial education was basically: 'save money, because you never know what will come up tomorrow.' I did not grow up with the idea that my money could make money."

Djamilla is also passionate about confronting taboos she sees in relation to women talking about money and taking risks. Now a more confident investor, Djamilla discusses the magic of talking openly about money and investing, learning from her mistakes, and embracing her creative side as an investor.

Why all her goals are long-term:

One strategy Djamilla uses to stay motivated is taking a long-term view of even her near- and medium-term goals. “I'm investing to prep for my future: a house, a car and to pursue a master's degree – because those don't come cheap!" she laughs, adding that she's also building a retirement account. “But if I had to describe the true purpose of why I invest, it's really to be able to build generational wealth, and to give back to my family and community. I don't want future generations of my family to be missing money."

Speaking up about money:

Djamilla says she's noticed more people having frank conversations about finances since the pandemic started – and to her, that's a good thing. Her own breakthrough moment came when she met a fellow African woman who helped her navigate the early stages of investing. “To be able to talk to another woman about money, freely, and to start learning new things that I didn't know… I felt like she was a type of mother figure to me," says Djamilla. “I find that when I can relate to somebody, I can grasp the information better. When someone is transparent about the mistakes they've made, the lessons they've learned and the success they've had – that's what makes someone a good teacher at the end of the day."

On making mistakes:

“A benefit of starting to invest early is the fact that you have more time to accumulate wealth," says Djamilla. “But I also know that I also have more time and space to make mistakes." Armed with this mindset, she says she considers making mistakes an important part of her learning process.

One such lesson: Djamilla recalls a setback in her long-term goals to satisfy an itch to travel. “I saw all of this money in my investing account and was, like, 'Ooh, this could be an airplane ticket.'" She's still making up for the money she spent, she says, but “that's where starting early comes in. There's always a way to move forward from your mistakes, if you take a step back, plan and redirect your efforts."

Diversification can be… exciting?

Djamilla says her creative mindset is one reason she has many account types and holdings on the go. Not only does it help insulate her from taking on too much risk, she says, “I feel like if I only had one type of portfolio that I would get bored!"

Becoming a confident investor:

“When I started, my confidence level was a strong four out of 10," says Djamilla. “Now, I would say a good seven." One thing that helped her level up her investing know-how was understanding the subjectivity of risk. “Investing is a really personal path," she says. “I'm a heavy believer in that the more information you have, the better decisions you can make. When I don't have information, that's where the risk resides."

Investing globally:

What's next for Djamilla? “I really want to know more about investing in businesses related to the environment," she says, but her curiosity knows no borders. “I want to learn more about investing opportunities overseas, as well, because right now I'm really focused on Canada, where I live. I really want to give back to my home country and community."

1 Djamilla is an RBC Direct Investing client. She has been compensated for sharing her story.

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