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Djamilla sitting on a bench.

How Starting Small Set Djamilla on the Path to Achieving Her Big Investing Goals #InvestingTruths

Written by The Inspired Investor Team | Published on January 31, 2022

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Since she started investing, media-group founder Djamilla1 has always leaned on her close-knit trusted circle to help bring intention and discipline into her portfolio – not to mention the confidence to get started. Almost two years later, the 25-year-old Montrealer has gone from knowledge-hungry newbie to taking control of her financial future.

“I'm pretty proud of myself for that," she says. “I used to think about investing as putting away spare change. Now, I'm prioritizing myself and paying myself first – I'm more inclined to invest larger sums, differently, because I know that any money I put aside now could eventually come back to me in other ways."

With more knowledge, a new job and additional streams of income, Djamilla stepped into 2022 feeling more comfortable with investing. She feels that every penny she adds to her portfolio gets her closer to her most immediate goal: putting together tuition for a master of business administration degree. “And those are not cheap!" she laughs.

When we last spoke to Djamilla, she discussed giving herself space to make mistakes in order to learn. “I'll definitely say that for the last six months or so I was really able to put it into practice," she says. We recently reconnected with Djamilla, who shared how her investing journey is going, her tools for setting (and achieving!) financial goals, and a few things she thinks new investors should know about getting started.

Getting started

Djamilla's very first investment amount was $100 – just enough to make her nervous – in a tax-free savings account (TFSA). “For a few months, I woke up and checked my investment account just to see how that $100 investment fluctuated up or down," she says. It gave her time to analyze, learn and create habits at her own pace. Her biggest takeaway? “Make your first investments, even really tiny ones, as intentional as you can. Remember, they are still an important step toward a bigger goal, and every penny counts."

Djamilla believes in starting small, but more importantly – simply starting. “I do believe that it's important to start cultivating the habits of investing. A regular $20 or $50 investment has the power to change one's perspective on what's possible," she says.

“It doesn't cost that much to start believing in your dreams, and in your future selves, and most of the time we don't realize that."

In the driver's seat to retirement

While Djamilla started with a TFSA, she has since also added a self-directed registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), an opportunity offered through her former employer. With automatic, employer-matched contributions, she loved the idea of having some of her investment amounts on autopilot. “It's one thing I will keep going, even though I'm no longer with that company," she says. “I've already automated the habit of putting money towards my retirement, my future."

Mixing friends and finances

Djamilla enjoys talking about investing and finances – something her friends know well. When the pandemic made Djamilla's birthday impossible to celebrate in-person, her friends got creative and chipped in for a gift of cash – with the caveat that she must invest it all. “I loved it. I was like, 'Yes, you understood the assignment!'" she laughs. “I'm very glad to have women around me who understand the importance of my investing journey."

The support goes both ways. At the beginning of each year, Djamilla and her close friends plan for their financial year ahead using spreadsheet templates that Djamilla creates for the occasion. “We ask each other, what are our priorities, what are our goals? It is so motivational to have another person alongside you for an exercise that can be a little bit on the heavy side," she says.

And speaking of goals…

“I like setting my intention at the beginning of each year: what I want to receive as an income this year, what I want to invest, and what I want to save when my investing accounts match my goals," says Djamilla. She also takes a moment to actively assess her five- and 10-year goals. “It allows me to see if a goal is still relevant," she says. With this “roadmap" in hand, Djamilla feels prepared to face income fluctuations and the inevitable ups and downs of the market. “Because, you know, life happens."

Diversifying like a boss

The founder of her own media company, Djamilla relates to fellow young millennials seeking the flexibility and security of multiple streams of income in these less-than-certain times. “We millennials, we don't like to do one thing at the time. We change jobs, we move," says Djamilla. “And it also reflects in the way that we invest, earn and save money." Investing is one way she diversifies her income, but Djamilla also points out that other options include side hustles and even hobbies that may turn into additional cash flows over time. “My friends, they don't just have a nine-to-five."

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

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