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How this 27-year-old built a $175k portfolio from scratch

After moving Australia for university aged 18, then graduating and starting work, Joel quickly realised he was out of his depth when it came to his finances.

Compilation image of Joel headshot and a pile of money $100 dollar notes
Joel didn't have any experience when it came to managing his money, and was quickly out of his depth. (Source: Supplied/Getty) (Samantha Menzies)

Just three years ago Joel lacked confidence managing his money. After moving to Australia for university aged 18, then graduating and starting full-time work, it wasn’t long before Joel realised he was out of his depth when it came to organising his finances. Fast forward to today and Joel has grown a $175,000 invesment portfolio with the help of three money tips.

“I was born and raised in India. So, there was a lot I didn’t understand or have exposure to with the Australian financial system – whether it was superannuation, taxes, the different investment products and tools. I was learning everything from scratch,” he said.

“I didn’t have any exposure to finance growing up, and then once I moved here I was on my own. There definitely was a certain pressure to create financial security for myself because I don’t have my family close by to turn to for guidance. I had to take that initiative to learn about it.”

As he approached his mid-20s, Joel enrolled in Mastering Money, an online financial education program run by SkilledSmart helping adults learn to save, invest, and manage their money.

With the help of the program, Joel developed the confidence to start investing, streamline his cash flow, fix his superannuation, apply for insurance and more. Within three years, he went from being a nervous investor who was afraid of risk, to a $175,000 portfolio.

Now, at the age of 27, Joel has his sights set on achieving ‘financial independence’ by the age of 45. He is also saving to buy his first property, and feels more confident about his finances than ever before.

Joel shares the three money lessons that helped fast-track his financial growth:

1. Challenge your own money beliefs

Joel became aware through the program that he had absorbed certain beliefs about money that were holding him back financially. “I learned to look at my own beliefs about money and start to question where they came from, and whether they are still suitable based on my future goals,” he said.

“I grew up in a financially conservative family. My parents focused on saving money, and low-risk investments like fixed deposits. So, I still carried that mentality after I migrated.”

Learning to identify these beliefs and create a new ‘money story’ gave Joel the freedom to take actions that were more aligned to his financial goals. “I realised a lot of my old beliefs needed to be updated because the context I’m living in now has changed. For example, I always felt guilty spending money. Now, I have a more balanced relationship with spending, and I can enjoy spending while also working towards my long-term goals,” he said.

2. Instead of avoiding and fearing risk, learn to manage it

Joel was initially scared of investing in the sharemarket, having heard that it was risky. But, once he learned the strategies that can be used to manage risk, he was able to proactively, and confidently, create a more secure financial situation for himself.

“I learned about insurance and how that can help manage your overall financial risk, for example. So I got myself some insurance, set up emergency funds, I even drew up a will. So, I feel confident that I am taking the right measures to manage risks,” he said.

Headshot of Joel speaking
Joel hope that by sharing his money story, his inspires others to get on top of their finances. (Source: Supplied)

3. The best investment you’ll make is investing in yourself

Reflecting on his journey, Joel considers his best investment to be in himself. “What I got from getting financially educated was confidence in myself – in my ability to make financial decisions by myself, and in my ability to take care of myself and rely on myself if things go wrong.”

He also believes that investing in yourself gives you more options and opportunities. “You can’t look for information if you don’t even know what’s out there. I didn’t know about insurance or the ‘financial independence’ movement but now I’m on a different financial path to what I was just three years ago, because I took the time to learn about the different options out there.”

Now, Joel hopes his story will inspire other young people and migrants, who might feel overwhelmed, confused or intimidated by their finances as he once did. “You just have to be willing to talk about it and ask questions. Being able to acknowledge that you don’t have all the information is a good place to start. There are resources and people who want to help you. You’re not alone.”

SkilledSmart is a financial education platform helping adults learn to save, invest and manage their money. On their website, you can download a free e-book on “5 Money Mistakes Costing You Thousands”, and learn more about the Mastering Money program.

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