It was not easy to move from my job – which had nothing to do with finances – to a journey to an early retirement. I had to learn everything about finances and investments in order to try to achieve the goal of being financially free at age 33. For that, I read more than 100 books in the area, and I came to dominate the field of investment. Today I have several investments in stocks, bonds and above all real estate, my favorite branch.
When I showed that I was learning about finances, which was normal in conversations with friends, I was quickly asked to give tips and help. At this time (such as today) lived in Germany, where investments are looked at differently than in Portugal. Some friends proposed to pay me to help them, first for a dinner or something symbolic, but in some cases the work became so much and the results were so good that we agreed an annual amount for it. Quickly the message spread and when I realized I had 10 clients and could not accept any more, despite continuing to receive requests.
The strategy to help customers
The first thing I did when a new client came to me was to determine with exhaustion and rigor their monthly cash flow. Revenue and expenses, on an excel sheet. We had to see everything in detail but the customers did not know. “More or less 100 euros in restaurants per month” and “for some 50 euros in outlets and fun”. Others said, “Look, I have no idea.”
It was there that I had to develop a method that not only covered everything that was needed but also showed the data in a useful way. Excel sheets did not arrive – first you had to continue to guess the values (because no one came home at the end of the day and wrote them down in Excel – they just tried to guess at the end of the month what the expenses had been). At the same time I began to help a Portuguese friend who did a search on the internet for software that solved this problem.
Not only would it aggregate all the data, it would show them in a truly useful format but also that it could be updated easily at the end of the day or even during the day if there was availability.
Why control personal finances?
Of course my strategy is very radical for most people – but I also have a radical reason for doing so. However, for most people, I think that managing personal finances should be a priority, and certainly something that will maximize people’s happiness. Money brings happiness? Just for you, maybe not, but for sure that doing something you like brings happiness. And to do what you like, you should control the finances.