Would you like to double your income?

If you are in a tough financial situation and are struggling to make ends meet, that might sound completely unrealistic.

However, it’s entirely possible through self-discipline, wise investments, and patience. Want to learn more? Read on.

What should you be doing with your money?

Most people think that they know how to handle money, but the sad truth is, many of them don’t, as illustrated by the fact that one in four UK families have less than £95 in savings. So what should you be doing with your money to ensure long-term stability and peace of mind?

Personal finance has three main aims:

  • Paying the bills. This includes covering all your living expenses, such as rent, food, clothes, transport, etc. This should obviously be your first priority because if you can’t pay your bills then you can’t function as a self-sufficient adult.
  • Saving. This includes all savings, such as an emergency fund, goal-specific savings (travel fund, etc.), retirement, etc. This should be your second priority because having savings helps you handle financial emergencies and provides financial security.
  • Investing. This includes all investments, from a garden-variety investment account at your local bank to highly volatile cryptocurrencies. This should be your third priority because investing your money allows you to advance your financial position and might even lead to financial freedom.

All this is easier said than done. A lot of people struggle with merely paying the bills, and while some manage to squirrel something away for a rainy day, for many people investing seems beyond their reach. What if you are in this situation, but would like to change it?

“But I don’t have enough money to invest!”

Do you know exactly where your money is going? If you are like most people, you probably don’t, and it’s probably not going where you want it to go. That’s good news, though - it means that by creating and following a budget you can recover funds that you normally fritter away without even realizing it.

Here’s how you can take control of your finances once and for all:

Step #1: Figure out where your money is going at the moment

This might seem unnecessary, but believe me, it is.

Track all your income and expenses for a month. There are apps for that, but I recommend pen, paper, and an Excel spreadsheet since that will force you to really focus on it and think about it. Record every little detail, even that pack of gum that cost 20p. Then, once you have a month’s income and expenses noted down in a spreadsheet, go through it.

There’s something called the Latte Effect. It’s the idea that seemingly small expenses, like your daily latte, add up to a huge amount of money over time, and if those expenses were cut and money was invested instead, it would lead to a significant amount of wealth down the road.

So really take a look at where your money is going. You will probably be surprised how much money you spend on things that aren’t essential and don’t give you that much satisfaction.

Step #2 Decide where your money should be going

Now that you know where your money is going, it’s time to decide where it should be going.

Here’s what Eric Ravenscraft, the author of How to Start Managing Your Money, For Those Who Never Learned Growing Up, recommends:

  • Fixed costs (50-60%). This should include every bill that is fixed and that you know is coming, so things like rent, utility bills, cell phone bill, etc.
  • Savings (5-10%). This should include both short term and long term savings, so things like an emergency fund, large purchases, vacations, etc.
  • Investments (10%). This should include all your investments, from the safe assets to high-risk, high reward bets.
  • Guilt- free spending (20-35%). This is the money that you can spend however you want. It includes going out, drinking, shopping, etc. Once bills, savings, and investments are taken care of, there’s no reason to feel guilty!

I personally would recommend less guilt-free spending and more saving and investment, but that’s just me.

Now, if your budget was all out of whack, these guidelines might seem unrealistic. 10% towards savings and 10% towards investments? That’s a lot for most people.

But look at your expenses and decide what you can cut. Do you really need those lattes every morning? Do you really need to eat out several times a week? Do you really need to spend so much money on alcohol when you go out on the weekends? Be ruthless when it comes to cutting expenses because that’s how you’ll find the money that will help you create a brighter, more stable future for yourself.

#3 Make it automatic

The more you automate your budget, the easier it will be to stick to it. Set up automated payments for everything you can, including savings and investments. That way, you won’t be able to misspend the money allocated for that because you won’t see it in the first place.

What should you invest in?

Okay, so now that you have found some money in your budget for investing, the question is what should you invest in?

You should assess your risk tolerance first. This mostly boils down to your age and financial obligations. For example, if you are young and single, you can afford more risk than someone who is middle-aged and has a family. Investments usually fall within a spectrum from low risk, low reward to high risk, high reward, so decide what amount of risk you are willing to assume.

Now, onto the investment options that you should consider… 

  • Investment account. This is a very basic investment option that you can find at any bank. It’s an account where your money is invested in low-risk funds and you get a return of 1%-2%. It’s a very safe option, but it should be viewed more as a savings account than an actual investment.
  • P2P lending. Peer-to-peer, or P2P, lending is a practice where people who are willing to lend are matched with people who want to borrow via online services. Once the loan is made, and the borrower starts to make repayments, the lender starts receiving passive income in the form of interest payments. Fast Invest is an alternative to P2P lending which functions in a similar way but gives people an opportunity to invest in consumer loans originating from non-banking lenders. You can start investing from as little as $1!  There’s are also Buy Back and Default guarantees, which means that you can withdraw your money at any time and you won’t lose money if a borrower misses payments. It’s a good way to create a stream of passive income!
  • Real estate. Real estate can be a great way to build wealth, especially if you use the domino method, where you buy one property, rent it out, then use the cash flow from it to buy another property, and so on. It’s often considered a low-risk endeavor, but as 2008 crisis has shown, it can be much riskier than it seems, especially if you over-leverage yourself.
  • Startups. In the past, investing in startups was the prerogative of extremely wealthy venture capitalists, but with AngelList ordinary people can now invest in them too. It’s more like buying lottery tickets than investing, though. The main idea is that you invest in a startup and then hope that it makes it big and gets acquired for millions of dollars, in which case you could make, say, 50x your initial investment. That happens very rarely, though, therefore startups are a very high risk investment, and you shouldn’t invest any money in them that you aren’t willing to lose. 

So is it a good investment? It’s still unclear because it’s extremely volatile. Just over the last seven days it went from an all-time high of $7721 to a 30% drop to $5617 and is now back up to $6261. Can you handle this level of volatility? If you can, and you are willing to put in the money and hold (or hodl, as bitcoin enthusiasts say) no matter what, then it might be the ultimate high-risk, high reward investment.

  • ICOs. ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering and is similar to IPO except that instead of shares people get to buy coins, or tokens. Fast Invest is doing an ICO in January 2018. We will be issuing 666,000,000 Fast Invest Tokens (FITs) at a value of 1 ETH = 1,000 FIT. We predict that FITs will be tradable on all major exchanges by September 2018. This is an excellent opportunity to invest in a proven, legitimate business. You can read more about ICOs in general and our ICO in particular here.

Ideally, your investment portfolio should be made of 80% safe and reliable investments and 20% of crazy “lottery ticket” investments that can burn your money but can also have massive returns (though again, the younger you are, the more risk you can afford).

That way, over the course of 10-20 years (maybe faster than that if your high-risk investments work out), you should be able to double your current income with new income streams from your investments.

Conclusion

It’s absolutely possible to double your income by investing if you stay disciplined and continue investing over a long period of time.

It might take many years to get there, but time is going to pass anyway, so why not put your money to a good use?

Your future self will thank you for it!