Former fast-food employee who began investing at 19 says she will be a millionaire before she’s 40
A woman has revealed her top money investing tips in a bid to achieve financial freedom – and claims they will help her retire before her 40s.
Nicole Victoria, 32, an author and investor from Canada, is a self-made millionaire who has been given the freedom to live life as she pleases after becoming “work optional” in her 30s.
Growing up, she says her family struggled financially, and her first job was as a cashier at local fast food chain, Wendy’s.
But in her late teens, she recalls hitting “rock bottom” as she struggled to earn money and knew things needed to change in order to turn her life around.
Victoria enrolled in a business course to get her qualifications at 19, and started teaching herself as much as she could about personal finance and investing, while working restaurant jobs to pay the bills.
After graduating at 23, she took a corporate job in an office earning $43,000 a year, while working weekends as a receptionist.
Meanwhile, she managed to gain her real estate license and, while working two other jobs, started selling homes, earning commission – which she carefully saved up.
By the age of 25, she had $100,000 saved and was able to invest $15,000 into her first property, which she flipped two years later – making a profit of $150,000.
Victoria has never looked back, using her business knowledge and savvy to carefully invest her money, including buying a property that she rents out and another which she resides in.
Having built up her stock portfolio “enormously” and investing in mortgage investment corporations, she now has an overall net worth of $3m (£2.4m).
Along with her husband, Justin, 35, and their two children, Liam, three and Zachary, one, she is now living a life of freedom, with Justin also able to retire.
“For a while, I believed life would always be a struggle and that people who had money were lucky,” Victoria told NeedToKnow.online. “My biggest advice is to never build wealth simply by saving, budgeting and couponing – learn how to maximise your current income. Investing isn’t a nice thing to have, it’s a must-have if you ever want to stop working.
“Retirement isn’t an age, it’s a number in the bank – and when you hit that number, you get to stop working, but if you never hit it, then you’ll be stuck. We get one ride in life and I want to make the most of it instead of being on the ‘exhaustive treadmill’ forever.”
Now, she has shared her top tips on how to get started yourself – and claims anyone can reach similar levels of success.
While income is important to save, so are monitoring daily expenses – and Victoria believes people who increase their lifestyle on earnings alone are risking loss.
She said: “You can become rich making loads of money per year, but it all depends on what you do with it. So many people increase their lifestyle when they start to make more, but probably due to my scarcity mindset and the belief I could lose everything, I kept my expenses low.
“My parents lived paycheck-to-paycheck without the ability to really save for anything, so I became quite frugal. When I started making more money, on paper I could have easily afforded a ‘nicer’ car, but although a luxury vehicle might feel cool for the first few weeks, after the novelty wears off it just becomes the means you use to get to work. Instead, I drive an affordable Kia SUV, and my husband and I have always shared a car and used transit to get where we needed to go.
“I don’t deprive myself of things, but I found that after doing the inner work and changing how I thought about money, I stopped wanting to spend as much.”
Many people believe the higher amount of money invested, equals a higher amount of success – but Victoria says even $61 (£50) per month can be life-changing.
Speaking about her experience, she said: “Time is more important than money when you get started, but the key above all else is to just start. Even $61 a month can grow into hundreds of thousands over time. Also, invest defensively. You can’t control the market when you invest, but look at how you’re doing this by keeping your emotions out of it, and project for the future.
“This means setting yourself up for success by expecting the unexpected, as life will always throw negativity at some point – but succeeding means predicting. Build an emergency fund, pay off any high-interest debt and don’t gamble with money when you invest. For example, I go with diversified funds, so my eggs aren’t all in one basket and I lived in my real estate investments, so I didn’t overstretch myself.
“The key is to just start somewhere – even if it’s small – be prepared and, most importantly, take your time to learn before you jump in so you don’t make gambling-type mistakes.”
Nicole explained: “Most people think buying a ‘done up’ home is an investment, but your home is actually a liability if you don’t have a strategy for how it’s going to make you money. Even if your home goes up in value over time, it doesn’t mean you’ve made money - it just means you’re living in it. Without a plan to take the money out you will never realise those gains.
“There’s a false belief that simply buying a home will build you wealth, but this prevents people from actually making other real investments. My first property was ugly and one most people wouldn’t have wanted, but I saw good prospects for appreciation based on the neighbourhood, size and other aspects. Because I bought this ‘unwanted’ home, I had more room to easily increase the value and I did what others didn’t want to do, but made the money they didn’t.
“I continued this with other properties and built up my portfolio.”
After graduating, Nicole believed working multiple jobs would provide security – but this only resulted in burnout.
Now, she advises others to maximise their current income, rather than stretching their personal time. She said: “At one point, I had a full-time, weekend and sales job, which was a quick path to burnout. Instead of working more, I learned to negotiate my salary for an increase, so I could make more for every hour of my life that I was already working.
“I also invested in my education to learn a new skill, which helped me make more, such as a higher certification in my current job. It’s not bad to job hop either, and actually staying at the same company for more than two years stifles salary growth. This is partially why I went into real estate, as I was able to double my income because I didn’t have a limit to what I could make.”
Now, she’s used her top tips to secure financial freedom and runs her own business as a money expert to help others.
She said: “After seeing how much people were struggling, I realised there was a need for this education, so I started my social media account and created both free and paid programmes to ensure everyone can build their dream lives. It’s been the most beautiful journey in the world, as I’ve worked for thousands of students and I’ve seen entire lives changed.I can’t believe I get to help people find their happiness.
“I’d never go back to a regular job, but if I did, I’d want something low stress where I get to connect with others.”