Bye-bye Annie!

Today was a special day for me… I bought shares for the first time in my life. Probably seems like something so insignificant to a lot of people (particularly those who are holding their financial situation by the balls already) but to me this is a major shift.

For the first time I am not using all my spare money to pay off a credit card (or some other debt), for the first time I’m not following the urge to simply buy something (“anything! Think about all the niiiiice things you could buy with that!” – that’s my inner voice).
For the first time in my life – largely after listening to hours and hours of The Minimalist podcasts, I feel like there is a different way of doing things.

Overwhelm steps in briefly… and I feel the anxiety around navigating the issue… “how do I trade? Surely there is a minimum? How do I know what to buy? is this all too much?!”
I push on and decide to start by simply.. you know…asking those around me. Lately, I have lost the guilt of my financial immaturity. If the conversation is going that way then I will openly tell you that I’m a financial trainwreck but in recovery… I’ll tell you that I’ve considered joining the S.A. Programme (shopaholics anonymous… and no this is not a joke and neither am I trying to be funny… SA actually exists as an organisation).

So since I now feel a bit more comfortable with not being an overachiever at life… I ask the girl at work if she has any shares. Turns out investing in shares and indices is literally as easy as downloading an app. It took me 15 minutes to set it up and within the next hour a nice lady called me to inform that I’m now proudly entitled to an account manager… I ask her a million questions and just like that I own a few shares.

It’s not a lot but it’s a start.. and I’m getting my lazy ass used to the idea of financial intelligence. I also invested in ” share trading for dummies” – and following the advice in the book went and researched a bunch of companies.

To start with I went with not a huge amount of money and invested in something that I would be prepared to hold for a few years or more. I also decided to invest an amount that I would be comfortable to lose… although that’s obviously not the intention and I’m not taking on unnecessary risk.

I must admit – this whole process was almost therapeutic… it made me feel like I was a grown up (something I had resisted for oh so long! and ironically am now striving for) and also that I was finally moving in the general direction of having my sh*t together…

It reminded me of when The Bridesmaids movie first came out… everyone was raving about how funny it was… But when I watched it – I wanted to cry… everything about Annie Walker (Kristen Wiig) resonated with me.. her desperation, her jealousy, her sense of isolation and the fake sense of “choice” felt oh so realistic to me. That’s basically what my life felt like… Scrambling around with money, feeling left behind, dating “dead-end” guys and not having a purpose. I honestly could not see anything humorous in that movie. (Except for the pooping scene… the pooping scene was funny..)

Looking back at it now, I wonder why the hell it then took me another five years to actually sort my life out… and more importantly… how did that not even give me a kick up the ass immediately (oh no! I would be lying if I said the travesty of that movie made me change my ways…)

Today I finally feel that overwhelming sense of freedom… financial freedom..
I still have a long way to go. But I’m working my butt off to stay on track.
I really do feel like something is finally shifting in that dumb little head of mine and I am managing to change not just my behaviour but general my perception of life….I mean it probably also helps that it’s summer and life generally feels better in summer but nonetheless for the first time in a while I’m feeling really hopeful and it’s an amazing feeling!


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