In her 20s, Shaquana Watson-Harkness didn’t think a lot about saving or investing in her future. At the time, she was more concerned about making enough money to buy her first car, apartment, and travel. She viewed retirement as something she could explore later as she had more time on her hand.
However, the reality was that Shaquana was approaching 30 and she needed to take investment seriously if she wanted to accumulate $1 million or more before leaving the workforce.
She reached out to a financial advisor in December 2014 and started changing how she approached her portfolio. Over time, she developed a skill in investing, and today, she has built a six-figure portfolio in seven years. What is more, Shaquana is steadily working toward accumulating $1 million for her retirement.
The journey towards building a six-figure portfolio in seven years was not smooth sailing. In her 20s, she had accrued debt. So she embarked on a debt elimination journey in April 2018 to pay off her six-figure debt.
“When I put together my budget, I used it to tackle a few key goals at the same time: to track my cash flow, to increase my savings to cover my debt and my monthly expenses, and to consistently pay myself first,” she noted in this blogpost.
Within 20 months, Shaquana had paid off $169,000. Today, her budgeting system includes saving at least $800 a month to put towards retirement accounts.
“Every time that I receive any income, including things like bonuses from work, I automatically put a portion of those funds into my retirement accounts. This has allowed my investment accounts to grow significantly, even when the stock market has trended downwards,” she said.
Shaquana said she didn’t allow fear to keep her in one place. According to her, investing can be an overwhelming prospect, leading to inaction. However, the entrepreneur said education is the best way to lessen any fear.
“My general rule is that I need to understand the investment before I put in any money,” she said. “So I do my research first, whether that is reviewing the investment’s performance or consulting with a financial advisor, and then I trust my instincts.”
According to Shaquana, her portfolio is predominantly made up of mutual funds that are invested 80% in stocks and 20% in bonds. “They are considered large-cap and growth mutual funds that include companies in the technology, healthcare, and financial services sectors,” she said.
Shaquana has decided to share her financial journey with others through the establishment, Dollars Makes Cents. Her goal is to help professional millennial women achieve financial independence by shifting their mindset towards wealth building.