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FIREside chat with Catherine: a law student by day, a Bitcoin investor by night

Quirk Team
September 9, 2021
FIREside chat with Catherine: a law student by day, a Bitcoin investor by night

Hi! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Catherine, a 19-year-old final year law student at KCL by day, an avid Bitcoin investor by night. I was born in Hong Kong, but I’ve lived in Singapore, and now I’m living in London. All very expensive cities, huh?

What personality type did you get? Did you find the results to be accurate? 

The Artist, Creative Spirit. I’m not sure, to be honest. I never really considered myself as creative. I’m just emotionally driven. Maybe creative in the sense that I think of new ideas a lot.

What is your relationship with personal finance? What are some of the things you are currently doing to manage your finances?

I have a pretty good relationship with personal finance. Right now, my goal is to become financially independent, so I don’t have to ask my parents for money. Currently, I am trying to spend less money by only buying things that I feel are necessary.

What inspired you to start looking into managing your finances, especially investing in cryptocurrency?

I was forced by my parents since I was a little kid to write down my transactions in a book, so I’ve always been mindful of money management. I started investing in cryptocurrency probably since I learnt about it in Economics class in High School.

What are the best and worst pieces of money advice you have received?

The best advice is to Invest as early as possible (especially in index funds). The worst is to buy it now, or it’ll go up! (I don’t believe you can consistently time the market when it comes to stocks)

What are some things that worked for you for maintaining balance and managing your spending? 

Definitely having some self-control. So I’ll only buy expensive things as a reward for achieving a goal I previously set for myself, rather than whenever I have the money for it.

What are some things you wished you knew in your early stage of money management?

I wish I realised how difficult it actually was to manage your spending and investments. Often, you can’t look at it in the short run but at the bigger picture of what you need the money for in the future.

I know that you are investing in sneakers on the side. What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start a side hustle to earn extra income? 

My advice would be to stay up-to-date with any relevant information and make sure you are ready for it. I would say to focus on your main goals first and foremost before undertaking any side hustle. For instance, if you’re in University and you aren’t getting the grades you want, and you’re already under stress, don’t hop onto side jobs. Always take it one step at a time.

What do you most enjoy spending on? Or any guilty pleasure you can share? 

Just food. It’s a simple pleasure in life.

How have you been spending your time through the pandemic? 

Not too bad. I’ve taken up working a freelance job online. But mainly, I’m just getting ready for the start of my final year.

How often do you check your finances? 

Almost every day! I check the amount on my savings account to ensure I have enough money to purchase something. There’s often not too much in that account though as I put additional savings into my investments. With investments like index funds, however, I rarely check them as it’s there for the long run (5 - 10 years). 

For someone who is starting completely new to personal finance, how would they get started? What specific tips would you have for newbies?  

I never really had a specific structure for managing my finances. To me, it’s always been about making sure you know how much you have, having the self-control to spend less, and learning more about investments (there are some basic guides out there, even on Youtube). 

‍What’s your stack? (Accounts, credit cards, apps or other tools) 

Two credit cards

One savings account

Another savings account (managed by my family for me)

Apps: HSBC UK, Coinbase

Do you have any saving tips for other students?

Make specific goals and start easy. For instance, if you believe you are purchasing too much clothing (e.g. 3 - 4 a month), then make a goal for a maximum of 2 the next month. You can then keep reducing it from there. Don’t go easy on yourself. You could also tell friends or family about it and ask them to monitor your progress.

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