Back to Interviews

FIREside chat with Anna: Her journey out of debt to financial independence

Quirk Team
FIREside chat with Anna: Her journey out of debt to financial independence

Excited to kick-off our first FIREside chat (Financial Independence & Retiring Early) with Anna (@pandabossanna) who is currently sharing her journey out of debt to financial independence.

Hi! Can you introduce yourself?

Hi! I'm Anna, I'm 28 years old and I'm a chartered accountant. I've spent the last 7 and a half years working in the finance field and I am really passionate about helping people with their personal finances! I have a Youtube channel called PandaBoss where I talk about personal finances and getting out of debt!

What's your Quirk Money Type? Did you think it was accurate?

The Explorer! Honestly, I couldn't believe how accurate this was. I expected something really generic like a horoscope, but surprisingly everything I was reading was like you were talking about me. The way it talks about things such as explorers believing money is an important tool to be free and independent (this is the whole idea behind my youtube channel!), and the fact they check on their finances more than the average person (I genuinely check my balances and spreadsheets on an almost daily basis!). Those are just some examples of how accurate it was.

Anna received the explorer personality type when she took the Quirk money personality test.

What inspired you to start your blog @pandabossanna?

I have always enjoyed helping people, and after I embarked on my financial freedom journey I would talk to friends about it and realised they were finding what I was saying really useful and fascinating. A lot of them would thank me for the advice. I very quickly realised that I could help many more people if I started a blog (or youtube channel, in my case!). I've somehow managed to reach 1,000 subscribers in 3 months, and decided to put together a website blog as well in order to reach more people.

Side hustles with a full time job is a video on her YoutubeChannel, advice based on her personal experiences!
"Side hustles with a full time job" is a video on her YoutubeChannel, advice based on her personal experiences!

What is your relationship with personal finance? How has that defined your current pursuits?

At the moment, my relationship with personal finance is really good. But it wasn't always this way - I used to have a very toxic relationship with personal finance.

I would take out loan after loan, credit card after credit card. It wasn't until I had a really tough time last summer and got signed off work for 5 weeks, that I realised I couldn't continue working in the jobs I was working in for the rest of my life or it would send me to an early grave! I pulled myself together, embarked on a journey to paying off debt and becoming financially independent and I've never felt better. I've made a lot of changes since - I've stopped buying pointless things like expensive clothes, or buying takeaways almost daily because I didn't have the willpower to cook after a long day at work- although the lockdown has definitely helped with that too. I've also told myself I can't buy things anymore unless I can afford to pay upfront!

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

A big thing for me is having my budgeting spreadsheet and checking it regularly. I update it as soon as new transactions go in, and it helps me plan ahead and realise whether I have spending money or not. It also shows me if I spend on "X" thing, I will have to take the money from "Y" category (for example savings or investments). It really helps me figure out whether I truly want to spend that money or whether I want to prioritise my savings.

Anna shows an image of her investment portfolio on her phone.

What do you most enjoy spending on?

Haha, honestly for me it's massages! That's my guilty pleasure, and I still allow myself to spend money on these - I don't want to completely take away every pleasure now, just to be financially free later. It keeps me going, and is good for my health. I also enjoy spending money on good food, although I still stick to a budget here!

What is the worst money advice you've ever received?

Someone once told me to take out a loan in order to invest that money.

I never did it, as I find it completely irresponsible! Imagine you had done this just before the current crash, you would be struggling to pay off a loan whilst not making any money from the stock market.

How often do you check your finances?

Pretty much daily - I love being on top of things, and knowing exactly where I stand!

What's your stack?

I have three bank accounts - one main current account, one Monzo account (for the amazing travel exchange rates) and one savings account. I still have two 0% interest credit cards to pay off, and I have two investment accounts. For budgeting and keeping track of my finances I do everything in my own spreadsheet as I like having complete control over what I see and input.

Follow Anna:
Next topic
Quirk app logo

Get Quirk. It's free

Join the 30,000+ people in our community and start your journey to financial independence.

Scan to download Quirk
QR code to download the Quirk app