The Easiest $4,190.74 I Ever Made (And How You Can Make It, Too)

The easiest $4000 I ever made

There’s a lot of talk about making passive income online, friends, and yes, this is another article about it – but when I think about the easiest $4,190.74 I ever made, trust me when I say it was not from a blog or an infoproduct.

See, I’ve been running Half Banked for almost two years now (whaaaat) and we just wrapped up the first round of the Quick Budget Fix with some amazing students.

Having run a blog, and launched a product, let me tell you: Those are not actually passive income sources in any way, shape or form.

But during that time, I have earned over $4000 doing what feels, honestly, truly, like absolutely nothing.

That’s what I want to talk to you about today, especially since you can do it too with no real specialized skills or knowledge.

And spoiler alert: It’s investing.

Hey, stop moving your mouse to close this tab, I see you.

Investing sounds like the least passive income ever sometimes, because if you don’t know where to start, or you’re all “WTF ETFs” then yeah – it sounds like work.

But if you give me literally just the time it takes to read this article, I think I can change your mind.

So let’s get started.

Investing can be as hands-off as you want

I have checked out about seven investing books from the library in the past two years. I mean real investing books, too, not personal finance books with a side of investing thrown in – books like The Intelligent Investor and A Random Walk Down Wall Street.

Without fail, I returned them with at most a page or two read. I just couldn’t do it, you guys.

So if you’re sitting there like “Investing means I have to read a bunch of books, and analyze stocks, and learn how to read a financial balance sheet,” it absolutely does not.

There’s a time and a place for that, sure, and some people can’t get enough of it. (I’m that way about digital marketing, let’s be serious.) But if that’s not you? You can still invest.

And you still need to invest.

Technology can be your BFF

The approach that was always pitched as a great way to invest in my house growing up (℅ Moneysense Magazine) was the Couch Potato Portfolio.

It was exactly what it sounds like – an easy, low-cost way to invest in the whole stock market, to grow your money without needing to pick a specific stock.

And even knowing all of that, and reading articles about it for years, I had no flipping idea how to get started.

How does one buy an ETF? Where do you even go for that?

Like, that’s what they should have taught in my university-level finance class, not how to calculate net present value.

Anyways, I had no idea.

So I did nothing. (I know, A+ plan, Des, good job.)

But seriously, I let the hurdle of “how” stand between me and the sweet, sweet stock market returns for far too long.

It was only when I found out about robo-advisors that it felt like someone had finally created an easy way for me to put my money in the market – so that’s when I did.

What I’m invested in, and how long it took me

And before I gloss over this, “when I did” start investing happened to be right before a market downturn.

Ahahahahaha of course it was, right?

You can read all about it here, but the short version is that it was just straight-up bad timing.

But luckily, my chosen investing approach doesn’t require good timing. How great is that!

See, by using a robo-advisor, I’m invested in the whooooole market through a few carefully-chosen ETFs (that were chosen for me by the smart humans behind Wealthsimple*, the robo-advisor I use and love). I put money in every time I get paid, like clockwork, and they handle literally everything else.

When I send them money, they invest it at whatever price the market is at that day. If we want to get technical, it’s called dollar-cost averaging, so I end up buying into the market at a bunch of different prices (without thinking about it or really caring too much).

Thanks to this approach, and not panic-selling everything during the multiple downturns I’ve survived, my investments have earned me $4,190.74 in the past almost-two-years.

Yes, even though I invested right before a major downturn.

Yes, even though I literally spend more time thinking about my Starbucks orders than my investments every month.

You need to know a little bit before you dive in

While yes, this approach is passive af, and has earned me stellar returns, I still had to know something before I got started.

Knowing things like what I was investing for (retirement), how long I had before I needed the money (decades), and the basic terms associated with investing were ultra-helpful when I needed to not panic over market fluctuations.

Because let’s be real: If I had panicked when I invested my money and promptly “lost” $1500? This would be a very different article.

Luckily, I’ve got a (freeeee) solution for you.

My free, five-day email course, Zero to Investing Hero, has helped over 750 people get a handle on the basics of investing. It’s designed to take you from “I know I should be investing, but literally that’s all I know” to “I know what concrete next step I need to take to put my money into the market, in a way that works for me.”

That is a transition you definitely need to make for your money, sooner rather than later.

Just think – wouldn’t an extra $4,000 in your retirement accounts in a few years be a nice surprise for future you?

That’s $4,000 you didn’t have to scrimp and save by giving up lattes. I’m just saying.

*My Wealthsimple link is an affiliate link that’ll score ya your first $10,000 managed fo’ free.

Desirae is on a mission to demystify and un-boring financial info for millennials, so that we can all save more money, spend on stuff that matters to us, and still have a latte or two along the way. Money is literally why we can have nice things, and Desirae is committed to helping make sure you know just enough to make the right calls for you. (She’s also committed to her expensive dog, her side hustle, and her retirement fund.)

7 Comments on “The Easiest $4,190.74 I Ever Made (And How You Can Make It, Too)”

  1. Owen

    Sweet! I know when I first started investing I was amazed at the growth each year.

    Money making more money!?! Amazing!

    Just sit back and watch it snowball.

  2. David

    You speak the truth. Investing will create passive income over time, much more than other stuff. At this point, about 25% of my portfolio’s value is from dividends and investment gains!

    1. Desirae Odjick

      That’s so awesome David! Can’t wait to get to that stage, haha. (But for real – I can’t even imagine when we all end up retiring and we look at our portfolios like… that’s 300% of what I actually paid into it 😍)

  3. Milly

    I forced myself to read all 300+ pages of Peter Lynch’s “One Up On Wall Street” and came out with one thing: stock picking is not for me! I could do it. I could succeed at it. I can’t raise 3 toddlers at the same time.
    My favorite passive strategy out of WAY too much research is based off Boggle’s strategy: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Getting_started

    1. Desirae Odjick

      SOOOOO much yes to this! Milly, that is exactly it – and I know people who do really well picking stocks, but they spend about 20 hours a week on it! Reading, theorizing, discussing, tracking, etc. It’s so time consuming to do well, and all things being equal, I have other priorities, haha.

      Kudos on actually making it through the book, btw!

  4. Jing Pei

    I’m still not totally sold on robo advisors, mostly because I’ve heard the index fund strategy reiterated a number of times, and I’m not sure if robo advisors distinguish between actively vs passive funds. Definitely something I’ll be looking more into!

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