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How this former waitress paid off $30,000 in debt and learned to invest

How Jennifer Welsh went from waitress to investor, paying off $30,000 in debt along the way
How Jennifer Welsh went from waitress to investor, paying off $30,000 in debt along the way

Jennifer Welsh wasn't always the savvy investor she is today. While working in the hospitality industry in Chicago, Welsh racked up more than $30,000 in credit card debt, without thinking seriously about saving for her future. But in her mid-30s, she took a hard look at her financial situation for the first time — and got to work.

She paid a fee to transfer and consolidate the balances from her five separate credit cards onto one new credit card, which had a 0% introductory interest rate over a two-year period.

"So I considered that 24-month expiration date my deadline." Welsh said. She ran the numbers to figure out how much money she should pay weekly. "And every Sunday, I logged into my one credit card platform, and I paid $320 a week.

"So I broke this big goal down into small goals, but I also had a deadline," she added.

Welsh paid off her debt fully in 2015. She and her husband started working with an investment advisor the following year, finally getting serious about saving and investing for the long term.

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"I was already accustomed to spending $300 a week towards my debt, putting that money towards my debt," she said. "So instead of saying, 'Oh, we have $300 a week extra now,' we started investing that money."

But after the stock market plunge of 2020, Welsh parted with her advisor, feeling newly empowered to make investment decisions on her own. As the world locked down at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Welsh devoted herself to stock market research.

"I didn't want to pick stocks willy-nilly and I didn't want to buy stocks that I would want to sell anytime soon." she said. "So I was very dedicated to the research, and it was Covid and we were locked in the house anyway.

"So I was baking bread and I was learning about the stock market."

Now, Welsh has created a digital personal finance course for new investors, and she is passionate about sharing how her past mistakes have helped to inform her current investing mindset.

Watch the video above to learn how you can jump-start your savings by investing.

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