12th July 2023

Honest Stories with Lydie Kitenge

Content Creator @LydieandHazel and Co-Founder of Journey2Med


I would say my first interaction with like making money would be maybe like 15, 14. I had a little side business in secondary school selling sweets and chocolates for like 50p. Ah that’s a great question, well, I’m a first generation immigrant, so I moved to the U.K. when I was six years old, so we pretty much had to start from the bottom up, from what I can remember.

It was definitely a humble upbringing for my family and I and I think just like any, you know, immigrant parents, my parents did the very best that they could to provide for me and my siblings and to support us as well. In regards to talking about money, I do think there was always a reminder to appreciate the little that you will get.

So, for example, if there was a specific toy you wanted and I don’t know, you couldn’t get that toy, but you could get the second best thing that was a bit cheaper, just be appreciative for what you have, because at the end of the day, my parents were doing the very best they could, so I think we were taught from a young age to be very grateful for what we could get with money.

And I would say that growing up from a low socioeconomic background made me interested in wanting to be financially stable and to want to make money, I guess. And I would say my first interaction with like making money would be maybe like 15/14. I had a little side business in secondary school, selling sweets and chocolates for like 50p and making some pocket money for the week. I wouldn’t say I’m fully financially independent.

I still live at my mom’s house and I plan to a very long time to save money in this cost of living crisis. But in terms of having my own pocket money and not having to rely on my parents anymore as an adult, I would say it’s been a very freeing experience. Growing up, I always felt bad asking my parents for money, not because they wouldn’t give it to me or they wouldn’t be able to, but because I knew that they had a lot of responsibilities, commitment, and a lot of kids and they were both trying their very best from the jobs they could get to provide for us.

So I always felt a bit guilty asking for money. So when I was able to make my own, it was very freeing. I no longer felt guilty, you know, if I wanted something, I could get it. I didn’t feel bad about asking my mom to get me X, Y, Z when I know she had bills to pay.

So it’s been a very freeing experience and it’s been really nice to be able to bless my parents as well whenever I can with the different pockets of income I’m able to have as a medical student, part-time creator and the other roles I undertake too. So at the moment I use, I don’t know if it’s called Crowd Cube or Crowd Fund, but one of the investment websites that I’ve come across online and to invest just a little bit of money into potential start-up companies. I don’t know if there’s a name for that, but I was just like, hey, this looks interesting, I’ll get into it.

And it was because a company I use, I think it’s called Rooka Hair – it’s a black-owned hair company – were looking for funding to expand their business and I love what they stand for as a black girl, I think it’s amazing and I just wanted to contribute to further that. So they were like, you go to this crowd cube thing to put some money in.

So I put some money in and I’m very well aware I can lose the money but because I believe in it so much. I’m happy to spend a few pounds on it. So I would say I’ve done that one on one other one as well called Hertility – it’s about women’s health. Being from a medical background, I think it’s amazing what they want to do for women all over the UK and all over the world.

So I contributed a little bit of funds towards that as well, but not too much because I know you can lose money with a short term investment. In regards to long term investments, I’ve been investing in Vanguard since I think since 2020 or 2021. I invest in Vanguard all of the income I get predominantly goes over there.

I would say lots and lots of research. I don’t really have a financial background, so I do not know what I’m doing half of the time. But with like Vanguard, everyone is S&P 500. I watched lots of YouTube videos and on YouTube I really trust Ali Abdul who made a video about it and it was making sense.

And also I had a few friends that were investing in the S&P 500 and it was going well for them, so word of mouth, research and I was like, okay I’ll trust this fund. And it’s been going well so far, index funds. And I looked into their pros and cons, you know, it might grow a bit slowly but it’s a bit more stable.

And that was more appealing to me compared to like Bitcoin. So that was what made me want to do that source of long term investment. In regards to short term, the crowdfunding, like I said recently, it’s just because I saw it Instagram and I really care about the ethos of the company and what they want to do for black girls all over the all over the world.

So that one I didn’t do much, well, I did do a little bit of research. I wanted to know the website wasn’t dodgy, but yeah, and then I invested just a tiny bit of money that I’m okay to lose. Yeah. No regrets so far. I would say sometimes I do get FOMO because I don’t know what I’m doing at all.

I have no idea if I should be investing somewhere else or if there’s something I’m doing wrong. I don’t know. I’m kind of just going with the vibes but also trying to be wise about it. So yeah, no regrets thus far. Yeah, definitely, I hope to get into property in the future, I’m currently saving up for a mortgage, so hopefully that’s something that I’ll be able to do in the future – just expand my property portfolio.