When I first started out modeling, I was 20, driving a 1996 Honda Accord, and had $400 to my name.

I moved to Vegas and in between shoots I picked up odd jobs. I started off at a Mexican cantina, later moved on to bartending at a nightclub, and then moved my way to bottle service there (which pays significantly more). I learned a lot watching women just like me aspire towards modeling. There are thousands of beautiful girls that come from literally all over the world to chase the same dream, and I saw the same story play out over and over again.

Every year I would see young models throw away their money on living a luxurious life. You'd be surprised how many women don't think about their future or have no plan for life after modeling. The reality is that you only have a set timeframe to live this way. This job is a means to an end. I ended up using my earnings to put myself through school for economics to achieve longterm stability. Being an Economics major, I've learned so much about how our economy and market work, and it's helped me understand the concept and usage of money all the better.

I've reflected on my time working as a young model and how I saw others spend their money. There is the importance of setting aside and investing early in life. If you invest in your 20s, you can make substantially more than someone say in their 30s or 40s. A $1000 investment at the age of 20, and contributing about $50 a month into it with 4% interest would yield almost $62,000 by the time that person is 60 years old. If the same investment is made at 30 years old, that person would have made around $37,000. Ten years can make a huge difference, even with a modest investment. That sounds complicated but the long and short of it is always save earlier. Never assume you can make more money later because oftentimes that never bears out.

Ten years can make a huge difference, even with a modest investment.

Shortly after I started working as a bottle waitress and paid off my debt, I wanted to do something with some of the money I had saved. My first ever stock I bought was BRK Class B (non-voting stock, it's cheaper). In the last 2 years, I really wanted to take trading more seriously, so I read a lot of materials and watched a lot of videos. I downloaded a trading platform called Thinkorswim, practicing with fake stock trades just to better my understanding of the market. Once I felt more comfortable with what I was doing, I decided to do live trading with my own money. Much like modeling, you have to practice to get the feel of things. Learn everything you can before you start, and afterward you can learn from experience. But go in prepared. Once you're ready, you can go for the real thing. And I was ready.

Much like modeling, I would never consider trading a career path. It should be something you do on the side. The money and lifestyle can be enticing, but you can only do it for so long. You should have other goals in mind. This is another means to another end. There's a lot of risk in trading. That's why I suggest to others that they invest long term — bonds, IRAs, CDs, mutual funds, properties. Trading can be extremely rewarding, sure, much like modeling. You have these amazing experiences, and a good job can provide a good chunk of livable wages. Use your time to focus on endeavors that will help you in the future.

To sum it all up, here are the takeaways:

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Victoria Elise