How Illness Led a 32-Year-Old to Build a Portfolio Worth $136,000

  • 32-year-old Sara Beckmann has built up a portfolio of $136,000.
  • She focuses on “solid stocks” that have a promising business model and are already profitable.
  • She invests with the goal of achieving financial freedom.

Five years ago, Sara Beckmann received a diagnosis that changed the way she looked at her life. 

After complaining of abdominal pain for a long time, her doctor diagnosed her with endometriosis, a chronic “woman’s disease,” in her own words. 

She was sick for up to six months and couldn’t work. 

During this time, she was reliant on health insurance, and it didn’t sit well with her. 

The experience drove her to set a new goal for herself — to have enough money in her savings so that she no longer had to rely on work or other sources of income.

“I’m currently symptom-free, but endometriosis can come back at any time,” Beckmann told Insider. 

“That’s the reason I’m pursuing this financial freedom.”

‘Nice’ to be able to live off dividends

That goal doesn’t mean she dislikes working; quite the opposite, she said. But she thinks it’s “nice” to be able to earn a living through a passive income, like dividends. This way, she has no pressure to go to work and no worries about not being able to pay bills.

Beckmann also wants to use financial freedom to enable her to decide for herself how, where, and when she works. 

She’s already achieved this to some extent. Beckmann has been working independently as an expert electrical engineer for a few months. She travels out to the customer and inspects equipment on site. 

Beckmann wasn’t afraid of self-employment

“I’m not completely independent yet, because I’m currently still tied to a location,” said Beckmann. 

But she can already decide for herself when she works and with whom. For her, that’s definitely “much more pleasant” than before, where everything was predetermined for her. 

“You have to go there now or you have to do that now, and I just decide that myself now.” 

Previously, the electrical engineer had a secure job at TÜV, but she didn’t like it there.

Beckmann started her self-employment “relatively gently,” she said. 

She wasn’t afraid of becoming self-employed because she had a “good financial buffer.”

Over $90,000 in stocks and $45,000 in crypto

That’s because Beckmann has already been investing her money in the stock market for more than ten years and has now built up a portfolio of $136,000. Her passion for the world of finance began when she was in her early twenties, in the middle of her apprenticeship at ThyssenKrupp, and was given the opportunity to buy employee shares. She bought a package of shares worth $560 and got $280 back from the company. Since then, she’s been hooked.

She started buying shares in uptrends and then selling them two or three months later to take the profits and buy something “nonsensical,” she said.

“And that’s really just how it went on and on for the first couple of years,” she added. 

It wasn’t until she had to rely on someone else to pay for her — in this case, the health insurance company — that she realized she had to make a change.

Beckmann changed her strategy. She began to think long-term and hold stocks longer. Of the $136,000 portfolio, around $90,000 are invested in stocks and ETFs. The rest is in cryptocurrencies.

When the 32-year-old analyzes a new company, she first goes to Wikipedia

The biggest stocks in her portfolio, she said, include big names like Alphabet, Amazon, and Microsoft. 

She picks stocks by first considering which companies are currently in high demand and have also been on the market for a while.

“I don’t necessarily buy new companies now, because that’s always gambling to me,” she said. 


She doesn’t have plans to convert the bitcoin into money yet.

Jack Taylor/Getty Images

When Beckmann analyzes a completely new company, she first looks at Wikipedia to get a rough overview and understand what the company does.

Then she starts looking first at key figures such as sales and profits. She lists everything in an Excel spreadsheet.

Next, she looks at the business model in more detail so she can see how the company makes money and whether it seems promising to her.

“It’s always a personal feeling, because of course you can’t predict what happens in the future,” Beckmann said.

As an engineer, she earned $3,600 net per month

The time it takes for a share to be added to a portfolio always depends on what the share price is like at the time. 

“So if the prices have just gone completely through the roof, then I prefer to wait a bit until there’s a setback,” said Beckmann. 

Basically, she focuses on “solid stocks” that have a promising business model, are already profitable, and also generate high sales.

Beckmann created her portfolio total by investing $1,700 every month in stocks and ETFs while she was employed, she said. 

“As an engineer, I earned relatively well. I had something like 3200 euros net.” 

Then it was also “relatively easy” to put aside such a large sum, Beckmann said. But since she has been self-employed, she hasn’t invested. The money had to be put into the company first.

 “The joke is that I actually haven’t invested any money in cryptocurrencies; only time”

The $45,000 in cryptocurrencies are in Bitcoin and Ether, and Beckmann reached this number in a rather unconventional way. 

 “The joke is that I actually haven’t invested any money in cryptocurrencies, only time,” Beckmann said.

She started blogging on the social media platform Steemit a few years ago, she said. If you write something there and get a good rating from users, you get paid by the platform’s operators with the cryptocurrency Steem and Steem Dollars, she went on. The better your posts are, the more you get, Beckmann said. She wrote about technology on the site.

She doesn’t want to convert the bitcoin into money

There’s also an online game on the platform that’s a combination of Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards. There are several cards of one type, but they’re limited. The cards could be sold or traded and therefore had a high value. 

“Through playing this and writing on Steemit, I earned just under 3000 euros in Bitcoin and Ether,” she said.

She achieved this by always exchanging the Steemit coins for bitcoin and ether.

“Because cryptocurrencies have risen so sharply, I suddenly have 40,000 euros in cryptocurrencies,” she went on.

But exchanging the profits for real money isn’t something she wants to do. 

“I just told myself that by not actually investing any money myself, I don’t really have any losses,” she said. 

That’s why she leaves the cryptocurrencies and sees what happens.

With her entire portfolio, Beckmann collects on average up to $110 a month in dividends. It’s still a long way to financial freedom, but she’s doing everything she can to achieve her goal. 

Source News