Investor Journeys—Bridie O'Leary
We caught up with Bridie O’Leary, a Service Designer for NZ Police and LED ‘glowie’ creator and owner of her business Glowjob.
You may have spotted her in our ads online and on the telly! We wanted to share more about Bridie, her attitude towards money, and how in between glowie-making, travel, and home renovations—she became an investor!
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m originally from Dunedin, and have been living in Wellington for the past 18 months. By day, I’m a Service Designer for the Police. By night and weekends, I’m kept busy making LED ‘glowies’ for my own business—Glowjob. I love travel, home renovation, dogs, creative projects, and a good deal.
I’d describe myself as a money hoarder. I remember when I was about thirteen and my mum confiscated my Discman for punishment. But I had a wee after school job AND enough money to buy a new one—which I went ahead and did! Mum was so pissed, and there wasn't much she could do about it. It was kinda like one of those a-ha moments. I quickly learned that having money gave you options.
Photo: Jodie Gibson
Why did you start investing?
I’ve always been a pretty hard saver. I used to bank my savings into a “Serious Saver” bank account—but the 2% interest would always annoy me. I swapped banks a couple of times, chasing the highest interest rate, but in the end, it was never worth the hassle. You’d be penalised, and miss out on interest if one month you didn’t put the minimum $50 into savings, or withdrew some money. Or it’d be locked away for three months in a term deposit. It kind of felt like I didn’t have the control I wanted over my money, so that’s when I went on the lookout for other options. 🧗♀️
Tell us about your first investment
“I never realised getting into the share market could be so simple.”
My first investment was with Sharesies. I learnt about Sharesies through a colleague who said it was like online shopping, but for shares! That really caught my attention. I started with about fifty bucks, and split it between a few funds. I didn’t worry too much about which funds I invested in. I just wanted to get started and see how it all worked. I went slow for a few months until I felt comfortable. Then I realised, “OMG! I could just dump the savings in my bank with that terrible 2% rate straight into Sharesies”—and I did! Sharesies was my new savings account! I get to control how much money I put in, I can take money out easily if I need to, AND I can do this all without the penalties. Plus, my money is working harder for me. My highest return rate to date is 13%! Pretty addictive stuff! I never realised getting into the share market could be so simple.
How do you typically manage your money and investments?
Nowadays, my partner and I’s day-to-day money management has a bit more structure. We have a revolving credit mortgage. So we throw our combined income into that account to offset the interest, and then put all our spending on the credit card which is paid in full each month. I think this would normally be a pretty tricky way to manage money and to keep track of everything (particularly the spending of two people), but we use a personal finance app which is linked to our bank accounts. The app tracks and tags all of our transactions, categorises them, and then runs them on a budget. It’s great because we can see in real-time how we’re spending and tracking against set budgets—instead of waiting for a bad credit card bill surprise at the end of the month. 😱
I feel okay about my investing choices. So I just let them do their thing, and check in from time-to-time. I’ve gotten better at not freaking out when funds I have are dropping a bit. Because you usually see them come back up at a later point in time. It’s all about the long game, and I intend to leave my investments ticking along for some time.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given about investing, or managing your money?
“Pay yourself first” is the best advice I’ve had. Paying yourself is essentially saving, but it’s framed in a more meaningful way. Another great piece of advice I’ve been given is when it comes to investing, always do your research! I’ll find a company that looks cool in Sharesies, and then do a quick Google search on them to see if there are any red flags.
What are you investing towards?
A future where we have enough money not to worry.
How have your attitudes towards investing changed since you became an investor?
I used to hear my dad or uncles (yah mostly men!) talking about “investing” and “shares”, and I could never really follow it or picture what it all meant. Kinda like it was a secret club or something. I think I probably had a bit of a mental block about it too, thinking it’s way too hard to understand. But it turns out it’s not that complicated. Over time, I now understand it. It’s no longer an unknown or an old boys club. It turns out investing can be super chill and heaps of fun!
People often think you need loads of money to invest. What tips would you give to everyday New Zealanders who might not think it’s possible?
The days of having a minimum of $10k to invest are over. The fact you can get started with just a couple of bucks is quite amazing. I’d say get a Sharesies account, and start small (like $30). Don't get too hung up about what you're investing in—it's just important to get started. You'll pick it up along the way, which is what makes Sharesies so great! After a while, you'll find yourself getting confident, and wanting to invest more and more.
The people shown in our Investor Journeys are Sharesies investors, and their stories are actual experiences they’ve had with us. They’re paid for their time to record their story.
Ok, now for the legal bit
Investing involves risk. You aren’t guaranteed to make money, and you might lose the money you start with. We don’t provide personalised advice or recommendations. Any information we provide is general only and current at the time written. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice when considering whether an investment is appropriate for your objectives, financial situation or needs.