Investor Journeys—Joe Cunningham
Joe Cunningham talks of the importance of doing your due diligence and how that boosted his investing journey as he embarks on his next chapter in life as an Apprentice Sail Maker.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
At the end of Year 12, I decided that school wasn’t for me. I packed up my car and moved from a small rural community to the City of Sails (Auckland) and began the next chapter of my life as an Apprentice Sail Maker.
Why did you start investing?
I started investing because I didn’t like my money just sitting in a bank account. After doing some research, I decided to invest in the stock market and make my money work for me.
Can you tell us about your first investment?
At first, I put $50 into Sharesies and had a play around to get the lay of the land and understand how it all worked. The first real investment I made was split between the Smartshares US 500, Smartshares Australian Resources and Smartshares NZ Mid Cap. I chose the first two (US 500 and Australian Resources) because they’re higher risk and give me the best chance of making a bang for my buck. I chose NZ Mid Cap a little later on for the more consistent returns, and the higher dividend yield. This is one investment that I will sit on, and hopefully keep for a long time.
What inspired you to kickstart your investment journey at a young age?
My inspiration comes from the most common advice that I’ve heard when talking about the stock market. It’s to start early, and start young. This advice was reinforced in some of the well-known books I’ve read like “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and “The Barefoot Investor”.
What would you do differently, if anything?
It’s hard to say what I would do differently, because the only thing that comes to mind is find the Sharesies website earlier!
What do you like about having an investment?
The best thing about having an investment is the knowledge that my money is out there making me more money, and not just sitting idly in a bank account. Other than that, you can’t beat when you look at your Portfolio after not seeing it for a couple of weeks and seeing your Portfolio value increase by 3-4%.
Sharesies is an extremely great service for starting in the stock market. Everyone should take a leaf out of Nike’s book and “just do it”.
How do you feel after becoming an ‘investor’ for the first time?
I feel happy and inspired to find new ways to diversify my earnings and get that extra leg up in life.
How do you fit investing into your budget, while working as an apprentice?
Making Sharesies fit in to my budget can sometimes be tricky, but my goal at present is to save anywhere between 10-15% of my fortnightly pay check, and try to have at least half of that go to my Sharesies account. The key aspect is to not overspend, and make sure you have some money in reserve—so you don’t have to dip in to your account and miss out on the profits!
People often think you need loads of money to invest. What tips would you give to everyday people who might not think it’s possible?
Normally you would need at least 5k to start investing, or get any sort of term deposit. But Sharesies removes those barriers by charging an easy and low-cost fee.
My tips would be to do some research. There’s a good site called ‘MoneyHub NZ’ that covers not only investing, but also credit cards, insurance, and other tips and tricks.
Another good trick is to read some books like “Rich Dad Poor Dad” and “The Barefoot Investor”. Although these are written for other countries, there are many good points covered in these books.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve given (or been given) about investing?
The best piece of advice I’ve heard is start young, be patient, and think in the long term.
I would say just make a start—because once you’ve started, it’s easy to carry on with it. It might mean you can buy that house a couple of years sooner, or go on that trip around the world and tick it off the bucket list.
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.