When Michaela isn’t learning how to save lives (she’s studying to be a doctor!) or hiking mountains with her cat, Pepper, she’s busy thinking of ways to grow her wealth using Sharesies.
The 25-year-old gives us the lowdown on how she became a confident investor and how it’s possible to do so even on a student income.
Tell us about yourself!
I’m a med student originally from Gisborne, but currently finishing up my final year of placement in Christchurch. Outside of study and work, I love going on hikes with my cat (I take her out on a lead and she loves it!), learning how to roller skate, and dabbling in woodworking.
What’s your money story?
Growing up, I remember asking my parents questions like ‘how much does a house cost’ or ‘how much do you earn?’ and them telling me I was still young and to not worry about money. When I turned 15, all that changed, pretty rapidly. All of a sudden, my mum’s like “why don’t you have a savings account?” to which I replied, “what’s a saving’s account?”
Around that time, my mum (my money hero) had just started learning about investing. Having grown up under a communist regime in the Czech Republic where people kept money under their pillows because nobody trusted the banks (her words), it’s incredible to see how far she’s come.
She began with term deposits, then moved on to things like KiwiSaver, before she became a full-fledged investor. The more my mum learnt about investing over the years, the more she tried to convince me to start investing, too.
Tell us about your first time investing
I was very hesitant about investing at first. When my mum first told me about it, I said I’d deal with that when I wasn’t working summer jobs to get by, and when medical school was done and dusted. But then in October 2018, my mum invited me to a workshop run by a local investment firm and everything changed.
I remember being very nervous going to the event, thinking they wouldn’t take me or my money seriously. There were a lot of men in suits there—I really felt as if I didn’t belong. But when I finally managed to speak to one of the representatives, they made me feel really comfortable and helped me to make my first investment.
Within two weeks, there was a big dip in the market. But not long after, it rebounded. Seeing the share market fluctuate helped me get comfortable accepting this as a risk of investing.
What does your investment portfolio look like today?
I put 60% into Sharesies, 10% into my bank account, and 30% into a fund managed by an investment firm. I keep a pretty diversified portfolio. I invest in everything from freight to activewear; energy drinks through to travel brands.
I think of myself as quite a passive investor. I have an automatic payment that goes out every week from my bank account into my Sharesies Wallet. I don’t tend to check my portfolio a lot because I think of it as a long-term investment, so the daily jumps and dips don’t matter a great deal to me.
When I’m researching what to invest in, I check the one and five year forecasts of the company and ask myself: If I had put $100 into this company or fund five years ago, how much would I have now? Then I do the math on what it’d be if I had invested a thousand dollars.
How have your money attitudes and behaviours changed over time?
I went from thinking I didn’t have enough money to invest, to realising that the money I do have is worth investing. I’ve also changed my spending habits. Recently, I was scrolling through Instagram and saw some cute tights for a hundred dollars. Instead of impulse buying those tights, I did some research on the company and ended up buying their shares instead!
I do the same whenever I feel the urge to buy coffee now, too. Basically, I will almost always buy shares in the company over a product any day.
What are your financial goals?
I want to buy a house in Christchurch in the near future, so I’m now educating myself on mortgages and how the housing market works.
Anytime I’ve mentioned the idea of buying a house to someone, I’m always met with the spiel about how crazy house prices are right now. But when you look at house prices, they’ve gone up the same way share prices have, but no one says: ‘there’s no point investing in shares now because they’re so much more expensive than they were 10 years ago’. People just buy them. I’m trying to approach the property ladder in a similar way. Sure, it would’ve been better to have bought a house five years ago, but I can’t go back in time. So I have to look toward the future and buy a property now if I can.
What would you say to someone who doesn’t think investing is for them?
I started with a thousand dollars. It was all I had saved up and I was worried the investment firm was going to laugh at me and tell me they didn’t want my petty money. When in fact, that thousand dollars was more than enough.
I’m a student living off summer earnings and a student allowance, and if I can do it, I think anyone can!
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.