Investor Journeys—Milan Kruger
Milan is a 26-year-old Aucklander who works in the tech industry. Alongside his passion for sports and video games, he has a love for teaching others about investing.
We chatted with Milan about why he started investing, what he invests towards, and how he manages money with his wife Ina Mari.
Why did you start investing?
At a very young age, my dad advised me to read a well-known book called ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. My default answer was always "I'll read it later"... Well, this later was at age 25. The book changed my life.
In the book, Robert describes the average married couple and what path they typically follow with their money. This shook me to my core because the typical journey was the ‘Kiwi dream’. White picket fence, boat, 2 kids and a lifetime of debt. No thanks. I knew right then and there that there had to be another way.
My dad was an entrepreneur who owned his own business, so growing up, I could see the fruits of being your own boss and doing things a tad differently than others. Before I read ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’, I was 'normal'. I say normal because it’s considered normal to go into debt and buy things on credit cards. So I thought that was the way to do it.
Now I know the book speaks about good debt and bad debt, and I realise that not all debt is bad. However, the vast majority of people spend much more than they earn—it’s so important that we change that 'normal'.
Tell us about your first investment!
My first investment was in the Smartshares US 500 fund. I did my own research and due diligence before picking it. I’d recommend to anyone wanting to invest to do lots of reading—it gave me a much greater understanding of what to invest in and how to do it.
The sooner you realise that reading is a cheat code to life, the quicker you’ll win. Whether it be investing, losing weight, or doing a handstand. The author of a book has knowledge on a subject that they’ve built over x amount of years. By reading, you tap into that knowledge in the space of a few hours. I found everything I needed in books and online.
As a couple, how do you and Ina Mari manage your money and investments?
My wife Ina Mari and I not only share the same financial goals, but we also share the same bank account. We believe that by combining our finances, we have a stronger wealth-building machine. We share the same vision for the future where we aren't dependent on money.
We've been investing for just over a year. The old saying 'work hard, play later' is something that we’re living by for the next decade. We’re putting the pedal to the metal and investing every cent above baseline. The baseline is the number we've determined that we need to sustain a good lifestyle. Every cent above that gets invested. We've recently moved to a smaller place as well, to invest even more! By doing this we’ll be catapulting ourselves into a better future—for both my wife and me, as well as any future little ones!
We’re on the same page with regards to our investment strategy. We have regular conversations about it to make sure we stay on track. I call her our personal finance minister, whereas I’m our investor. She looks after the day-to-day and I invest our hard-earned money. We’re equally invested in the goal and responsibility.
How have your attitudes towards investing changed since you became an investor?
I think people are scared of investing because they don’t understand it. I had to really dig to find good advice, but once I knew what I wanted to achieve with my investments, it became a very exciting journey.
With investing, I like the security of having something in my back pocket. I also like knowing that Ina Mari and I are building a life of financial freedom. It’s a no brainer when you see your investments grow, knowing that you’re building a better future for yourself and your family.
What tips would you give to everyday New Zealanders who might think you need loads of money to invest?
My biggest tip would be to do research or reach out to someone who has done this before. Make the research simple, read enough books about the subject, and you’ll start to see patterns and what has worked for hundreds of years. From my research, I was able to figure out what my portfolio would look like and what investments to make.
Everyone should be putting something away for a rainy day! The best quote I’ve ever heard is by one of the most revered investors in history, Warren Buffet; 'Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.'
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.