Investor Journeys—Neal and Tahni
Neal (39) and Tahni (32) both grew up knowing nothing about money. They share how investing has helped them get ahead and their plans to give their son a head start.
Tell us about yourself!
Tahni: We live in Wellington with our 2-year-old Billy and two dogs. I work part-time from home, as one of only four hairdressers in New Zealand who specialise in curly hair!
Neal: We’re both from the UK originally. I’m a self-employed tiler and spend the weekends with Billy.
What’s your money story?
Neal: We both have a similar story. Our parents never had much money, so they never talked about it. My mum encouraged me to save money so I had a savings account, but my parents didn’t give me any advice about investing. It’s not something they knew about so I’ve had to work it out along the way.
Tahni: I started working when I was 14 because I knew I couldn’t rely on my parents for money. I got interested in investing when I started thinking about our future, and Billy’s future. I didn’t know anything about investing before I heard about Sharesies. I’ve learnt a lot from getting started and talking to Neal.
Neal: We both want to have a comfortable lifestyle when we retire and live reasonably well before then.
Tell us about your first time investing
Tahni: At first, I invested $50 every month in two funds. When Billy was born, we set up a Kids Account for him. By the time Billy’s 25, we’re hoping the value of his Sharesies Portfolio will be enough for a deposit on a house.
Neal: Before investing with Sharesies, I’d bought and sold some shares in an energy company. Since then, I’ve learnt a lot about investing from the Sharesies blog.
My first investment through Sharesies was in a few managed funds across industries like property, robotics, and health care. When Covid-19 first hit, I invested a lump sum in an individual company. The market had dipped, so the shares were a good price. I sold them six months later when the market picked up again and made a good return. I used to think of investing as gambling.
At the start, I didn’t see investing in shares as a long-term strategy to help my money grow, but I do now. It’s exciting!
How do you manage your investments now?
Neal: We’re always thinking about how much to invest, versus how much to pay off our mortgage. I spread most of my money evenly across four managed funds. I use auto-invest to invest every month. I like that the money goes out of my account and directly into the funds I’ve chosen to invest in. Investing the same amount regularly helps me to invest without having to try and time the market.
Tahni: I’ve continued investing in the same funds I started with. I used to have an automatic payment set up, but sometimes I’d forget to invest the money sitting in my Sharesies Wallet. I only use auto-invest now—I like that I’m investing without realising it. We invest about $100 every month into Billy’s Kids Account too. Sometimes his grandparents and other family top up his Wallet with money for his birthday or Christmas.
What are the most important things you’ve learnt so far?
Neal: I’ve learnt about the value of compounding returns. I’m earning money on my money, so I wish I’d started investing earlier. I used to be addicted to checking my Portfolio—sometimes ten times a day! It wasn’t useful because the share market goes up and down all the time. I’ve learnt to invest in things I believe in, and sectors and services I think will be successful in the future.
Tahni: I’ve learnt how to invest, to leave my money where it is, and to be patient.
What would you say to someone who doesn’t think investing is for them?
Tahni: If I can do it, anyone can! I had no idea how investing worked, but I’ve learnt by giving it a go.
Neal: Sharesies is the best thing since sliced bread. Start small and as early as possible, and think about investing for the long term. You can use auto-invest and start with whatever amount you can afford.
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.