19-year-old Sam shares how having a Sharesies Kids Account helped him feel comfortable about investing, and why he’d like to be financially independent by the age of 30.
Tell us about yourself!
I live at home with my parents in Woolston, Christchurch. I’m in my second year at university, studying operations management and philosophy.
What’s your money story?
My parents weren’t very interested in money or investing, so financial literacy wasn’t a big part of my childhood. They were open about the fact that they didn’t know everything about everything. I’m grateful that they encouraged me to research things for myself and form my own opinions.
Ever since I was about 10 or 11, I knew that I didn’t want to get trapped in the cycle of having a nine-to-five job for 40+ years. Investing is important to me because by the time I’m 30, I want to have a choice about whether I work or not.
When I was 12, my mum took me to a Rich Dad, Poor Dad workshop about investing in property. It sparked my interest in investing. Until then, I didn’t have a clue about economics or finance.
When I was 14, my parents opened a Sharesies Kids Account for me—I think I was one of the first kids to sign up! That’s when I started investing.
How did you use your Kids Account at the start?
My parents set up an auto-invest order, and I added some of my own money from part-time holiday jobs. The idea of investing felt exciting and a bit daunting, but Sharesies is very user-friendly so it was easy to get started.
I invested in managed funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) until I felt confident investing small amounts in companies. My investment goals are long term, so I have more time to ride out the inevitable ups and downs in the share market.
How did you find moving from a Kids Account to your own Sharesies account?
I was always involved in managing my Kids Account, so moving to my own account didn’t feel very different. It was more symbolic than anything else. My investment goals are still the same. The main change is that I spend more time learning about different companies.
Being introduced to investing through my Kids Account early was one of the most valuable things I’ve ever done. It’s had a positive influence on my mindset; made me comfortable about money and more confident about investing. That’s been more important to me than the amount of money I've made.
Investing is fun. I love looking into companies and find it oddly satisfying to create spreadsheets based on my findings. It also feels productive. It’s not like the quick fix you might get from buying new clothes or a cup of coffee.
How have you learnt about investing?
I first learnt about investing online. I’d search for basic things like ‘What is a stock?’ or ‘How does a stock exchange work?’.
When I was about 15, one of my mum’s relatives introduced me to a property investor. I didn’t know how to analyse a company’s financial reports, so he suggested that I look into their objectives, people, and profits. We still meet up so I can pick his brains!
At school, my friends weren’t very interested in talking about investing. But now, my like-minded university friends and I talk about it. Studying finance and accounting is helping me understand financial reports, and how to analyse data and build spreadsheets.
I keep up with business and investing news. One day I saw an article in the newspaper about a successful company that was relocating buildings after the Christchurch earthquakes. I emailed the owner to see if I could meet them. I didn’t expect a reply, but we met up, and I learnt a lot.
I follow The Happy Saver website which helps people understand money and investing. I also listen to the Girls That Invest podcast. It breaks everything down and uses simple language to explain investing.
What are the most important things you’ve learnt as an investor so far?
Be patient rather than hasty. Step back and focus your time and effort on one thing, one goal.
Get comfortable with the concepts of investing and try not to react emotionally when the market goes up or down.
Take every piece of advice with a grain of salt. Everyone has an opinion, so take what you want and then form your own opinion. There’s no one-size-fits-all.
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.