Investing with the XX factor

 When you think of your typical investor, more often than not you picture an old rich dude. You’re not alone — research shows most investors are male. But a recent study also found something else — women make great investors!

 Where the women at? 

Where the women at? 

But why are women less likely to invest even though they’re great at it? I’m sure everyone has their reasons, but the study points to three: confidence, willingness to engage, and time.

At Sharesies, we believe investing should be accessible to everyone and want to help more women feel empowered to make the most of their investing ‘XX’ factor.

Why is investing important for women?

Although we’re all striving for gender equality, there are significant things that have an impact on women’s finances:

  • Women often live longer.
  • Women are typically not paid as much.
  • And are more likely to take a career break (which adds to the gender wage and the retirement savings gap).

All of these mean the money needs to stretch further. And part of doing this is making sure you’re getting yourself set up to make the most of the money you get.

Why do women make great investors (when we do decide to invest)?

Women are more likely to take a ‘buy and hold’ approach to investing. And because of this are less likely to try ‘time the market.’ This means being less likely to buy when prices are high or sell (in a panic) when things start to drop. This is a strategy that has proven to be very reliable over time — particularly for those who don’t want to spend all day worrying about the ups and downs of the market.

So, how do I start investing?

For most people, investing isn’t like the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’. You don’t need to be a stock picker, the most important thing is deciding to invest, and getting started.

  • Find the investment type that suits you ( have created a great investor kick starter tool that asks you questions about how you’re planning to invest and gives you an investor type)
  • Choose a platform that engages you and helps you invest the way you want. Investing is becoming more accessible than ever. You can grow your portfolio one payday at a time, investing amounts you can afford.
  • And then start learning how to invest by giving it a crack — the earlier you start the better. 

‘But my partner does this stuff’

This is something we get told far too often. Don’t outsource learning about money — get involved and take joint control of your money.

At Sharesies, we think it’s really important for women to be involved with their money. Although there are a bunch of reasons for this (that we don’t really want to think about). There are also a lot of positive reasons as well. If you’re in a relationship then 2 heads are better than 1, 2 people investing for their interests will be more diverse. And money can be such a household stress, being involved means you can both share the load.

Whether you’re in a relationship or rocking it solo, making sure you know ways to make your money work harder will only help you in the long run.


We’d love to hear any questions or stories you’re keen to share about investing.

Sharesies is making investing easy for everyone. To get started, sign up on our website. And to stay up to date with what we’re up to, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Ok, now for the legal bit.

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. The info provided above isn’t a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any financial products available through the Sharesies platform. Before investing, consider your investment objectives and read the fund’s product disclosure statement carefully. It contains the fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and other information which should be considered carefully before investing.

How does bitcoin fit with your investment portfolio?

At Sharesies, customers regularly ask if we'll make bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies (crypto) available on our platform.

It's easy to see why. Since its 2011 introduction, bitcoin has gone from being worth cents per 'coin' to an all-time high of nearly US$20,000 ($27,300). It is an exciting technology that has the opportunity to change how financial services work and it's putting people investing money in it on a bit of a wild ride.



Where does this fit in an investment portfolio?

At this stage, we consider bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a speculative investment. Even for speculation, they're closer to gambling than usual investing. Anyone buying into crypto today is well advised to do so with disposable funds or 'play money'—money you can afford to lose.

As with all speculative investing, instead of asking yourself "am I happy with 100 percent returns?" ask how you'd feel about a 100 percent loss. And use that to guide how much you're comfortable to invest.

Keeping a close eye on it

That said, we regularly chat crypto in the Sharesies office. Several of us have cryptocurrency portfolios and we have an in-depth understanding of the blockchain technology upon which cryptocurrencies are based. There are good reasons to believe that blockchain technology will have a tremendous impact on the future of the finance industry.

The value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reflects a deep consumer frustration with existing financial services. Faced with slow transfer times, large fees and inflexible products, technical innovators see blockchain technology as a way to bring finance into the digital age.


This isn't the first time we've seen this pattern. Great services such as Netflix, Spotify and Apple Music were made possible by the invention of peer-to-peer file sharing, a technology that gave modern streaming platforms the leverage to bring publishers to the table, increasing convenience and reducing costs for consumers.

It took time for download and streaming services to mature (and for law and contracts to catch up), and we will likely see the same thing with crypto—even the most mature components such as bitcoin itself are still evolving (and volatile) compared with traditional currency and more advanced technologies, such as smart contracts, are very experimental.

Risk and reward

On top of the experimental nature of the technology itself, the potential for huge rewards mixed with risk and a lack of regulation has created a Wild West where fraud is very common and participants routinely and irrecoverably lose enormous sums of money by mistake or foul play. Much like the change to the way we consume our media, it will take time for regulators and trust to come to crypto.

One point to consider is that determining value is difficult. In traditional economic terms, something is valuable if it has utility and if it is scarce; taking bitcoin as an example, it is indeed scarce, with a hard cap on the total number of bitcoins which can exist.

With traditional currencies, value is derived from the trust people have in the unit, backed by the Government.

Cryptos aren't backed by Government, so the value is determined solely by the market. And that market is wide open to manipulation; more and more people are entering the market with a limited understanding of the underlying fundamentals.

At Sharesies we encourage everyone to build themselves a strong financial future. While bitcoin and other blockchain technology may well be a big part of that future, at this time there is too much uncertainty and risk for it to form a big part of your portfolio.

We continue to watch and work in the space, and when the time is right we look forward to bringing our customers a good investment option in this new and fascinating platform.

Article originally appeared on NZ Herald

Think you're not an investor? Think again!

If you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about shares, investments and things like that, you’ll probably assume that you’re not an investor. That’s a reasonable assumption, but we’re about to blow your mind—we’re pretty sure that everyone is an investor in one way or the other, and “everyone” includes you.


You don’t know me!

That’s true—we don’t. But let’s take a look at what investing is.

In a nutshell, investing is putting resources (usually money) towards something that you hope will pay off later. If you invest in a business, that business may spend your investment on some kind of improvements that increase its profits, then give some of those profits back to you.

But think for a second about what money is. It’s basically just a resource. There’s nothing that says money is the only resource you can invest. When you start to think about other resources, you’ll start to realise that you’ve probably been an investor all along.  

Imagine you’re a gardener for a moment. You might plant some veges, and “invest” water, energy and time. After awhile, you get your return—some delicious fresh vegetables, ready to be chopped and eaten.


Did you go to university or polytechnic? If you did, then you’re an investor. Studying is expensive and time-consuming. If you’re not surrounded with rich (and generous) family members, you have to live off your student loan and work part-time in order to (barely) pay the bills.

You probably wouldn’t do this just for fun! But it may not be about the money either. While people who study do, on average, make more than people who don’t, there are lots of other reasons you may study. You may get a lot of personal satisfaction out of working in a particular field. In order to get that “return” of a satisfied feeling, you’re investing in studying to work in the field.

The same goes for apprenticeships. Apprentices often get paid minimum wage. In some cases, they could get paid more elsewhere, but they’re investing in their future by taking a lower pay and learning a skill that will increase their ability to earn more in future.


In the workforce

Ever pull a late night to impress your boss by getting a project done? Congratulations—you're an investor. There’s no immediate gain from you sacrificing your evening, but if it builds your skills and puts you closer to a promotion, you can bet those will pay off.

Your health

Eating your vegetables? Exercising? Avoiding fast food? Having a burger every day would be delicious, and getting up to go for a run can be absolutely excruciating. Yet most people don’t have burgers every day, and lots of people go for a walk, or a run or to the gym. If you’re one of these people, then congratulations again—you’re an investor. Every time you drag yourself out of bed and go running, you’re investing in future you—even if current you would much rather be in bed.


The really cool thing

Looking at your life this way can teach you a lot about investing your money as well. Think about exercising, studying, working late and so on—these things can be mild annoyances from time to time, but they’re hopefully not completely horrible. Studying for an exam may be stressful, but overall, peoples’ memories of university tend to be pretty positive.

That’s the great thing about investing in yourself. It doesn’t have to be a complete trade-off. You don’t have to exchange total misery now in hopes of a big reward in the future. Rather, you can have it both ways.

The same goes for investing your hard-earned money

You don’t have to invest so much money that you can barely make ends meet. In fact, you don’t even need to invest so much that you need to make significant changes to your lifestyle. Investing little bits, here and there, lets you have it all—you get a return in the future, but you don’t have to sacrifice so much today that your quality of life is a lot lower.

If you’re a member of KiwiSaver, you’re already investing your money. And with Sharesies, you can really start to invest in a way that works for you.

Just like how there is no typical investor, there is no typical way to invest. It's about doing what’s right for you.

How does KiwiSaver work?

We often get a lot of questions from our investors about whether or not they should have KiwiSaver, and how it works. So we thought we’d share our thoughts.


KiwiSaver is a retirement savings program created by the New Zealand Government. And what’s cool about it is it’s one of the only ways you can get free money! Well, not completely free. There’s a bit of a catch, which we’ll get to later. But let’s start with the free bit, by looking at how KiwiSaver works:

  1. You opt-in when you start your job

  2. You agree to contribute 3%, 4% or 8% of your salary to KiwiSaver.

  3. (This is the important part) your employer has to contribute at least another 3%.

  4. Your bit, plus the 3% from your employer, goes to the IRD, and the IRD puts it in a fund for you.

So, if you contribute 3%, your employer then contributes another 3%. This means that if you make $40,000 a year, you contribute $1,200 towards your KiwiSaver, and your employer puts up to another $1,200. You instantly double your money!

And don’t worry—your KiwiSaver isn’t tied to your employer. When you leave your job, your KiwiSaver comes with you. Then you just start the process again in your next job.

If you’re self-employed, you won’t get the employer contributions, but you are entitled to the next section of the free money, so stay tuned.

Have another 500 bucks

What’s more, if you contribute at least $1,042.86 in a year, the government will give you $521.43 (we’re not sure why the numbers are so specific, but for today’s purposes it doesn’t really matter).

The point is, this is more free money for you. You’ll get this automatically if you sign up to KiwiSaver and earn at least $37,000 a year, make sure you top your yearly contribution to $1,042.86. This is super-easy to do from your online banking.

What’s the catch?

Okay, you got us. Nothing is completely free, and KiwiSaver is no exception. In exchange for your “free” money, you do need to give something up, and in this case, it's flexibility.

Unlike a bank account, or your money in Sharesies, or some cash under your mattress (not recommended), you can’t withdrawal from KiwiSaver whenever you want.

There are two main situations when you can get the money in your KiwiSaver:

  1. If and when you buy your first house

  2. When you turn 65

This means that it’s probably going to be quite some time until you see that money again, especially if you’ve already bought a house, or you’ve decided not to buy a house.

Is it worth it?

It’s your money, but our view is: yes! We think this tradeoff is definitely worth it. Your KiwiSaver money doesn’t just sit in a vault, waiting for you to get your hands on it when you get older. It gets invested in a fund that’s designed to grow over time. This will be a combination of shares, bonds and other products similar to what you buy through Sharesies. This means your contribution today should be worth more once you crack it open.

What about Sharesies?

This doesn’t mean you should only use KiwiSaver, though. At Sharesies, we’re all about diversification. This means diversification across lots of different investments, but it also means diversification across other things, such as when you can access your money. KiwiSaver is not very liquid (a fancy investor word for when you can cash in your investments), while a $2 deposit in your bank is very liquid—you could spend it right now if you wanted.

An investment through Sharesies, on the other hand, gives you flexibility. We encourage you to stay in the market for a long time, but you may want to invest with a view to getting your returns in ten, fifteen or twenty years….and perhaps not thirty-five years or more.  

Have it both ways

So get the best of both worlds. Sign up for KiwiSaver so you contribute at least 3%, and set up an automatic payment for a small investment into Sharesies each pay period as well. This gives you the long-term payoff and free money from KiwiSaver, and the flexibility of Sharesies. This is diversifying your maturity. Not only are you buying lots of different eggs, you’re also buying eggs that hatch at different times.

Lots of investments have tradeoffs—but combining KiwiSaver and Sharesies gets you pretty close to having it all.



Ok, now for the legal bit.

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. The info provided above isn’t a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any financial products available through the Sharesies platform. Before investing, it's important to consider your investment objectives and read the fund’s product disclosure statement carefully. See a financial advisor if you need personalised financial advice.

Our view on the latest market news

Some of you may have noticed the share market getting a bit more attention than normal in the media. Since we started Sharesies, the market has generally been gaining value. Today, that turned around, and the share market lost some value.

This means that if you’re investing through Sharesies, some of your investments may have lost value—and probably for the first time! Here’s a couple of tips to help you keep your nerves.

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Think about the long-term

Investments losing value can be a bit nerve-wracking but try not to panic. You still own the same number of investments, it’s the value of these that changes (and is expected to change) over time. Think of how long you’re looking to invest (your investment horizon). If your timeframe is far away, then short-term changes aren’t that important. Because you’re not going to spend the money for ages anyway, it’s okay if it dips in value a bit between now and then.

On the other hand, selling your shares when they dip in value turns a ‘paper loss’ into a real loss. If your investments lost value, and you sell today, then you’ll have less actual money in your pocket than when you started investing. That’s a real impact, and it’s one we’d like you to avoid!

You should also look at long-term trends. We’re fresh out of crystal balls (again), so we don’t know how long this dip will last, or how far it will go. But we do know that the overall share market tends to rise in value over a long enough time frame. Take a look at this graph of the US500 over the last year (one of the Smartshares funds you can invest in through Sharesies):


As you can see, there’s lots of dips in there, but the long-term trend is upwards. So if your time frame is long, buckle in and enjoy the rollercoaster!

It’s a buyer’s market

Also, remember that you still have the same amount of shares. It’s just that each one is worth a bit less. The silver lining here is that they’re also cheaper if you want to buy shares. This is where dollar-cost averaging really comes in.

Let’s run through a quick example. Say you decide to spend $10 a week on shares. Shares are worth $10 in your first week, so you only get 1 share.

Then imagine there’s a dip in value in the second week, and shares fall to $1 each! That’s not great for your first share, but it means your next $10 investment buys you 10 shares, when your last investment only bought 1.

So, if you combine your one share from the first week with your 10 shares from the second week, you have a total of 11 shares, and you’ve spent $20. 11 shares for $20 is a bit over $1.80 a share. This mean that if your shares rise in value to $2 each, you’ve made money. Your first share may have lost value, but the next 10 picked up the slack.

So if you really want to make the most of a nervy situation, just keep on investing through Sharesies. Remember to think of your time horizon, and don’t invest any money that you need in the near future, but if you have a long-term time horizon, just keep on investing—little amounts, every week, week after week.

Ok, now for the legal bit.

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. The info provided above isn’t a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any financial products available through the Sharesies platform. Before investing, consider your investment objectives and read the fund’s product disclosure statement carefully. It contains the fund’s investment objectives, risks, charges and other information which should be considered carefully before investing.


Product update—Refer a friend

Now you can be rewarded for helping your friends sign up for Sharesies with the 'Refer a friend' program 💝.

Check it out!

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What's new?

Invite a friend to use Sharesies using 'Refer a friend'. For every friend who signs up from your referral, and within 30 days—you'll get a $10 paid to your Wallet to invest. Terms and conditions apply.

Go to Menu>Share the love>Refer a friend and enter the email address and name of the friend you'd like to invite to use Sharesies. If they don't already have a Sharesies account or haven't already been referred by someone else, they'll be sent an email invite to sign up. 

For more information go to How to refer a friend.

What else has changed?

You can now purchase Gifts inside Sharesies. The referral program will also apply to Gifts that are created when you're logged in to Sharesies. If you give a Gift, and this is used to sign up—you’ll get a $10.00 referral bonus added to your Wallet. 

Please note: the referral bonus is only available once for each new customer. If a customer uses a Gift code to sign up, then the Gift code first entered in the signup process will trump any existing referral and qualify for the Bonus. See the full Terms and conditions for more info.

What else has been happening? 

  • $10 million invested—since our launch 8 months ago we're stoked to have 11,500+ active investors who have invested over $10 million through Sharesies. Thanks for all the support so far!
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Happy investing 🎉 ! 

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