In this series, we ask investors from all walks of life to chat about what it was like to make their first ever investment. We spoke to Sam Fernando, who started his investment journey on Sharesies!
When Sam heard whispers about Sharesies, the start-up making investment easy, his first thought was “where do I sign up?”
The 29-year-old Wellingtonian saw Sharesies as a way to dip a toe in the stock market, without doing hours of research.
As the creator of his own start-up Polanyio, specialising in machine learning for Government and industry, he wanted to support fellow entrepreneurs.
Investment of a generation
With his future in mind, Sam decided to join thousands of others in signing up for Sharesies and now sees it as an alternative to having money sit in the bank or tied up in property.
“So much of it is spent on the mundane things like rent and food, and only some of it goes into savings,” he says.
“I think a lot of my generation are in the same boat, where it’s very hard to get a foot on the property ladder, so we don’t own our own home. I think Sharesies could well become the answer to investing for people like us.”
Step by step
Sam tested the waters by putting an initial investment into the NZ Top 50, and was pleased to see it tracking nicely.
He has since expanded on his first-time success by adding more funds and looks forward to expanding his portfolio.
“I’ve almost broken even on my initial $30-$20- $10 outlay, which is great. I’ve been really happy with how it’s all going so far.”
Sam shares his experience, so far…
Why did you choose Sharesies as your first ever investment?
Sharesies bridged the gap between ‘I want to invest, but I don’t have the money’, and ‘hey, I can actually do this’.
At the moment, I’m just keen to experiment and see where it takes me. I still see it as a risk, and there is still potential for loss, but it’s all relative.
My wife and I don’t own a home. It was always my assumption a house would be my first investment, but it’s wasted money if your rent is already low, in comparison to a mortgage. It’s great to have an outlet for young investors looking for an alternative to property.
What did you like about the Sharesies concept?
It’s like playing a game that benefits you. On Grand Theft Auto you can bid on a virtual share market. The way I see it, why would you bother putting your money into a game for fake rewards, when you could do it in real life and potentially reap the benefits.
How do you think millennials view investment?
There’s an assumption that bricks and mortar is safe and that it’s low risk. We might be the first generation that comes through who says — ‘we aren’t going to own a house, what’s my next logical investment?’.
People see share trading as risky, because you’re putting money into something unknown. But you’re actually putting money behind a business or other organisations.
Was investing on the stock market something you’d thought of before Sharesies?
I think the thing that really excited me is that you only need $5 to start investing. It’s made a difference for me.
(Since this post was written, there is no longer a $5 minimum investment. You can invest as much, or as little as you can afford. Our post on fractional shares explains it all.)
“I’ve gone from thinking investing is something I can’t do, to something achievable.”
I got into it for fun. I saw the opportunity as fun-seeking and now realise it’s something really sensible to do with my money.
My dad has got his own home, he has his own business, my older brother owns a house, but he’s more cautious — I am more of a risk taker. But I feel Sharesies makes the stock market a far less scary territory.
Was it easy to sign up and make your first investment?
It was super simple to sign up and you can follow your investments from your phone or desktop, which is great.
I didn’t know a lot about investing, but I didn’t have to. It was all laid out for me. I did a bit of research into the NZX 50 and liked the idea of spreading my investment so it’s diversified.
Would you recommend the Sharesies experience to a friend?
I feel a lot more comfortable recommending people now that I have tried Sharesies for myself and seen how it works. I’ve spoken to friends and family about it, and the responses have been really positive. It’s cool and I would definitely encourage people to check it out.
If you (or you know of anyone) who has an interesting investing story to tell. Or there is a particular part of investing you’d like to hear about—let us know.