Investor Journeys—Beauden Barrett

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This week’s first-time investing story comes from professional rugby player and Sharesies investor, Beauden Barrett! We had a chat with him about buying his first shares as an 18-year-old, learning as you go, and why diversification is key.

Tell us a bit about yourself!

My name’s Beauden. I’m 27 years old from an organic dairy farm in Pungarehu, Taranaki. I’m now a professional rugby player. I’ve lived in Wellington for 8 years and I love it!

What was your first investment?

My first investment was purchasing some shares when I was 18. It wasn’t a large amount of money invested, but my parents thought it would be good for me to learn how it all works and to understand my appetite and risk profile. We went through our family advisor—they were mostly Australian stocks on the ASX. I didn’t know how the process worked, so it was a simple bank transfer and our advisor reported back quarterly.

After that first investment, I felt excited. I couldn’t wait to hear how well it was going every quarter. It also made me question my excessive spending and whether it would be better to put my money towards something productive.

Looking back, I had very little knowledge in the stock exchange, and in particular, the companies we invested in. They were quite high risk companies in the resources sector and things didn’t go to plan (the plan being high risk = high return). Thankfully, the sum invested was an amount I could afford to lose at the time. At such a young age, a small steady growth would’ve been ideal as I was new to the game and had time on my side to learn.

Why do you like being an investor?

I didn’t go to university as I fully committed to playing rugby straight out of secondary school, so I saw investing as an opportunity to learn in a practical way. It’s a lot of fun to ride the wave of a successful company and experience the thrill when it’s doing well.

By slowly growing my investment portfolio and seeing good returns, it’s given me more confidence to continue to invest; whether it’s property, managed funds, small businesses, horticulture, or agriculture.

Diversification is important to me because as a professional sportsman in such a physical sport, there’s no guarantee or real security when it comes to longevity in the game—it’s really important for me to think about my future and ‘life after rugby’. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I retire from professional rugby, but diversifying means I have options to work for myself if that’s the way I choose to go.

Also, investing in my body and mind is really important right now. This means doing whatever I can to stay fit, healthy, and injury free. Longevity in the game, and playing quality and consistent rugby will maximise my earning potential.

Why should people try investing?

Having skin in the game makes it so real and fun. But I think it’s important to diversify to set up your future. Relying on one income stream (work) can be risky, so putting small amounts of money aside every payday to start and grow a portfolio is important.

With Sharesies, the great thing is how transparent they are. It’s all there on the website, you can see the various funds, the companies and sectors involved, graphs, and risk profiles...but the best thing is you can invest from as little as you want! Just give it a go and watch it grow.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve given (or been given) about investing?

When it comes to property, “you make your money the day you buy”. By buying well, you can instantly increase your equity. Whenever you become emotionally attached, you’ll tend to pay too much for it.

With investing in funds, be patient. The waves will rise and fall, but over the long term, you’ll see a nice gradual growth.

And finally, talk to people! Ask someone who’s done well in business or investing for quality advice or tips. Ask them if they’re investing, what they’re investing in, and be open about money to whatever level you’re comfortable with. Surround yourself with positive people who will help you make smart decisions. Money isn’t something a lot of people like talking about, but the more knowledge you have, the easier the decisions will be.