Laura is a keen traveller who grew up in England, and moved to New Zealand in 2016. She’s working in Wellington as a Legal Personal Assistant in banking and financial services. We had a chat with Laura about how her investment portfolio, knowledge and confidence has grown over time!
Tell us about your first investment!
My first investment was back home in England when I set up an ISA to help me save for my move to Australia. Until moving to New Zealand, I had always saved money until my next holiday came along. So I'd never tried anything more adventurous than my bank’s savings options. Since moving to New Zealand, I decided to try some different types of investing as I knew I was not going to be eligible for KiwiSaver until I became a resident (2-3 years). As a complete novice who just wanted to start saving for her future, I did a lot of research before choosing how to invest. I started reading online blogs and articles, watching investment videos on YouTube, and speaking with colleagues and friends about their investing experiences, and the different options out there. My first investment in NZ was a term deposit with my bank. Then I started a Sharesies account to ease myself into learning how to balance a portfolio and choose my investments. When I joined Sharesies, I put a little bit into the medium and higher risk funds (as I already had my term deposit which was low risk).
What does your investment portfolio look like now?
Now that I’ve been working in New Zealand for a few years, I’m finally a resident, so have added my KiwiSaver to my investment portfolio. I have added new funds to my Sharesies Portfolio as they come, with my most recent being the Global Equities Responsible Fund and the Global Automation and Robotics Fund. I have money in 15 funds with Sharesies. I am also experimenting with peer-to-peer lending and still have my term deposit. 50% of my investment portfolio is in a low risk term deposit, so I am willing to be an ‘aggressive’ investor with my Sharesies investments. My investment portfolio is now 50% term deposit, 20% Sharesies ‘aggressive’ investments, 15% peer-to-peer lending and 15% KiwiSaver. My Sharesies investments are doing the best at the moment, with a return of 10.93% today (yes, I check it every day!).
How did you learn about investing?
When I first arrived in New Zealand, I met with a financial adviser. I found it completely overwhelming and everything she said went over my head, as I had no understanding of any of the types of investments she was explaining…so I did my own research instead! I took my time, read a lot of online blogs, and asked friends and colleagues about how they started investing. I also happened to join a Financial Services team as a PA which massively helped as my team are obviously quite interested in the world of investing!
It’s sparked a genuine interest in investing for me, which I didn’t have any knowledge of before. I now enjoy speaking to friends about how they invest and how they choose what to invest in; everyone’s different! I don’t think it’s something people are particularly comfortable talking about, but it should be!
How do you decide what to invest in?
I am not a big risk taker by nature, so I like to do a fair bit of research before I choose how to invest my money. If I’m not sure if it will pay off, I’ll just dip my toe in, which is why Sharesies works so well for me—I can just put $5 in a new fund and see how I go!
There are some investments I’ll avoid for ethical reasons, and I tend to stay away from anything too risky, as I am definitely still learning as a beginner! I have become a little bit braver over my year or so of investing with Sharesies, and get quite excited when new investment options are added.
I add $50 a fortnight to my Sharesies Wallet. I don’t invest in all my funds each time, but tend to put around $10 into 5 funds each fortnight. I will probably invest in each fund once every six weeks (my version of dollar-cost averaging).
Why do you think it’s important that people invest?
Because it’s fun! I know you’re not supposed to check in on your investments every day, but I do get a real thrill seeing them go up and down (mostly up please!) so it has become a morning habit of mine to check how all my investments are going. I think it also encourages you to take note of what’s happening in the world around you, and make a choice in where your money goes and how to make your money work for you.
It’s also reassuring to know that you’re setting yourself up for financial independence later in life and forces you to think about your long-term financial goals and how to achieve them. For me, it’s also set a good habit of investing my money rather than just spending what I get paid on things I don’t really need!
What tips would you give to everyday New Zealanders who might not think investing is for them?
It’s never too late to start
You don’t have to be a financial expert to invest—just start small and learn as you go
Speak to someone you respect about how they started investing (everyone is a beginner at first!)
You don’t have to be well off to start investing. Just make regular, affordable contributions and you won’t even miss it from your ‘spending money’
Invest in something you believe in—it makes investing more fun
Invest an affordable amount. At one stage, when I got really excited, I was trying to save way too much each month and would run out of money for my essentials—this is not smart!
Do your research!
What are you investing towards?
I began investing mainly to start a retirement fund until I was eligible for KiwiSaver, so I’m still doing that, but in the short term I’m always saving for a holiday somewhere (at the moment it’s Perth in November for a friend’s wedding), and the 2020 goal is to buy a dog!