Gerry shares his experience as an investor in his late 50s, from buying his first shares using money from an inheritance to discovering the Sharesies app recently on an in-flight broadcast.
Tell us about yourself.
I live in Melbourne, and I’m nearly 60—I’m probably one of the oldest people you’ve interviewed! I’m a CEO and my kids have all grown up and gone, so work is a huge part of my life. But when I’m not doing that, I’m either travelling overseas or cycling.
What’s your money story?
Growing up, we weren’t poor, but it was hand-to-mouth—there was nothing left for luxuries. I remember getting to the end of school and realising that no one had taught me about money. I started reading here and there, but I wasn’t making enough money at the time to save or invest.
My grandfather left me $2,000 when he died, which was a lot back then. It was probably the first time I thought about investing. I spent some of the money paying bills and having fun, and then used the rest to buy shares in a company. I reinvested all of the dividends I received from that company—their compound returns have been amazing (my shares are now worth $75k!), but it did take time.
Since then, I’ve bought a few investment properties and grown my investment portfolio.
How did you start investing with the Sharesies app?
I first heard about Sharesies on a flight. I downloaded the app out of curiosity, and have been using it to manage my investments for years now. I’m a big advocate, and tell everyone to give it a go.
Compared to a traditional broker or financial adviser, it feels like you have more ownership and control with the Sharesies app. Of course, you have to do your homework and consider the risks—but you have control over your comfort levels and what you’re investing in. It feels more empowering than handing over the money to someone and being told what to invest in.
The best thing is that you don’t need a big lump sum from your grandfather to get started! You can invest whatever you can afford, and grow your portfolio over time. It’s great that you can buy fractions of shares.
As an older person, I can find apps a bit hard to navigate, but features like auto-invest make it easy.
How do you choose what to invest in?
‘Having my ear to the ground’ is probably how I’d describe it. I get daily market updates and commentary emailed to me from blogs like The Motley Fool. I find that I can’t digest a lot of information, otherwise, I get analysis paralysis. So I don’t read every email, but it’s enough for me to stay across what’s happening.
Usually, I’ll read the emails and make a note of anything interesting. If it’s a specific investment, I’ll keep an eye on it for a week and see if that note is true or not. Nobody really knows what the market will do, so it’s just about testing your hypothesis.
What tips would you give to young people when it comes to money?
Start investing as early as possible. The sooner you start, the more time you have, and the more your returns can compound—especially if you’ve reinvested the dividends.
If you get a pay rise, consider investing the difference (or at least a portion of it)—it’ll go straight into your investments, and you won’t even feel that it’s gone.
Compared to investing in property, investing in shares gives you the opportunity to start growing your wealth without needing a large deposit or existing equity. Property is also a lot less liquid than shares—meaning if you hit hard times and need the money, as I did with my first property, it can be a lot harder and slower to sell than selling shares!
Why is investing important to you?
Heading into retirement, investing is really important to me. It’s about security, and knowing that when I get to the end of my career journey, there’s money there that I can rely on.
The way I think about it is, it’s a little bit of suffering today to save for tomorrow.
Investors who take part in our Investor Journeys series use the Sharesies platform and agree to share their personal perspective and experience. They receive payment from Sharesies AU Pty Limited for their participation.
The statements made throughout are the investor's personal views and do not constitute professional or financial advice. They are not to be attributed as the views of, or financial advice being provided by, Sharesies AU Pty Limited.
Ok, now for the legal bit
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