When 29-year-old firefighter Hannah isn’t throwing some serious tin around at the gym, she’s working on building long-term wealth using the Sharesies platform. We sat down with her to discuss how she got started on her investing journey.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I’m originally from Melbourne, but moved to Brisbane a few years ago with my partner and my 7-year-old daughter. I’ve recently gone through a bit of a career change—I’m a firefighter in the Air Force now, but in my old life, I worked as a professional photographer. Outside of work, I’m a competitive powerlifter, so I spend a lot of time at the gym.
Why did you start investing?
Growing up, my dad was a bit of an entrepreneur and had a few investments. Mum, however, was quite traditional and risk-averse. Her advice was to put money in a savings account, and not risk it or take out any unnecessary loans. My partner started investing a couple of years ago, but because I had a similar mentality to my mum, I didn’t participate. Investing used to intimidate me; I thought it was a bit of a boys’ club because I’d only ever heard men talk about it.
One day I came across an Instagram post by Girls That Invest which changed my view on this and empowered me to learn more about investing. I listened to other podcasts like She’s on the Money and Equity Mates and did some of my own reading. It’s really opened up conversations with my partner as to what he’s investing in and his process.
Now we’re investing to buy a house together one day. Other than that, I’d just like to grow my portfolio; the cost of living is rising and there’s only so much you can earn, so finding alternative sources of wealth is important to me.
What challenges did you need to overcome to start investing?
There were a few things that initially put me off investing.
Firstly, investing jargon was daunting. Working on my financial literacy by reading books and listening to podcasts has really helped me feel comfortable with my investment decisions and increase my risk appetite. I have a much better understanding of share market trends, so when I see dips (like the one recently), I don’t panic as much.
Secondly, I found it quite challenging to find other women at work to talk to about my investment journey, without my male colleagues inserting themselves into the conversation and trying to intimidate us with their knowledge. However, the more I learn about investing and the associated jargon, the less I’m intimidated by it all.
Finally, I had to overcome some of the risk aversion I was brought up with. Moving to Queensland has really allowed me to figure out who I am as an individual, and to do my own research about investing without others influencing me away from it.
How have you found your experience with Sharesies so far?
I’m loving it. I’ve found the Sharesies platform really easy to navigate. The social media page is fun and inviting. The app is easy to use, and I don’t feel as if I need a degree in finance to get my head around it. I like that I can dig into graphs and track an investment’s performance before I invest.
What have you learnt about investing so far?
Investing isn’t as intimidating as I initially thought it would be—it can also be incredibly empowering to be in control of your money.
It’s also changed the way I manage my budget. I used to only look a year or two ahead, but I realised that if I want a more comfortable retirement or build wealth, I need to put more money aside and have a longer-term view of how I allocate my money. Now, whenever I think about spending money on something, I pause to consider whether or not the money could be better spent by investing it.
Before I started investing, I used to put aside a chunk of my pay for savings. Now I also put a small portion towards my fortnightly auto-invest, as well as a little bit extra on top to play with—I like to have the flexibility to buy extra shares if something good crops up. When choosing companies to invest in, it’s important to me that I support companies that align with my morals. In terms of risk, my portfolio is quite diversified; I have some investments that are higher risk, and some that are lower.
What tips would you give to everyday Australians who think you need loads of money to invest?
Pay off your debts before you start investing, especially if you have high-interest loans such as credit cards. Take a look at your budget to see how much you can afford to invest.
The good thing about the Sharesies platform is that you don’t need to invest thousands of dollars at once. You can invest whatever you can afford!
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
Investing involves risk. You aren’t guaranteed to make money, and you might lose the money you start with. We don’t provide personalised advice or recommendations. Any information we provide is general only and current at the time written. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice when considering whether an investment is appropriate for your objectives, financial situation or needs.