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6 women share their investing journeys

by Angela Thompson, Sharesight

Study after study shows that women are better investors than men. They tend to take fewer risks and are less emotional when it comes to long term investing. Despite this, most investing is still done by men. For example, here at Sharesight, women make up only roughly 11% of our user base. And despite the number of women investing online doubling over the last 5 years, they still only represent a fifth of Australian online investors. This leaves the majority of women financially unstable and unprepared for retirement.

The more people share their investing stories, the more approachable it becomes. So with that in mind, here are the stories of 6 women who openly shared their investing journeys and strategies with me. Some were lucky enough to learn investing from their parents, others learned it at work, and others figured it out entirely on their own. Read on to learn how they all did it:

featured - 6 women share their investing journeys

Rikki-Ann – Australia

How long have you been investing?

I have been investing for the last 20 years.

What do you invest in?

Originally I started investing when we had to relocate towns and we kept our home as a rental property. We then went on the build a portfolio of rental properties (17 in total) after reading the Rich Dad, Poor Dad book. When I stopped working to look after my children I started to invest in the share market. In recent years we have sold our rental property portfolio and invest solely in the share market.

What does your asset mix look like?

My asset mix is 100% equity. I have diversified into the 10 different sectors of the market and I have 7.5% of my portfolio in property REIT/shares (rather than owning property directly).

Do you diversify your investments globally, or do you tend to stay within your home country?

I started investing while living in New Zealand so I have about 55% of my portfolio in New Zealand shares. I have increased my international holding by purchasing shares in companies that have a global presence and by purchasing international ETF.

Do you purchase your shares directly and/or via a financial advisor or robo-advisor?

I purchase all shares directly. I manage both mine and my husbands portfolio. My main goal is to achieve cash flow (dividends) rather than capital gains. I have a buy and hold strategy so I do not sell often. I have a high risk tolerance and so over half of my returns has come from capital gains even though several of the shares I purchased have since liquidated. I have a plan for my portfolios and I review this annually.

How do you keep track of your investments?

In the beginning I used Excel to keep track of my investments. I now use Sharesight to keep track of my shares and future dividend/distributions and tax obligations.

How did you learn about investing?

I first learnt about investing from reading books and searching the internet for information on how to build a portfolio and information on different shares. I used the research that my broker provides as a guide on when to purchase. Initially I started with small investments and learnt through trial and error.

Can you share one thing you wish you’d known when you started investing?

Never be afraid to accept a loss, I should have sold the companies that liquidated earlier.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your investing journey?

All investment carries some degree of risk. Every share I own has a some point in time been worth less than I paid for it. When selecting shares I usually purchase companies where I shop. For example the utility company I hold is the company I purchase my electricity/gas from.



Ruth Henderson (The Happy Saver)

Ruth – New Zealand

Blogger, The Happy Saver

How long have you been investing?

Probably about 13 years now. My husband and I paid off our house when I was 32 and he was 33 and then money started accumulating in our account, so we started to look for places to put it. So, I started to research options and have been hooked on investing ever since.

What do you invest in?

I’m invested in property, my own home. And one is enough for me!

I’m also investing in a growth KiwiSaver fund (Simplicity) via my wages and through voluntary contributions (and have been since day one).

I also invest in three Smartshares funds, US500, NZ Top 50 and the NZ Property Fund. I also hold Meridian shares, my only individual shares, which I bought at the very beginning when the government partially privatised the company. Plus for a bit of fun, I bought gold, pretty to look at but a bit naff as far as an investment goes! My husband could not resist and he bought some Bitcoin and has been enjoying the wild ride ever since.

I tried many things as a way to educate myself. I either stuck with that investment or cashed it out and tried the next thing before finally settling into a long term investment strategy once I worked out that chopping and changing does not create wealth.

What does your asset mix look like?

Our house takes up too big a chunk in my opinion, about 70%, but it’s hard to avoid that given the price of housing in New Zealand and with every investment, I’m working to reduce this percentage. There is about 25% in equities (I’m growing this each month) and maybe 5% in cash.

Do you own individual shares and/or ETFs/managed funds?

The only individual shares I own are Meridian and have no plans to purchase any more. Through learning about investing I came to realise I don’t have the interest or the time to meticulously research individual companies in order to make a sound investment plus I also came to understand that those who do have the time and inclination are often not that great at picking individual companies either! I would much rather direct my money into ETFs and let the individual companies within those ETFs get on with making the right investment decisions for their businesses. And as I often say, I’d rather be out running in the hills with my dog that researching the share market!

Do you purchase your shares directly and/or via a financial advisor or robo-advisor?

I purchase directly and don’t use a financial advisor.

How do you keep track of your investments?

I developed my own spreadsheet many years ago and I still keep that up to date, just in a very simple way by noting down my balances at the end of each month and tracking my earnings, investments, expenses and net worth. I then discovered Sharesight and I use it to track all of my investments now as their math is a lot better than my own! I also use PocketSmith to track my incomings and outgoings.

How did you learn about investing?

Absolutely self-taught after being unable to find any credible and legible advice aimed at me. When I did make approaches to professionals I felt marketed to and patronised so I struck out on my own and discovered the incredibly helpful global personal financial community. It is full of intelligent and helpful people willing to answer any question and to encourage you to just keep things simple and not jump at every new investment opportunity that walks in the door. Slow and steady wins the race would be my advice.

Can you share one thing you wish you’d known when you started investing?

That the vast majority of investments products are just business trying to make money – out of YOU. There are a thousand investments to choose from and you would do well to avoid pretty much all of them. Live on way less than you make and invest every single month from a young age and forget about keeping up with the Joneses, a lot of them are broke anyway! Find a strong female role model who is killing it financially and offer to take her out for a glass of wine and ask her what she is doing to be successful.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your investing journey?

I don’t invest to become rich and greedy, I invest to provide myself and my family with peace of mind. That is what money does, it just takes pressure off you and lets you enjoy your life because you simply don’t have to work so much. Frugality = Freedom. If ever I suffer from FOMO because I don’t have the latest phone I just reflect on the fact that to have all that stuff I will need to trade my time for money. And going back to a comment I made earlier, I would far rather be out running with my dog and hanging with my family than working 9-5. When it comes to money invested, you need far less to live a great life than you realise! Live on less than you make, invest as much as you can and treat every $50 you spend like an hour of your life that you are never going to get back!



Selina – UK

How long have you been investing?

I have always had shares (my mum purchased them for me when I was little as it’s something she was interested in) but I have been properly investing for about 2 years.

What does your asset mix look like?

If you ignore my house it’s all equities now.

Do you diversify your investments globally, or do you tend to stay within your home country?

I only purchase on the LSE but a lof the companies I invest in are global players.

Do you purchase your equities directly and/or via a financial advisor or robo-advisor?

Definitely directly – that’s part of the fun of investing!

How do you keep track of your investments?

I used to use the Google Finance portfolio feature when it was around but swapped to Sharesight when they shut it down. It’s as easy to use but gives a much better representation of your returns.

How did you learn about investing?

It’s a real mixture but the biggest learning has come from the internet and books I have read.

Can you share one thing you wish you’d known when you started investing?

How hard it is to take emotions out of it! I knew I had to but didn’t realise how difficult it would be for me.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your investing journey?

Only take the plunge if you’re prepared to do your research, if you’re not prepared to do it then you might as well gamble your money away at the bookies!



Erika Jonsson (Six Park)

Erika – Australia

Head of Communication, Six Park

How long have you been investing?

I’ve been investing for a bit over 18 months; aside from buying a home it was my first investment outside superannuation. I found the whole process of becoming an investor transformative – I’d always had a view of investing being really risky without exception, so learning about different kinds of risk and how to control the controllables has been quite empowering.

What do you invest in?

I have a balanced-growth portfolio of exchange-traded funds with Six Park and I’ve recently started using the round-ups feature on Raiz to build some extra savings without feeling a big impact. I plan to transfer the money from Raiz into my Six Park account every few months. My husband and I are also paying off our home.

Do you diversify your investments globally, or do you tend to stay within your home country?

My portfolio is a mixture of Australian and global investments – I hold ETFs that represent Australian and international shares, emerging markets, global property, global infrastructure and Australian bonds. The importance of diversification is definitely one of the key messages that Six Park reinforces consistently.

How do you keep track of your investments?

I monitor both of my portfolios online, usually on my mobile. I don’t check either of them too often as it would be really easy to worry when markets are volatile or have a bad day if I was thinking about my investments all the time. I think about my Six Park investment in particular as being similar to my super – I see it as a long-term investment that I can best serve by being patient and contributing regularly.

How did you learn about investing?

Until I started working casually at Six Park, I had very little understanding of investing or the principles that serve successful investors well. My parents taught me about compound interest and the importance of saving, but they were quite conservative about shares and investments outside property because it wasn’t something they had a lot of experience with. My investing confidence and experience has grown during my time with Six Park, and I now love sharing knowledge with other investors, both new and experienced. There are so many different ways to invest, but I believe understanding the foundations and your own disposition toward risk and reward will always serve you well. Knowing a bit about behavioural economics and how our biases affect us as investors is also really helpful!

Can you share one thing you wish you’d known when you started investing?

I don’t have regrets as an investor, but I do wish that I’d had the confidence to start sooner. Time is such an important ally when it comes to making the most of your money and investments. I always felt that because I was saving I was doing everything I could do to grow my wealth, but actually saving is just the first part of it. I now have a lot of different kinds of saving happening! My other advice would be to read – or listen – widely because knowledge breeds confidence, which is critical to overcoming our status quo bias and our fear of the unknown.



featured - Emily Grunberg

Emily – Australia (via Canada)

Analytical Marketing Manager, Sharesight

How long have you been investing?

I’ve been investing for two years.

What do you invest in?

100% equities (all ETFs).

Do you diversify your investments globally, or do you tend to stay within your home country?

I have global exposure through my ETFs.

Do you purchase them directly and/or via a financial advisor or robo-advisor?

I purchased them directly through my online broker.

How do you keep track of your investments?

I use Sharesight to keep track of my overall performance and help me at tax time, but I also use the Yahoo! Finance widget on my mobile to track daily price movements.

How did you learn about investing?

I learned quite a bit about investing in my finance classes in university, but it wasn’t until I started working at Sharesight that I was surrounded by people who could give me practical, local information. For example, I learned what ETFs were, what to consider when choosing an online broker, and how to properly track performance.

Can you share one thing you wish you’d known when you started investing

To choose your broker wisely. I went with the cheapest broker I could find because I wanted to make sure that my brokerage fees wouldn’t eat away at my returns, especially since I wasn’t investing a great amount of money. Soon after making my investment, I found out that I don’t actually own the ETF I invested in, but rather a custodian. I also learned that they introduced a quarterly fee if you don’t trade enough, and this quarterly fee would end up costing me more than going with one of the most expensive brokers. Fortunately I had no issues transferring my holdings to a different broker, and I didn’t lose any history because I keep all my investing history within Sharesight. Definitely read reviews before selecting your broker.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your investing journey?

I have found it a bit daunting to get started on my investing journey, but now I find it exciting and almost addictive. You’re not meant to worry too much about the short term, but I find myself checking on my investments multiple times a day.



Nicola – Australia (via the UK)

How long have you been investing?

I’ve been investing for 3 years.

What do you invest in?

Outside of my Australian Super, I invest 100% in property.

Do you diversify your investments globally, or do you tend to stay within your home country

Globally. I currently have one property in the UK and in the process of one in Australia and Spain.

How did you learn about investing?

I learned about property investing from my parents and doing research on the internet.

Can you share one thing you wish you’d known when you started investing?

It’s a long and slow process and patience is key!

Is there anything else you’d like to share about your investing journey?

If something isn’t sitting well with you, always get a second opinion. It’s ok to ask people to explain jargon or processes to you repeatedly until you understand them. If you can’t explain it to a 6 year old, you don’t understand it!

Why have you decided to invest 100% in property as opposed to the stock market?

I have always been taught that property is a longer investment and less risk. Also, I have no idea or knowledge about the stock market.

Write your own investing story

I hope you enjoyed learning from these investors as much as I did. These are my takeaways:

  • If you’re not already investing, start now – Don’t let a “late start” stop you from investing later in life. Yes, compound interest and time make a huge difference in the long term, but starting today is still better than 10 years from now (or never).

  • Learn from others – If you know someone who invests, ask them how they do it. Chances are, they’ll be more than happy to show you. And stay tuned for a follow-up article where we share the investing books, blogs, and podcasts recommended by the women featured in this article.

  • If you’re already investing, pay it forward by sharing your knowledge – Especially with the young people in your life. It could be the most important gift you ever give them!

Start your investing journey with Sharesight

The best way to understand what investing is all about is to sign up for a FREE Sharesight account. Simply add your holdings (actual or aspirational), and instantly start tracking your price movements, dividends, and performance returns.

Sharesight does not provide tax or investment advice. The buying of shares can be complex and varies by individual. Seek tax and investment advice specific to your situation before acting on any information in this article.

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