Blog | Investing tips

My investing journey

by Ben Clendon, Head of Product, Sharesight | Mar 28th 2017

My experience in investments started at the age of five when my Dad gave my siblings and I $860 each in Brierley (NZE:BIL) shares. As a little kid I have a vague recollection of being shown a beige-coloured folder containing the all-important share certificates.

Other than this one-off investment and occasionally seeing Dad’s Lotus Notes application on the PC with his various log graphs and endless spreadsheets tracking his investments, this was about the sum total of my investment experience until very recently.

Although a small insight into the world of investing, these experiences were enough to give me that curiosity and desire to enter the sharemarket and quite likely was the seed that led me to a job at Sharesight.

Clendon family #2 Dad thinking about his share holdings?

Fast-forward thirty years; past school, university, student loans, three years of travel, a house purchase and three kids and I finally found myself in a position to partake in the sharemarket.

The opportunity came when my wife and I started to accumulate a little surplus while she was back working between kids. My wife would be on maternity leave within a few months so we needed quick access to this money. Dumping it against the mortgage wasn’t an option and leaving it in the bank with the current interest rates on offer seemed like a wasted opportunity.

The sharemarket seemed like a good alternative. After doing a bit of research and chatting with Dad, I settled on what I saw as a reasonably safe strategy: investing in long-term stable companies with a high volume traded daily to ensure I could exit quickly if we ran short and needed the cash.

I was always going to start small. I have a hefty mortgage so this was going to be more about learning the ropes and trying to limit my exposure.

clendon-family A few of us Clendon kids (I'm at the bottom left)

Here’s a brief look at my investment journey

Choosing a broker

Well this was pretty easy given Sharesight currently has only one direct integration with an New Zealand broker: Direct Broking.

Once I set-up a trading account I used the Sharesight Connect feature to connect my trading account via the Direct Broking website to my (almost) empty portfolio in Sharesight.

Making my initial purchase

Dad (who was as excited as me that I was now investing) and I spent a lot of time on the Share Checker. Trying to stick with the safe bets, we ran all top 50 NZX listed instruments through the Share Checker going back 10 years and ranked by total return for that period. I made a bunch of purchases based on the results of that analysis as well as relying on the news feed and other data provided through the Share Checker.


Although I was starting small, I was keen to diversify pretty quickly so I used the Diversity Report a few times to see how my spread was looking. I still don’t have enough slices in the pie to be entirely comfortable, but at least I’ve spread out into a few different industries.

screenshot diversity-ben-clendon

Tracking my dividends

Even with my rather small portfolio I’m finding that enough dividends are coming through that I need to track them accurately. I’ve found this to be completely hassle-free using both the Taxable Income Report and individual holding detail page page. I’ve also just signed up to my first Dividend Reinvestment Plan (DRP) and have started to use Sharesight’s DRP tracking features to track those re-investments. As a new investor making fairly small purchases, DRPs seem like a great way for me to accumulate additional investments without any brokerage.

Sharing my portfolio

My family has been really interested to see how things go. So I shared my portfolio using Sharesight’s portfolio sharing feature. Hardly a week goes by that Dad doesn’t flick me a text or email telling me to check out my latest gains. Thankfully he tends to only point out positive news!

Tracking my portfolio performance

My portfolio is new and has much to prove. Should it suffer badly, I doubt my cautious wife is likely to allow me another crack. So with this in mind, I keep a particularly close eye on things. I invariably jump onto the Sharesight Mobile App at the end of each day to look at the shareprice for some of my more volatile picks.

Since we introduced 20 minute delayed pricing for the NZX I’ve also found myself jumping into my portfolio on my laptop during the day to see how my biggest investments are going. I look forward to our imminent update to the Sharesight Mobile App which will include the 20 minute delayed pricing for NZX.

Tracking against a benchmark

I quickly realised that without something to compare my performance against, it was hard to tell if I was doing well or not. So I selected the NZ Top 50 Fund (NZE:FNZ) using Sharesight’s Benchmarking feature and I use that to compare it against my portfolio return.

Despite the short period of time I’ve been investing and some fairly volatile movements with a couple of my stocks, I’ve noticed that my overall return is far better than anything I could have got from keeping my money in the bank. So far so good.

Tax reporting time

Given I’ve been receiving dividends for the last six months, I know I’m going to need to report them on my tax return. Fortunately, Sharesight’s Taxable Income Report is going to make that pretty straight forward. Which reminds me, I’d better get onto that tax return...

featured - Clendon family My wife, our three children and I

The Sharesight tools I’ve used so far have not only made it all a bit of fun (such as sharing my portfolio with Dad) but have also been of real direct benefit — the Diversity Report for helping me spread my investments as widely as possible and the performance reporting features, for not only showing me how I’m doing, but also giving my wife some real visibility into what I’ve been up to!

It’s been a fantastic experience to date and I really look forward to expanding my portfolio into new areas, such as the software sector that I’m now so much a part of.

As for what happened to those Brierley investments so long ago? Well, despite Dad’s best record keeping efforts, neither he nor anyone else in the family has any idea. Good thing I’ve got Sharesight to ensure that doesn’t happen again!

This information is not a recommendation nor a statement of opinion. You should consult an independent financial adviser before making any decisions with respect to your shares in relation to the information that is presented in this article.


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