My many years in payroll at a major Sydney hospital made me aware of one thing: most people spent more time worrying about their fortnight’s salary than their financial future!
Women in particular didn’t “want to be involved in anything financial”. Most did not know how much interest they were paying on their mortgages, or what their credit card balances were.
From married women, I’d often hear: “I just let my husband or partner handle our money – I don’t understand anything about investing.” And from single ladies: “I’m too scared to buy shares – I just put my money into super!”
Ladies: Learn to invest for yourself!
The trend was so different in Singapore. At my Dad’s stockbroking firm, clients actually comprised more women than men. They would come in at 10am sharp with their pencils and notebooks to exchange share-scrips and deal out their ‘chits’. They did their homework and were ready to trade. My father, Alec, was their favourite broker. He was honest, and would refuse to take their orders (and anyone else’s) if he thought the shares were “rubbish”. People listened because most of the time he was right.
Dear ladies, relying on one person to secure your financial future and/or burying your head in the “it’s all too hard” box is not an option – especially in these economically uncertain times.
Men: this goes for you as well. Responsibility of managing money must be shared or at the very least explained to your partner who doesn’t want to be “involved”. Broken relationships, unexpected illness or death can result, and the other partner might be made homeless or be scrambling to make sense of paperwork left behind.
You can learn basics of tax and investing!
Unfortunately, there aren’t as many wise and honest stockbrokers these days like my father. But the good news is that we can do it ourselves with online trading platforms like CommSec. It’s simple to buy and sell shares on it, and easy to navigate too. You simply can’t miss the BUY and SELL click boxes! Research before you trade – and with a steady hand on the mouse, your confidence will grow and you’ll make sensible decisions.
Ready to trade online?
- Get a Scrapbook
What’s your goal? Is there more than one? Why and when do you want to achieve this? Write it down.
What’s your dream? Write it down. Your goal needs to be strong enough to stop you frittering away your time on things you needn’t be doing at all. I knew my dream from age 8, and I still have my Scrapbook – I’ve never stopped cutting and pasting articles on shares in it. (My dream was to sing in a band, so I kept writing a list of songs I liked. I also wanted to be smart like Dad and learn about shares.)
We do have time. In fact, lots of it.
- Write a share-list of what you think will be the ‘next best thing’ in the future – and get their ASX codes.
REMEMBER: Investing is for the long-term. It’s too late when shares have already become a ‘trend’ (e.g. Afterpay), when prices keep rising and it’s too costly to buy.
- Start an online trading account. If you’re unsure which, the Commonwealth Bank’s CommSec platform is a safe bet.
- Start a watchlist of share codes of shares you like. Each code will have its own company info and updates. Annual reports should be the first thing you read. If you don’t understand what the figures mean, look at the profit, loss and turnover figures. Easy enough?
- Read, read, read. Subscribe online to The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald (includes The Sun-Herald) and the Australian Financial Review. Later, I suggest you subscribe to a few newsletters from The Motley Fool, e.g. of the ‘Dividend Investor’, ‘Share Advisor’ and ‘Extreme Opportunities’. ‘Marcus Today’ is also good, and a useful guide to your existing stock picks.
- Observe. When you’re out shopping, what are the ‘BNPL’ (Buy-Now-Pay-Later) options advertised? Okay, maybe it’s too late for Afterpay, but there are still others under the radar doing well; you’ll see their names if you look for them when shopping.
- Ask questions. Speak to your friends. What are they buying? Clothes, make-up, furniture, home appliances, computers, TVs? Is it online or from retail outlets? What are their best or best-avoided sellers? Behind each product is a company, and behind each company is an ASX code.
- Network. Find 4 or 5 people that have an interest in stocks and shares. Get together whenever you can and brainstorm – it’s so much better than an online chat room! Start conversations. Expand your network. I got my best share and property tips from people I never knew before!
- Learn the terminology and acronyms. Here’s a list to start with:
– Franking credits
– Ex-dividends & Cum-dividends
– Rights issues
– SAAS, IOT, SMB, A1 (new terms in annual reports for tech-based companies).
I’ll stop now, your head must be spinning. Thanks for bearing with me.
Invest 3.0 will have more ASX codes to research and one very important factor many financial advisers miss … PLUS the many mistakes I made which I want you to avoid!