If you haven’t been listening to Unlikely Investors, you’ve been missing out on a lot of truth bombs and life-changing advice about investing — all delivered without the usual snore-inducing tone that we all associate with financial chat.
Hosted by Lachlan Bradford and Robbie Hicks, the voices and brains behind the excellent Funny Business podcast, which tackles the week’s biggest topics in the suit & tie world with a smart-casual, witty outlook, Unlikely Investors‘ eight-episode series followed the duo’s own forays into investing. The series featured guests with the know-how to guide the boys’ on their way, like retired AFL player Josh Thomas, ultimate slashie Flex Mami, and NFT artist Bianca Beers, all of which have invested in their own futures and are already seeing the rewards.
Lachlan and Robbie started their investing journeys with our podcast partners Sharesies. The Sharesies platform is a Kiwi-born investing platform that lets you buy shares & ETFs across Australian, New Zealand and US markets with no minimum investment — aka, whether you have 1 cent or $1M, you have the same access to investment opportunities.
After a cheat sheet? Here are the eight biggest takeaways from the episodes.
1. The easiest way to start is to start with as little as 1c
In episode one, Lachlan and Robbie chatted to Sharesies co-founder and co-director Brooke Roberts about where to begin when it comes to entering the world of investing. The easy answer is to just start and not be intimidated, which is why Roberts started Sharesies — to remove the mental and financial barriers that are stopping people from investing or feeling like they can’t invest. She says a key is “feeling connected to your investments”, rather than outsourcing it.
That’s why the Sharesies platform lets you track your own investments easily, and start with as little as 1c — and from starting small, you’ll begin to feel more confident and call yourself an investor.
2. Remember, you’re investing in yourself
When rapper and business owner B Wise popped onto the pod on episode 2, he had a great suggestion. “I think the best way to do it is that you’re investing in yourself first so that therefore you can go on and grow,” he says. “That’s the main thing.” It’s simple, but it’s all too easy to view investing as some abstract thing, rather than a way to help yourself in the future.
Investing can sometimes feel like you need to know all the jargon and the 101s, so this episode broke them down. For example, you’ll come across the term ‘ETFs’ a lot, which stands for exchange-traded funds. It’s similar to a mutual fund, where you hand over money to a fund manager who then invests it for you — think of your superannuation fund.
But an ETF works a little differently: your money is split across multiple investments rather than one share/bond, which means your eggs are never in one basket. Instead, your money goes towards a share of a company that tracks those ETFs on your behalf — say like the S&P ASX200, which is one you might’ve heard of.
3. Ask the right questions for you
Okay, so we’ve gained our base knowledge — but now, how do you decide what to invest in? There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, so Lachlan and Robbie spent episode 3 mapping out the questions that help you decide where to put your money.
“[I’ve been] asking myself questions like, ‘how does this company make me feel?’, ‘Do I believe in the company and do we have shared values?’,” says Lach. “Or, ‘do I want to invest in them because I want to see them succeed?’.”
After going through that process, Lachlan added the companies that passed his own test to his Sharesies watch list, tracking how they performed to make sure he was ready to commit before buying shares. Those questions of ethics and morals might be important to you, but so is making a smart investment: finding the intersection and a strategy that works for you and your goals is the key to investing.
4. What’s your strategy?
Skilled investors don’t just invest off vibe alone; they also adopt strategies. There’s no one genius strategy — each comes with its own set of risks and rewards — but in episode 4, Rob lands on “dollar-cost averaging”, which requires little intervention.
“The market is always in a state of flux,” says Lachlan. “That’s why I’m playing the long game,” says Rob, “and looking at an investing strategy called dollar-cost averaging. This is all about investing a certain amount at the frequency you choose, regardless of what the market is doing.”
Dollar-cost averaging is about picking a group of investments, and then continuing to invest in regular increments to each — say, weekly, monthly or yearly. It might feel a little counter-intuitive, as you’ll be buying no matter whether share prices are high or low: essentially, you’re not keeping up to date with the day-to-day changes, but instead focusing on long-term growth. And with the Sharesies platform, you can set up auto-invest, so the work’s done for you.
But that’s just one method: we have a round-up of beginner investment strategies right here, from the blue chip approach to technical analysis and sustainable investing. Best to be across them all so you can make the right choice for yourself.
5. Look to the horizon
What good is a strategy without an end-game? In episode 5, our duo discussed working out an investment horizon, AKA the time you’re planning to leave your money invested for.
There are a few questions to help you work it out: when will you need the money? Is it a short-term (2-3 years), medium (3-10 years), or long-term plan (10+)? Is this a house deposit, finances for a creative project, or a retirement fund? Whatever future you’re investing in, timing it is key — and that’ll help you assess how much risk you want to take on.
Say you’re looking for a short-term investment: generally speaking, that means you might look towards a lower-risk investment, where growth in the short term is more likely compared to a high-risk investment, where fluctuations could impact your goal.
6. Recognise a bull from a bear
Bull refers to extended periods where prices are rising, generally when stock prices rise by 20%, usually after a drop of 20% and before a second 20% drop. These markets can last for months or years and are a period of confidence where you might look to reassess how you’re approaching stocks, including a “buy and hold” strategy where you hold onto the stock as it rises.
Bear, then, is the inverse, when the market declines more than 20%, occasionally coinciding with a recession. With 2022’s downwards trending market, the boys looked at how best to ride the wave — and whether holding onto investments is a smart idea.
7. Remember to build
After chatting to retired Collingwood AFL player, Josh Thomas, about his own investments in episode 7, the boys considered ways to build up your investments over time, whether that’s using Sharesies’ auto-invest feature, dollar-cost averaging or using your dividends to reinvest.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to not remain static: your future will thank you.
8. There’s no better time than now
Looking back at all they’ve learned, Rob and Lach chat to Sharesies co-founder and director Leighton Roberts, who offers some salient and simple advice.
“The common theme across this series was that there is no better time than the present to get started on your investing journey,” he says.
If you’re keen to hear the whole 8 episodes, you can check out Unlikely Investors right here.
Keen to invest too? Sign up to the Sharesies platform and use promo code “UINVEST” for $10 in your account, ready to invest.
All investing involves risk. T&Cs and fees apply for use of the platform provided by Sharesies Limited. $10 applies to new accounts only. Promotion T&Cs apply and for use of the platform provided by Sharesies Limited. This article is sponsored by Sharesies AU Pty Limited, as an authorised representative of Sanlam Private Wealth Pty Limited (AFSL No. 337927). This is not financial advice and the information provided in this article has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Speak to a licensed financial advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.