Money Moves: Where To Invest In Your Twenties With Sonya Williams of Sharesies

04.04.19

Welcome to Money Moves by The Twenties Club.

The topic of personal finance is, well, personal. Despite the intrinsic role money plays in our lives, we’ve never been very good at talking about it. Personal finance starts to take shape in our twenties; we’re earning a proper salary for the first time and the excitement that it brings, but we’re also navigating the realities of student debt and investment, saving for a first home and – yes, really – thinking about retirement.

In this series we will work together, with the help of some incredible minds from the finance sector, to de-stigmatise these concepts and find a little financial freedom in the process.


Sonya Williams is the co-founder of Sharesies, an online investment platform determined to make investing easier for the average Kiwi. At Sharesies there is no minimum amount to invest, no brokerage fees (these are typically around $30 a transaction) and no jargon.

Investing has long been a male-dominated space – it’s usually the men who are tasked with making investment decisions for the family. But with traditional family dynamics becoming less common and marriage no longer the barometer of a successful relationship, I think it’s crucial that women prioritise their financial independence.

Here’s my chat with Sonya on three key concerns put forward by readers on the topic of Investing.

As a first-time investor, what do I need to be cautious of and how do I know if Sharesies is the best fit for me? 

We know it can be scary starting, especially if you’ve never invested before, but the best way to learn is to start! The majority of our 38,000+ customers had never invested before signing up to Sharesies. Here are a few things to think about before beginning your investment journey:

  • Find the investment type that suits you: Think about how long you want to invest for and the areas you’re interested in – these two questions will help ensure you’re investing in a way that works for you. Visit Sorted.org and fill in their “Investor Kickstarter” which breaks down everything from your income level and investment horizon, to your debt and security.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: It’s completely normal for markets to go up and down, so by choosing a range of investments (instead of going “all in” on just one) you will spread your risk and iron out any potential dips in the market over the long term. Sharesies offers funds that are already diversified, for example you could buy shares in the “NZ Top 50” which means you’re investing in the top 50 companies in New Zealand.
  • Pick an amount that works for you and then stick to it: The reality is, whether you have $50 or $500 you can start building an investment portfolio. Sharesies doesn’t have a minimum deposit, you can invest in the 14 funds on our platform with as little or as much as you’re comfortable with but we encourage our customers to make investing a habit by making regular deposits (an amount you can afford to stick to regardless of what the market is doing). This takes the pressure off trying to forecast the ups and downs of the market, and is a popular investing strategy called “dollar-cost averaging”.
  • Give it a go: You’ll learn the most about investing just by starting. Sharesies is free for your first month or if your portfolio is under $50. Between $50 and $3,000 is a fee of $1.50 per month, and anything over $3,000 is $3 per month. Alternatively, you can pay $30 annually. There are no hidden costs. Management fees are charged by the fund and are priced into the share.

Okay great, now we’ve covered the basics! Quick question: what is “micro-investing”?

The simple definition is that it’s the ability to invest with small amounts of money. Sharesies allows for micro-investing because there is no minimum spend, however other investing platforms might require a larger financial commitment which makes micro-investing impossible. The way we see it, if you can only afford to invest $10 a week, that’s still going to get you further ahead than if you invested nothing. Keep an eye out because Sharesies will soon be offering “auto-invest” which will allow customers to “set-and-forget” their investment plan, helping you to stick to that dollar-cost averaging philosophy we spoke about earlier.

What are the best short-term investments (1 to 3 years) for a twenty-something?

It all comes down to your goals and why you’re investing. If you’re looking to buy a house in the next couple of years or need that money in the short term, then higher risk investments aren’t right for you – you’re better off choosing a lower risk investment. And to be honest, most investing is about the medium to long term (a five to ten year horizon) rather than the short-term. This is because the sharemarket is a roller coaster so the longer you’re in it the better your returns are likely to be. There are no guarantees, some years aren’t as lucrative as others which is why we recommend having a well-diversified portfolio and holding onto your investments for as long as possible to take advantage of compounding interest.

Whatever you decide, starting early is key. The best time to start investing is when you’re young, and the second best time is NOW.


Header image by Holly Burgess for The Twenties Club