SHARES: WEIRD, ANNOYING BUT SMART
Have you noticed that your teenagers say “weird” and “annoying” all the time?
Ever since a friend pointed this out a while ago all I can hear at the end of their interpersonal communications is things like this: That’s so weeeiirrd! She’s so annoying. Mum, you’re just weird. And annoying.
And then, blow me down, if I didn’t start hearing myself start sprouting these highly useful catch-all phrases. Like yesterday for example. I actually said this. “How does Ian MacDonald sleep at night with those weak responses to all those damning coincidences? He’s so annoying.” Aaaarggghhhh.
Anyhoo, Australian shares (via the All Ordinaries Index) poked their head above the watershed mark of 5,000 points yesterday. It’s the seventh time it’s done this since mid 2008. I know this because Alan Kohler showed us the graph on the ABC news last night. I love Alan. He delivers his finance news with such a cheeky grin and twinkle in his eye that you can’t help but listen to his insightful and fascinating commentary.
To a lot of people shares are annoying… and weird. Not to mention scary.
Their value bounces up and down all the time (and in the last few years there’s been a lot of down) sometimes for reasons beyond the company’s control plus the whole business of buying and selling shares is so complex and jargon-driven it’s impossible to get a handle on it. These are valid points and I hear your pain.
But I think having some exposure to shares in your portfolio, both in and out of super is awesome (another favourite). Note that I said SOME exposure. Financial advisers and planners think in terms of asset allocation. This is a fancy word for spreading your money across the four main asset classes; cash, fixed interest, property and shares.
So we’re not talking about ploughing every cent into the speccy share tip from your brother’s wife’s sister’s husband.
It’s about working out (preferably with an adviser) how you want to distribute your capital across the different investments available, and what you are comfortable with depending on your risk appetite.
Shares have a great many things on their side, too, that makes them a sick (confusing that one, but still popular in my household) asset class.
They are highly liquid, meaning if you need the money you can easily convert them into cash without significantly affecting the price you receive for them. The costs of buying and selling are low with zero “maintenance” costs of holding them and assuming you are buying a well diversified block of blue chips shares, you are also going to be receiving some welcome tax effective income in the form of franked dividends.
There is a myriad source of education and information on share investing for you to ramp up your knowledge (the ASX website is a great place to start) plus there are some very simple ways to invest in a managed diversified portfolio through a single investment like units in a managed fund or Listed Investment Companies or Exchange Traded Fund (ETF).
Talk with your adviser about these. Go on, YOLO! (Google that one if confused)
I’m not here to advocate one asset class over another. In fact, my whole point is one of diversification. Yes, that old chestnut.
Inflation eats away at the buying power of our money over time so we have to give ourselves a fighting chance for our money to grow ahead of inflation by taking a degree of calculated risk and direct some money into growth assets like property AND potentially, shares.
Diversifying smoothes the performance of our portfolio and this reduces the ups and downs of the rollercoaster ride that is, at times, investing.
So, whatever (that one, right there, uttered by my teenage daughter, combined with a hair flick sets my teeth on edge like no other teenspeak can). I hope that’s given you food for thought this week.
And just maybe, like most teenagers, who come to realise in time, things that seem “weird and annoying” at first, are in fact “heaps good” (perhaps the worst offence against the English language by sub 20 year olds), you will discover that investing in shares is, too.
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*Jill is a qualified chartered accountant, starting her career at Arthur Andersen in Perth, Western Australia and then in London at a satellite communications company. After relocating to Sydney from Perth in 2000 and raising her children to school age, Jill worked in asset management and business development at Access Capital Advisers for three years. Jill left Access Capital Advisers in 2009 to start wisewomen, a business aimed at educating women on personal finance and investing. Jill has a Diploma in Financial Services (Financial Planning) from Kaplan Professional.