How did you start investing?

The Wealthify team share their investment experience.
Man looking at sunrise | Wealthify
Reading time: 5 mins

Entering the investment world can be very scary, especially if you don’t know much about stock markets. But if you want to give your money a chance to grow, investing could be a great option. But the hardest part is getting started, right? We’ve asked our team to share their first-time experience with us and here are their stories.

 

Ian Cantlay, Paid Search Manager
“My father was a stockbroker, and my mother is an avid stock picker, so my story might be slightly different to everyone else’s. When I was younger, it was very common to hear my parents talk about stocks and companies they were researching and buying shares in. My investment journey started quite early as my parents opened a Children’s fund for my brother and I as soon as were born - the fund took the name ‘Rupert’, after Rupert the Bear, which was a popular cartoon when I was growing up. Every year, I would receive a birthday card from the fund, or officially ‘from Rupert’ – I think it was a nice touch and helped me become aware of the fund’s existence. When I was a teenager, I sold the fund and invested in the newly open Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. My dad and I went to many rugby games over the years. It was nice that the fund my father set up when I was born ended up paying for something that we could do together when I was older.

The first time I invested for myself was in my early 20s. I looked for tips in the papers and would follow up with a small amount of research on the company in the investment platform. One of the first shares I bought was in a company called PartyGaming, an online gambling network. I was immediately onto a winner as the shares rose at the prospect of growth into the American market – I was £300 up on a relatively small investment. However, I hadn’t done enough research and was completely blindsided when the U.S. Congress passed the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which basically prohibited online gambling in the US. PartyGaming's stock dropped almost 60% in 24 hours and I went from profit to loss. I was absolutely crushed but learnt a valuable lesson.

It was quite straight forward to buy shares, but after a few unsuccessful investments I realised that I didn’t have the knowledge and I risked losing money that I had worked hard for. I also became a bit too obsessed as I’d often sit at my computer screen clicking refresh over and over again to see the latest share price.

Over the last few years, I’ve become a huge fan of Warren Buffett – arguably the most successful investor ever. I read ‘The Snowball’ which is a biography written about him and couldn’t put the book down. It’s about Warren Buffett’s life and investment philosophy – I just wish I had read it sooner, it would have saved me a lot of money with my failed investments – I’m certain I would have avoided the PartyGaming mistake.

His philosophy is relatively simple, it’s about doing a huge amount of research into the companies you’re buying shares in and understanding them and their market inside out. It’s about understanding the value of that company and ensuring that you’re not paying an inflated share price that values the company more than it’s actually worth on paper. I also learnt that investing is for the long term, and if I’m constantly clicking refresh to see the updated share price, then I haven’t got the right mindset or shouldn’t be investing in those particular shares."

 

Sarah Sandercott, Head of Customer Care
“Apart from my pension, my first investment ever was with Wealthify! It was very easy to join – the sign up took less than 10 mins. I did it before my interview with the company so I could talk about the experience as a new customer – and thankfully, I got the job! Since then, I’ve become far more savvy and I use my investment app to check how my Stocks and Shares ISA is doing. I find it interesting to see how my investments are performing, and in a way, it also encourages me to focus on my financial goals and save more to try and turn all my dreams into reality.”

 

Aleksandra Kraj, Digital Marketing Executive
“In October 2019, I finally took the plunge and opened an Ethical Stocks and Shares ISA with Wealthify. The onboarding process on the app was very easy and the Customer Care team was very helpful and answered all the questions I had about my account– they still are very helpful! Although I’m still quite new to investing, I’ve learnt to be patient and accept the ups and downs of the market. It can be quite stressful sometimes, but I’m remaining focused on my long-term goals. Also, since I’m not much of an investment expert, I find the Wealthify blogs and emails very useful – I’ve definitely improved my financial knowledge thanks to them.”

 

Joe Hickman, Content Writer
“When I was a kid my nan bought me some premium bonds – not exactly investing, but they’re sort of bonds, right? Anyway, I ended up winning £25 in the first month and it blew my mind. Considering I was 9 or 10, that £25 was a really big deal. So, going forward I’d put some of my pocket money into premium bonds, and I did this for about a year or two. Then my dad told me about stocks – the company he worked for gave stocks as part of their bonus scheme, and he talked me through how the prices changes and how your money could grow even more than with premium bonds. But I never knew how to get into it, for the longest time I thought you had to be part of that company to get stock in it, which makes sense if they say you own a little bit of it – as owning a bit of a company you work for sounds awesome and could definitely encourage loyalty.

Fast forward to my 20s, and I bought my first house. It was a proper fixer upper that I put blood, sweat, and tears into just to get it to a point where it was a) liveable and b) kind of nice. Of course, I also had to put a fair bit of money in, but it’s the time I remember more than anything. And the sheer hard work. After about a year and a half I’d gotten to a point where I could sell, and while I did manage to make a tidy profit, I vowed never again to try and flip a house. I just didn’t have the time to put in while working a full-time job and trying to have a social life at the same time.

Then I found about robo-investing. Not only is this such an easy way of investing, I can actually see how my money is performing – which can be pretty scary at times when the markets drop, but knowing that I’m in it for the long haul really helps to settle the nerves and keep me invested.”

 

Rhiannon Maggs, Wealthify Business Manager
“I started investing in my early 20s. I put a little away to save for a house and I was lucky enough to achieve one of my long-term goals and bought my first home at 25 (along with a mortgage). Before investing, I had a Cash ISA, however the interest rates became so low that I decided to put half of my savings in an Investment ISA with Wealthify. I felt it was a big and somewhat scary step, but it more than paid off and got me to my deposit goal far quicker than the Cash ISA would have allowed. Opening an investment plan was easier (and quicker) than I had imagined – it only took me a few minutes to get started! Throughout my investment journey, I’ve learnt that it’s important to choose a trusted brand that comes with great customer support and provides amazing educational resources.”

 

Tilda Hewitt, Customer Care Specialist
“My first experience with investing was with Wealthify – I opened an investment plan when I started working here. Setting up my account was super quick and easy. All I had to do was answer a number of questions about my financial situation, choose how much I wanted to invest, and select an investment style based on my risk appetite. Ever since I took the plunge, I’ve realised that it’s a good idea to trust the process and look at investment as a long-term goal. This is my first time investing and having constant updates about changes to my Plan or reading the blogs from the website has helped me understand more about what’s happening when I deposit money into my Plan.”

 

The tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.

 

Please remember the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than invested.

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