I have several readers and indeed friends, colleagues and acquaintances that have let me know very candidly that they are just too confused, too scared, too inert, too conflicted, too risk adverse, too time poor, too doubtful, too anxious or just too indecisive to ever buy shares directly. This might be you too? If so, this post is written specially for you.
This post will NOT be about trying another way to convert you to buying shares directly, but it will be about giving other options to invest wisely in ways that are transactionally simple and that circumnavigate or even completely avoid the stressors involved with buying shares directly.
Let's be quite clear, invest we must - it is the only way to reward our future selves with an income when we are too old to swap our time for money.
There are many products 'out there' that allow us to invest smoothly and with ease and still realise good returns in the future besides buying individual shares or ETF's directly. Yes, there is a little bit of inbuilt cost to these products, but that cost is incorporated into the product structure and is a justifiable fee for the service rendered whilst still ensuring your investment grows and flourishes in the long run.
Oh, just a word about investing time frames. When I say investing, I mean time frames of 7 years to infinity. Any monies put away for less than 7 years are just simply savings and an appropriate savings product should be used (my personal opinion only).
Alternative Investment Products
Vanguard LifeStrategy Retail Funds
Click HERE and HERE for direct information.
Vanguard is a massive worldwide investment provider that is conservative and highly respected. Vanguard's LifeStrategy Retail Funds require an initial $5000 deposit and then as little as $100 can be BPAY'd whenever you want to add to the fund. You will own units inside the fund but not the actual underlying pooled holdings. This product will charge under 1% fees and your funds can be accessed when needed by application only.
For the sake of full disclosure I use several Vanguard investment products.
Australian Unity Lifeplan Investment Bonds
Click HERE for direct information.
I have also previously written about this product - click HERE
This product is often confused with bonds that can be bought on the stock exchange - these are different. This product is wrapped as an insurance product where you have 40 odd underlying direct investment products to choose from when you apply (e.g. The Vanguard choices inside this product would be worthy contenders). The beauty of this product is that tax is paid inside this product thus there is zero need to declare this investment in a tax return whilst you are contributing to it. It also can be set up directly in children's names as young as 10 years old. If you wait 10 years to withdraw from this fund it is 100% tax free. If you withdraw early, then 30% tax is already paid and is fully claimable. A minimum of $1000 is required initially then amounts can be added up to 125% of the previous years contributions. It can also be legally bequeathed separately to any beneficiaries of your will and thus is a powerful estate planning tool. Total annual fees vary depending on which investment option/s you take, but using the Vanguard options inside this product will keep the fees at around 1%.
I currently do not have an active Australian Unity account but fully intend to use this product in the future for generational investment purposes.
Raiz Micro Investing (formerly Acorns Australia)
Click HERE and HERE for direct information
I have also previously written about this product when it was called Acorns - click HERE
This product is a slick new way to pay small amounts into a small selection of predetermined investments funds. You only need $5 to start with and can add funds only via direct debit linked to your nominated bank account either ad-hoc, reoccurring or by using purchase round ups too. It has affiliated agreements with many product providers too offering credits and good deals.
It is great for beginners to dip their toe into investing but fee % is very expensive for small amounts. Getting your balance up above $2000 ASAP would be advisable to keep fee ratios sensible. Over $5000, the fees are under approx 1%. There are several portfolios to choose from inside Raiz including an ethical portfolio.
If you decide to give Raiz a shot, then use this promotional code to get some freebies from Raiz
The offering attached to this code may change over time and the Raiz website will clearly advise what is on offer at the time this code is used - it is valid till 30/9/2027 at time of writing this post.
For sake of full disclosure I use this product.
Click HERE and HERE for direct information
Spend some time reading the FAQ on this site - they are very transparent, educational and comprehensive. An initial $2000 is required to open this product and after that you can BPAY, EFT from your bank account or even get your pay office to pay amounts directly to your investment account inside Stockspot.
This product asks you a series of questions to determine your risk level and then suggests a level of investment based on your answers (you can over ride this however). The good thing about this product is that unlike some investment funds where you just own the units of investment, with StockSpot you actually own the holdings. So in the unlikely event of Stockpot ever ceasing to exist, the underlying securities are personally owned by you and will remain yours.
Stockspot has a comprehensive dashboard for users and fees are under 1% per year. Full tax reporting, portfolio rebalancing and purchasing of investment products 'under the hood' are all done for you - it is a gold class service where all you have to do is send in your savings as often as you like. Stockspot does absolutely everything else for you.
If you were to use this product, then use my promotional code PHILIPFK to get some fees waived. The offering attached to this code can change over time and the Stockpot website will clearly advise what is on offer at the time this code is used.
For the sake of full disclosure I use this product.
For the official information about this product - click HERE
For those that are very close to retiring and are at or very close to 'preservation age' then Super is certainly worthwhile. I have written previously about my concerns about Australian Superannuation so will not go over that again here. However the benefits of Super are that the funds cannot be dipped into until retirement preservation age and earnings and employer contributions are only taxed at 15% and once in retirement mode, tax is zero (unless the government changes their mind again of course!).
Here is a previous post I wrote about how I use Superannuation HERE
For sake of full disclosure I use this product via Hostplus and Choiceplus Superannuation providers.
As a user of most these products above, I would say that Stockspot would be the easiest to use, most transparent to understand and the easiest to automate for set-and-forget investing.
Yes, you'll get a bit better return trading shares directly, but the returns on the above products are also respectable and index-like without all the paperwork, tax calculations, tracking, thinking, trading, money shuffling, analysis, buy and sell timing, record keeping and general high-detail attention that can be associated with direct share investing.
As per usual please remember, I am not a financial adviser and I only share this information with you all by way of encouragement and openness. Always do your own research and seek truly independent advice if you need it.
So, all you wonderful folk who are not up for direct share trading - I hope this has opened some doors of possibilities for you about products that are very easy to use and help you feel calmer about investing wisely and professionally yet with great simplicity.
Take care folks and stay nice
Mr HM (Phil)