How long have you been investing and what got you started?
You know all those stories about how Warren Buffet started investing at age 11? Yeah… I was… um, older than that.
Nobody taught me about money, growing up. So, in my early 20s, I managed to dig myself into a deep, deep hole of debt. It was only in my late 20s when things got so bad that I was changing my phone number every three months to dodge debt collectors and I realised I had a problem.
I made it my mission to learn how money actually works, paid off my debts, then started investing in earnest. If you’ve got a lot of consumer debt (credit cards, store cards, overdue bills, car loans with balloon payments) then the best investment you can make is almost always paying them off.
When I started learning about money, I was SHOCKED about how simple it really is. That’s why I’m so passionate now, about sharing basic financial skills with young people. Those early years of investing matter so much (ask Warren Buffet!) and it’s so much easier to get started than you think.
What was the first ETF you bought and why did you buy it?
I think it was a JSE Top 40 fund (Ed: The Satrix40), and I bought it because it was the only investment I’d ever vaguely heard of. If you’d put a gun to my head and asked me to tell you, “top 40 WHAT?”, I would not have been able to answer you.
How many ETFs do you currently hold?
Gosh, about seven. Which is probably six too many! I believe the smartest beginner investment strategy for most people is to buy the one simplest, most diversified ETF you can.
(In my defence, I’ve moved around a lot and ended up with investment accounts in different countries, and it would be expensive to consolidate them).
What’s your favourite local listed ETF, and why?
I often recommend the Satrix MSCI World ETF (STXWDM) as the perfect first investment for most people. The fees are mega-low, it spreads your money out across all developed countries in the world, and across all industry sectors. It’s the vanilla flavour of ETFs. It’s highly diversified and so simple, and you can buy it easily in South Africa without having to worry about converting your rands into another currency. Satrix is a company I’d trust with my cat.
I’ve also started shifting some of my own money into the Satrix MSCI World ESG Enhanced ETF (STXESG – their environmental, social and governance fund), which explicitly excludes the most harmful industries, like fossil fuels.
I live on the planet Earth, and I would quite like to be able to continue doing so. I really appreciate the fact that Satrix chose to keep the fees for the ESG fund the same as those for the non-ESG fund.
What’s your favourite offshore listed ETf, and why?
The Vanguard FTSE Global All Cap Index Accumulation Fund (ugh, who names these things?). It’s another very simple ETF that diversifies my investments as broadly as possible.
Do you also hold individual shares?
Yes. I buy them occasionally just to remind myself how bad I am at picking individual shares.
What is the percentage split of your portfolio between ETFs and shares?
99% ETFs, except when Nvidia is having an especially good month.
Where can we find you?
At Just One Lap, we are big fans of passive investment using ETFs. In this weekly blog, we discuss ETFs on the local market and the factors you need to consider when choosing an ETF. If you have wondered how one ETF differs from another, this is where you can find out. We explain which index each ETF tracks, what type of portfolio could benefit from holding each ETF, and how the costs will affect your bottom line.