With the EasyApp having launched last month, I decided to speak with one of our most engaged Yousers and #EasyApp beta testers, Chris Slack. Chris won the most daily challenges in the three week app testing and competition phase, scoring himself Visa and Nvidia shares in the process. I asked Chris for some insights as a young investor, and how he found himself in this journey in the first place.
"I had been thinking about becoming more active in my investing, so I had started shopping around for a broker to use. After doing some 'Big Shaq' quick maths, I realised R40 (an estimate of what other brokers were charging) wasn't going to cut it when there are a number of ETF platforms for free." It was at this point that I knew Chris would speak my language as a young investor, whose priorities lie in simplicity and quick maths.
Chris continues to highlight the simplicity of it all: "One of the greatest things about Easy is you have all of South Africa's main ETF providers, with access to all their products, in one place." I could only assume that Chris, a Millennial, was tech-savvy and attuned to the latest trends in the digital space, highlighting his favourite ETF as the Sygnia 4th Industrial Revolution ETF. "It also offers a great tool to diversify my currency exposure."
While he has some local ETFs he prefers with underlying assets listed on the JSE, he shows a particular belief in another locally produced gem, Elon Musk. This is why his favourite local stock is Tawana Resources, "One of South Africa's only shares where you have some exposure to the Elon Musk world (they have purchased some mines, who are looking at Lithium mining)."However, he continues, "A little more on the straight and narrow, Long4Life, Discovery, and Shoprite have me rather excited on the 'Local is Lekker' side of things."
Local is great, but Chris has made sure to hedge his portfolio with some offshore exposure: "You have access to the most expensive U.S shares out there!" He muses. "I am now happily on the Netflix, Amazon and Alibaba train."
While he is excited by the prospect and potential in single stocks in the U.S, Chris is also excited by the wide variety in ETFs we offer: "Another cool thing about the US account is the number of unique ETFs you have access to, which you can’t get in SA. Investing in a unique iShares ETF, kind of makes me feel like that kid who goes overseas and gets the latest toy that their friends back home have only seen on TV."
After highlighting his experience as a kid with new toys, Chris delved into what motivated him to start along his investing journey. He cuts straight to the point again: "I think it was the need to have more and do more. A bank account is never going to generate wealth, the stock market, however, is a place where your money actually has the opportunity to make money. That, and I was starting to get impatient. I mean when you’re young you may not have much money, but you do have time, and when it comes to the world of investing, the power of compounding is the second greatest super power you can have (right after hindsight of course)."
Speaking of the power of hindsight, I asked Chris whether he had any unique insights he could share with me about his journey. What I got in return was a jewel.
"One thing I can say about investing is that it's fun and offers an endless opportunity for learning. My Facebook and Twitter feeds are no longer just videos of unnaturally athletic cats and Unilad articles detailing a Kardashian's internet search history." This is awesome because Chris highlights that the once exclusive conversations about investing are now held on social media, not only in offices and boardrooms.
So what does Chris focus more on instead? "I now don't leave social media without hovering to at least one market related article." I can't help but applaud Chris on his social media feed diversification, that's the type of trait and strategy that the investment professionals believe is the key to a strong portfolio.
"I'm not doing this investing thing for nothing!" He reminds me. I then asked what does Chris hope to make of this journey he's on. "Retired comfortably and travelling the world. At the moment I'm just trying to figure out how to adult, however, I'll definitely still be investing (and travelling) as much as possible!"