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January 25, 2022

Investor Stories: Chris and Rosemary Honiss

A couple taking photos with Alpaccas in the background

Living a relaxed lifestyle at Whangarei Heads, thirty-something investors Chris and Rosemary had never given much thought to investing. That was, until lockdown. With newfound time on their hands, they began to reassess their lives, how their money was working for them and start planning for their financial future!

They were off to a good start with an established savings habit

Although neither earned an excessive amount leaving school, Chris, a student teacher and Rosemary, a medical technical assistant, were both taught the value of money from a young age. ” We knew how to budget and live on less than we earned but we lacked the final part of the equation – what to do with the rest.’’ says Chris.

At the time ‘the rest’ was sitting in the bank earning very little interest. Missing out on the magic of compound interest! Chris squirreled the proceeds from his beekeeping business into a savings account whilst Rosemary was getting a slightly better return with term deposits.

Knowledge is power: Chris and Rosemary’s road to financial literacy

In 2019 with interest rates at an all-time low and a maturing term deposit during lockdown, Chris and Rosemary started chatting about alternative ways to invest their savings.

Unfortunately, both had lost their jobs due to COVID, which means they were even more motivated to get their money working for them. They stumbled across the Happy Saver podcast and began tuning in, upskilling as they listened. The host, Ruth was pivotal to their move from savers to investors.

Hooked on improving their financial literacy they devoured information about index funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and creating long term wealth. Their favourites? JL CollinsDave Ramsey and the Choose FI crew. Chris also used this time to school up, reading books including, ‘The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason, Chasing FIRE and the Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins.’

Life for these thirty somethings was about to change. Their first step was to set up an emergency fund, a must have buffer if life turns upside down.

Finding the right fit with Kernel

With their new-found knowledge Chris and Rosemary decided to put in place a long-term, low-cost investment strategy – something they could set and forget and not worry about.

Once they had worked out their tolerance for risk and investment time horizon they put the different investment platforms through their paces. Eventually moving their KiwiSaver to a high growth fund and investing the proceeds of the term deposit into Kernel’s Global 100 and NZ 20 Funds.

As their confidence grew, so did their investments into Kernel. Further deposits were added when the beekeeping business was sold, and they started investing regularly from their income. Over time they added the NZ 20 Fund, Global 100 Fund and Moonshots Innovation Fund to the mix.

But not everything changed… Whilst the bulk of their portfolio is with Kernel, Rosemary still holds the shares in Meridian and Mercury that she bought when the companies first floated. Sounds like a core-satellite investing approach to us!

They’re applying the ‘Keep It Simple’ Strategy – KISS

Keeping their investments simple works for Chris and Rosemary. They invest a minimum of 20% of their income into index funds (50% would be ideal though, they say!) and pay themselves first.

In Chris’s own words ‘We let the markets do their thing and leave the rest to the team at Kernel’. 

So, what is it all for?

‘Ultimately, it’s about having the freedom and flexibility to pursue meaningful work that ignites our passions’. says Chris.

And time to enjoy the benefits of living in this amazing part of the whenua! For Chris and Rosemary this means freediving, spear fishing and riding on their horse ‘Honey’.

They have a goal to reach their FIRE number (Financial Independence Retire Early) within 12 years. If you’re wondering what that number is it’s 25X their annual expenses. This will provide them with a passive income to cover their lifestyle during retirement so they can continue to work – but only part time!

And what are the lessons they have learned along the way?

Set the foundations – make sure you keep a budget and have an emergency fund. That way you have clarity over your finances and can cope with any unexpected life changes.

Consider your objectives, including your tolerance for risk and investment time horizon. Then do your research and once you’re ready, choose one or two funds and let them do their thing.

Finally, keep it simple! You don’t need to listen to every podcast, read every book or subscribe to every blog. Just create a budget, track your net worth, and chase FIRE!

Final words of wisdom for young investors

Just do it! Start with $10 a week until you are comfortable with what you are doing and ready to take the next step.

Nicola Maling

Nicola Maling

Office & Events Manager



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