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A west Auckland local, Ged is investing to achieve the ultimate goal of financial freedom. And he has a plan as to how he’ll get there. Ged is passionate about sustainable investing and has learnt the hard way that picking individual stocks requires a lot of time, expertise, and discipline (hence why now chooses to invest in Kernel funds!).

In his investor story as a risk-tolerant, ambitious guy, we dive into Ged’s investment journey so far, why he’s investing and a few of the biggest lessons he’s had so far.

Ged’s journey started with an investment club

At 18 years young, Ged started his investment journey after getting his hands on a copy of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. He started with $500 (a decent amount at 18!), his earnings after working all summer. He watched this investment grow over the first three months and was hooked from there.

Soon after school, Ged started an investment club with a group of ten switched-on friends, as a reason to stay connected. The name of the group? “SOL Holdings”. Named after the beer they founded the share club around (Sol) of course. The group also liked to consider themselves SOL (Sons of Legends), paying tribute to their fathers and a generational approach to investing.

At 20 years old, their investment club had roughly $100,000 allocated at the time the group disbanded and their investments had grown by roughly 20% over three years. That’s not to say they were always in the black however, with investments that went both up and down over that time. Ged admits hindsight is a beautiful thing, because had they all held onto their portfolio, they would each since have turned $10,000 into $100,000!

Fast forward to now and Ged has started a new investment club with his partner and a few friends. Let’s see where this one takes him!

He’s got one goal: financial freedom

Ged invests to achieve the ultimate dream of financial freedom. His goal is to have $5,000,000 invested by the time he is 40, as he believes he can realistically (and sustainably) achieve a return of 5%/annum which would provide a desired passive income of $250,000/year.

How did he get to this number? Let’s take a look…

Ged looked at his expenses, likely future costs (children, mortgages, etc) and inflation to consider how much cashflow would be enough to live his desired lifestyle. He then prudently considered (1) his past investment performance* and (2) a realistic return for a passive investor to identify 5% as an achievable return.

The idea that his hard-earned money could be sitting still and devaluing if it wasn’t growing in investments is also what drives him to invest. In Ged’s eyes, there’s nothing worse than your money going backwards!

With regards to what he likes to invest in, Ged aligns his investing with things he believes in. He’s passionate about investing in sustainable funds and tries to avoid investing in companies he doesn’t believe in – like SkyCity due to some of their revenue coming from gambling activities.

*Please note: past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

Ged’s love for thematic investing continues with Kernel

Ged’s a fan of Kernel because he likes the idea of investing in thematic funds that enable him to invest in what he believes in, whilst not having to pick individual companies to invest in. He admits his track record of doing this isn’t great – he learnt this the hard way!

He also currently doesn’t have the time to be researching individual companies and doing the appropriate analysis to mitigate risks and create a sufficiently diversified portfolio, so (outside of the share club “satellite” picks) he chooses to invest in a well-diversified fund instead.

Ged’s biggest investing lessons

They say the best way to learn is from your mistakes, so here are the top two lessons Ged has learned throughout his investing journey:

1. Align your investment strategy to your stage of life and desired lifestyle. Where Ged is in his life right now, he cares about his time and the effective use of it. So for him, it’s about choosing to focus on spending time with friends and family through starting share clubs and choosing passive investments instead of researching individual companies and reading annual reports.

2. Learn to earn. Learning is essential to earnings; invest in your personal development, where you can influence the outcome and focus on the areas you’re interested in (because then you’ll be motivated to learn). In Ged’s case he’s doing this with learning about thematic investing. It’s new to him and he’s exploring it because it meets his broader life stage and lifestyle desires. It exposes him to new companies that he’d be unlikely to otherwise consider investing in.

And to top things off, Ged would encourage younger investors to get stuck in, start small and early, invest regularly, and learn and grow. Kernel is a great way to explore the markets, expose yourself to ‘themes’ that you believe in, and do so in a diversified manner.

Christine Jensen

Christine Jensen

Marketing Manager



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Indices provided by: S&P Dow Jones Indices