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Case Study: ‘I Invested In Shares And Now I’m Not Worried About My Future’

This mum-of-two wasn’t going to give up after her marriage ended.

17 October 2021

Autumn 21

After the unexpected breakup of her marriage, Rachael Fitzjohn decided she could go one of two ways: “I could fall apart at the seams and everyone could say, ‘Poor Rachael’, or I could bloody own this.”

She decided on option B: “Bloody own it”.

She wanted to show her two young sons that she could take care of them, take care of herself, and take care of their future.

It hasn’t been easy, but it’s getting easier, thanks in part to Fitzjohn’s hard work and careful money management.

Although she’s always been a saver rather than a spender, without a clear plan for her money Fitzjohn felt haunted by “visions of working until I was 80 and hanging teabags on the washing line”.

Sleep at night

Her immediate money goal was to be able to sleep soundly at night.

For the future, she wanted a retirement where she could sit by the beach sometimes, with a cocktail in hand, relaxing in the company of her best friends.

But with only a small amount of leftover income each month to invest, she wasn’t quite sure where to start.

She felt that an adviser wouldn’t be interested in a client with only a few thousand dollars to invest.

Kiwi DIY approach

Instead, she picked the classic Kiwi DIY approach. She read articles about investing and joined online platform Hatch, starting a watchlist of shares she was interested in and using the site’s educational guides.

After a few months, she invested NZ$500 in Tesla, a sum of money that she could afford to lose if everything went wrong. It all went right.

Last year alone, the Tesla share price rose from around US$90 to around US$400.

Since then, she’s been investing a regular monthly sum and enjoys the process of picking shares.

She likes the US market

She says the Hatch platform suits her because she likes the US markets, with their recognisable brands, and appreciates the educational resources provided for free on the platform.

Fitzjohn’s favourite shares are companies with problem-solving products and ideas, even if they’re sometimes controversial, like Beyond Meat and Aurora Cannabis.

She also likes to diversify by using ETFs like the Vanguard S&P 500. So far, she’s grown a portfolio worth four or five times what she’s put in.

“When I started my portfolio, I used to check it every day, but now it’s only a few times a month.

“It’s a long-term investment. I’m not playing the market, and although some of my investments have been a bit dicey at times, most of them have bounced back.

“I trust my research and I diversify across different industries.”

Her confidence grew

Her understanding of investments and money management have given Fitzjohn more confidence about her future.

When she was interviewed for her current role at Xero, they explained the company’s share incentive scheme to her, and Fitzjohn says it was a great feeling to understand exactly what was on offer and how much it was worth to her.

“Funnily enough, I think I probably could go and talk to an adviser now, because I have a bit more experience.”

Thanks to investing, maximising her KiwiSaver contributions, cautious spending and working hard, Fitzjohn no longer needs to feel anxious about money.

There’s certainly no danger of anyone thinking ‘poor Rachael’ – consider the situation “bloody owned”.


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