Andrew is the founder of Strawman, an online community of investors providing members with independent, peer-reviewed research and recommendations on the sharemarket.
Before starting Strawman, he was an investment analyst and a writer at The Motley Fool, a multimedia company which provides insight and analysis about stocks. He’s also a massive Elon Musk fan – woo! 😆
If you’re interested in learning about investing in shares, he’s written a great post on how to value a share.
Who or where did you learn your money habits from?
I think I just learned it along the way. My parents didn’t hold back on important things, but they weren’t big spenders either. I’m a bit tight by nature. I’m happy to sit at home in my Ugg boots and watch TV and don’t have expensive taste.
Saving money is the hardest part for most people, but for me it’s natural. And you can’t really talk about things like investing if you have no savings.
Are you happy with your current financial situation? Why? Is there anything you would like to change?
There’s research that suggests that contentment depends on your peer group – the people around you. So it would be different if we were living in Beverly Hills, being surrounded by that crowd and feeling like you’re lacking, compared to if we were living in a Ugandan slum.
I think we’re all very fortunate in the west, so I’m quite happy. Of course, I’d always take more. In terms of what I’d like to change, I would prefer my income sources to be more passive than active.
What top financial advice or tips & tricks have you received?
The main things to keep in mind are pretty simple, just hard to implement and stick to. These include diversification, regular saving and regular ongoing investments. In terms of stock picking, the likes of Warren Buffett and Benjamin Graham have said to remember that there is a business behind the ticker symbol – many people don’t do that.
I got most of these ideas from books – The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape is a good starting point. Another good book for general financial concepts is Motivated Money by Peter Thornhill.
Is there any financial advice that you would like to receive? (or any topics that you would like to learn more about)
With the industry that I’m in, I’m always looking for good, well-presented investment ideas. Especially deep insights into what makes certain businesses or industries tick. I look for information that is stock and business-specific so that I can understand the nuances.
If you were given $1 million AUD, what would you do with it?
I’m going to be a bit boring and say that I would probably just invest it all. The average long-term return is 10%, which is $100,000 each year plus compounding. Even if I just let it sit in an index fund. The money will double in 7 years, and in 20 years there’ll be around $6 million. I could even just put it in a high-interest savings account and get a few thousand just for waking up – it’s not hard.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Think about forming proper financial habits that are easy to implement. For example, don’t put things on a credit card, have weekly savings goals etc. Time goes quickly and it makes a huge difference.
Leveraging on the impact of time with compounding – that’s the secret to financial freedom. I’ve seen a lot of people get into bad debt situations due to a lack of simple habits.
I think financial literacy really isn’t taught well in schools. We’re like goldfish, where we grow to the tank that we’re in. It’s up to you to educate yourself on these important habits.
I started out working for CommSec and earned $80,000 a year fresh out of university, which was really nice given that I didn’t have a family. But if you’re not careful and you get used to a certain lifestyle, it’ll be harder for you down the road.
That’s why I stress the importance of habits like saving. For my own kids, I want them to learn the value of a dollar and the hard work that goes behind earning it.
Even if I got $100 million tomorrow, I’d still want them to learn how to set savings goals to get what they want – I wouldn’t be giving them things easily. I aim to shape their habits by leading by example.
If you’re interested in getting involved or know someone that I should interview, please get in touch!