Ask Paul: I want to start investing in ETFs but I can't shake the guilt
Q. I'm 23, single and currently living at home. I have $30,000 in cash and $3000 in NAB and CBA shares (bought during the royal commission) and no debt.
I keep telling myself I need to diversify into exchange traded funds (ETFs), but every time I go to buy them I feel guilty that I didn't do it in 2018 because they have jumped in price (in particular the Vanguard Australian Shares Index ETF).
I earn an average wage and haven't thought about travelling or buying a home.
I am just so insecure about the fact that I went to university, studied and in the past three years since graduating I have had several different jobs, which isn't ideal (looks like a millennial mindset, I know, but it wasn't intentional).
A. Yes. Stop worrying, Emily!
You are 23, so you have in all likelihood some 60-plus years in front of you.
Most 23-year-olds, as I was at that age, are flat broke and quite often carry credit card debt.
You are killing it. You have a uni degree and experience from several jobs, not to mention some $33,000 in assets.
I agree that regular investment in a sound ETF is a good plan for you. But you can't look backwards.
I wish I had bought more CSL shares at the float for about 20 cents.
But thankfully I bought more at $30, $50 and more recently at $160. Like a good ETF, they are a good investment.
And I think people buying today at around $200 will do well over the longer term. We can only buy good investments at today's value, not yesterday's.
So no guilt, please, Emily.
Why not put a regular monthly amount into an ETF and use dollar cost averaging.
You'll buy more in months when the market is down and fewer when it is up.
This automatically means you do what investors should do: buy more when cheap, less when expensive.