Where to invest $10k: Kate Campbell


If you're fortunate enough in this swirling economic environment to have been able to put aside some spare cash, it may be an overwhelming proposition deciding just exactly what to do with it.

At a moment in time marked by global COVID outbreaks, war and climate change fuelling a struggling sharemarket, falling house prices and rising energy bills, we don't blame you.

Thankfully, though, there are sage and steady voices amid the noise, eight of which have lent their wisdom to this series: Where to invest $10k

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One of the questions I get asked a lot (as the friend who likes talking about money and investing) is whether now is the right time to invest.

This question is asked during times when investing feels easy, but comes up a lot more often when things feel a little bit more uncomfortable, and your portfolio might not be looking as good anymore.

This makes sense, because when we're dealing with our financial future, things can feel overwhelming. We can get so tied up in knots when trying to decide whether to invest that we end up not making a decision at all and leaving it to an unknown date in the future.

But here's the crux of the matter: avoiding feelings of fear and anxiety when it comes to money builds over time. The opposite is also true. By facing our worries about investing, a bit every day, we build courage over time and the fear starts to shrink.

So how can you start and keep investing even when it feels overwhelming?

First, by building your confidence. This comes through educating yourself about how investing works and better understanding your relationship with money.

The second step is creating a simple investment plan that you feel comfortable with.

Investing is something we want to do frequently, by investing small amounts on a regular basis over decades. If we can put it on autopilot, even better!

This keeps your financial life simple and takes a huge amount of decision-making fatigue away from you every month.

You can put your portfolio on autopilot by setting up an automated investment plan using a broker like Pearler, a micro-investing app like Raiz, a robo adviser like Six Park or InvestSMART.

Even the best investors know they won't always have the willpower to invest when the headlines are scary and their portfolios are flashing red.

But by automating your investment plan, you're effectively saying that whatever the market is doing, you will be investing (without having to overcome the mental barriers of making the decision to buy when you're feeling uncertain and the headlines are at their worst).

Keep your investments simple, diversified, low-cost and regular. Automation helps - a lot. What choices can you make today that future you will be proud of and grateful for? Remember, investing is a marathon and not a sprint.

Where I would invest $10k

In 2022, my investing strategy remains largely the same, despite the constantly changing economic environment and world around us.

Actually, 90% of my portfolio is fairly boring because I invest in low-cost ETFs that give me a diversified portfolio of Australian and international companies, plus some real estate, bonds and cash.

And boring is good. In investing, boring gets the job done (it's taken me years to realise I don't need to keep overcomplicating my investment strategy).

Here are some of my easy wins for investing when life feels uncertain:

  • Write down your investing goals and reasons for investing in each company or ETF, or why you're adding extra to super. Put this document where you can easily refer to it in times of volatility, fear or FOMO.
  • Remove your micro-investing and brokerage apps from your phone. This doesn't mean stop investing. But removing the apps will stop you from making impulsive decisions and deviating from your plan without properly thinking through your actions.
  • Reduce the noise you allow into your life. Don't let the media headlines and notifications alter your strategy, without taking the time to properly do your research to work out if anything has changed in your original investment case. Genuinely actionable news is extremely rare.
  • Stay humble. It's easy to start overestimating your skills and knowledge once you're further into your investing journey, but that's when you can start making mistakes. Keep your strategy simple, don't try to outsmart the professionals (or your colleagues, if you're a professional).

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Kate Campbell works in financial education at Rask Australia, and is the host of The Australian Finance Podcast and the How To Money podcast. She has experience working in the financial services industry and is very passionate about financial education for young Australians.