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Top investment tips from three of Australia's most respected CEOs

Top entrepreneur tips. Source: Financy

Whether it is $5 or $5,000, when it comes to investing the advice for women is simple: start small and start early.

Connie McKeage the CEO of Australian listed fintech company OneVue, serial entrepreneur Jo Burston and Taryn Williams CEO of talent company WINK Models and theright.fit are three generations of women at the top of their business game.

But what we really want to know is when they’re not investing in their own businesses, where are they putting their money and importantly how did they start?

Connie McKeage the CEO of Australian listed fintech company OneVue

Connie McKeage. Source: Financy

For Connie, aged in her 50s, it all started for her 30 years ago with just $5.

“There is a wonderful book called Financial Freedom on $5.00 a day by Chuck Chakrapani.  What I learned is to save first and in a disciplined way and to reap the benefits of dollar cost averaging.

“This really helped me when I didn’t have a lot of money and I continue to use this technique even today.”

“The facts are if you regularly save a set amount or percentage of what you earn over 10, 20, 30 years you can take genuine steps towards financial independence.”

“Most of us can achieve $50.00 a week however it will take some sacrifice.  I was happy to sacrifice nice dinners and travel when I was younger in order to have built the financial freedom I have today.”

These days Connie’s investments are bigger and diversified.

“I own property, have some money in fixed interest and have investments in shares, both domestic and international.  My largest direct shareholding is OneVue however I invest in overseas shares through managed funds.

“How much I invest varies based on the investment type.  You can buy into a managed fund or buy a share for $2,000 or less whereas you cannot buy a physical property for that amount.”

Taryn Williams CEO of talent company WINK Models and theright.fit 

Taryn Williams. Source: tarynwilliams.com.au

Taryn Williams, aged in her 30s, was literally born into investing.

“My parents are amazing and set up my first share portfolio when I was born!,” she said.

“I started with a small portfolio probably valued at around $5,000, and kept investing in it throughout high school and as I started working.”

“I invest in both of my companies as well as a range of other Australian and international equities, managed funds, and cash/term deposits. I’ve also invested in other start-ups and small businesses.”

Serial entrepreneur Jo Burston

Jo Burston. Source: Financy

Jo Burston, aged in her 40s, started with buying a block of land on the New South Wales Central.

“Property was my learning curb into investing and that started when I was 20, and that was on a Coast, and eventually in bricks and mortar property,” she said.

“It was really driven by my desire to earn income outside of my wages, which at the time were dismally low, and I knew that to do the things I wanted to do, required more than the salary I was on.”

Jo also invests equities, commodities, crypto currencies and in her three companies, Job Capital, entrepreneurial movement Inspiring Rare Birds and Startup.business.

“I treat them like I would any other investment, they have to be able to produce a return from a viable financial model.”

Jo currently has plans to invest in commercial property and has spent the best part of a year self-educating herself on it as an asset class.

“I am attracted to commercial property because of the yields, plus it’s a vehicle I can invest in via self managed superannuation (SMSFs).”

Best and worst investments plus the lessons they’ve learned

Jo says the worst investment she’s ever made was in commodities and equities.

“I had a very significant portfolio before the global financial crisis (GFC) and that event wiped out almost 70 per cent of my portfolio almost overnight.

“But I went back to rebuild it and that event taught me a more conservative approach because I was previously day trading and now I only look at long-term holds.”

“These days I look at the dividends and the longevity of a businesses and whether it is open to disruption. I also look at companies in the innovation and technology space that are fast growth and which have recently listed.”

“With crypto currencies because I didn’t know a lot about it, I educated myself, and spoke to hundreds of people in that space and watched as many videos and read as many books as I could. I then invested in Bitcoin and made a good return on it and could see that it was declining last year and virtually got out of it as an asset class.”

Connie says over the years what she’s done successfully is not panic when share markets have moved up and down.

“I take a longer-term view, and occasionally I do sell out and cut my losses but it has mostly been in relation to very high risk ventures, and I knew the risks.

“Nowadays my best investment is the Foundation, which my husband Michael and I established as our investment is in people who need assistance.”

Taryn says some of her best investments have included Macquarie and Magellan managed funds but the worst was a direct business investment.

“I have a fantastic broker at Macquarie who manages my day to day portfolio of investments and I trust her judgement on the risk versus reward, having worked together for over 10 years she knows my risk appetite!

“I invested in a start up that unfortunately didn’t deliver against their plan and were too late to pivot to save the company.”

Advice they all agree on

The shared advice when it comes to investing is:

  1. Don’t invest in something just because someone else has been successful at it.
  2. Don’t invest in anything until you really understand it and that means a lot of self-educating, talking to people and doing your research.
  3. Take a long-term view and work towards building a diversified portfolio of assets.
  4. Consider paper investing.  This means tracking an asset’s performance over a certain period before investing money in it.
  5. And if you don’t have the money to invest right now, at least create a saving strategy for when you have the funds. 

Bianca Hartge-Hazelman is a women’s money columnist. She is also the founder of The Financy Women’s Index and women’s money blog Financy.