Diary of a first-time investor

Sebastian O'Hara, operations assistant, Chelsea Financial Services

My first experience with investing materialised whilst at university through my current account bank provider. I’d been given a small lump sum from my grandparents but, despite being in the middle of a degree in Business Management and Economics, I still knew relatively little about investing and how I could best utilise my savings. My bank persuaded me to place this lump sum into a cash ISA.

I’m now fresh out of university and saddled with a colossal student debt. I’m lucky as I managed to get a job pretty much straight away so, with little to show in terms of interest from my cash ISA (it had an interest rate of 0.5%) and with a long-term goal of owning my own home, I decided to look at a few investment opportunities - even considering Bitcoin at one point. However, I came to the conclusion that it would be a big jump to switch from a cash ISA into a very volatile cryptocurrency, so I sought other ways to put my cash to work.

I wish I had taken more time to evaluate and consider my options sooner, given my new understanding of the financial services industry. Financial services are so accessible today, it’s difficult to ignore the difference between stashing money in cash and investing wisely to generate stronger risk-adjusted returns – especially in today's low-interest rate environment.

With research teams, managed funds and fund portfolios at investors' disposal, investing across asset classes has never been easier. I carefully considered all of my options and decided to invest into the VT Chelsea Managed Aggressive fund, a multi-manager fund which contains a blend of diversified funds. There are a number of people in the office who are far more knowledgeable than me, so I’ll let them take care of my money.

Throughout my limited time and experience in investing, I have certainly begun to appreciate the importance of investing wisely and how it can make a considerable difference to my chances of achieving home ownership one day.

In the future I hope to progress to the stage where I can make my own investment decisions with a deeper understanding but, for now, this small step from a cash ISA to a managed stocks and shares ISA is certainly a step in the right direction.

Past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. You may not get back the amount originally invested, and tax rules can change over time. Sebastian's views are his own and do not constitute financial advice.

Published on 23/01/2018