Our latest Investor Profile features Dillon Balasingham, a 22-year-old student at the Victoria University of Wellington, and Co-President of the University’s Finance and Investment Club.
Come next year, Dillon will be throwing off his graduation cap and officially completing a conjoint degree in law and commerce.
It’ll conclude five fulfilling years at Victoria University of Wellington, where he’s been helping promote investing among his peers as Co-President of the Finance and Investment Club and committee-member of the Victoria Student Investment Fund.
Investing is something Dillon’s been interested in since he first started as a 16-year-old, with the help of his dad, who also invests.
From the beginning of his investing journey, Dillon’s ethos has been to invest in companies that deliver products or services that he uses and enjoys.
“That’s a good bellwether for a successful company.”
He got started by opening up a broking account with his bank and invested in a couple of stocks in companies whose products he used.
As Dillon’s interest in investing grew, so did his portfolio. Today, he invests in KiwiSaver which is in a growth fund, a separate mutual fund and in various New Zealand and American stocks (diversified as much as possible) which he chooses himself. His aim with investing is to eventually achieve the goal of home ownership.
He describes himself as being a relatively active trader but one who focuses on long-term investing.
“I’ll only sell my investments if I don’t believe the company’s goals are in line with my own investing philosophy.”
When looking at which stocks to buy, Dillon researches companies using online sites like Yahoo Finance and reading up on annual reports and governance structures. It’s also helpful to keep up with local and international news and findings from financial analysts, he says. He is currently interested in value stocks, stocks that appear to trade at a lower perceived value.
Dillon’s income currently comes from working part-time as a tutor in university. Dillon’s investments are financed through his own savings and dividends, and it’s important he takes steps to protect himself.
“I do extensive due diligence on all my investments, and I make sure that I have the appropriate risk appetite for a particular investment.”
For students and young people who don’t have a lot of money, Dillon’s advice is to start with as little as you can afford.
“Platforms such as Sharesies allow you to start small. You can put in just $10 or $20 a week and build your way up.”
Dillon acknowledges that it may not be easy for students to find a surplus in their budget to invest.
When he’s not working or studying, Dillon can be found catching up with friends and squeezing in nine holes of golf at Miramar or Karori courses on the weekends.
“I set aside a bit of spending money for things I enjoy so I don’t feel deprived and can keep working towards my goals. Some months I am able to save and invest heaps and others it might be a small amount or nothing at all.”
His favourite investing motto is “be fearful when others are greedy, be greedy when others are fearful” by Warren Buffett.
Following the completion of his degree, Dillon will start his chosen career in finance at one of the “Big Four” accounting firms next year.