My Investment Journey

The Beginning

StashAway Bond Allocation Sample

Time-Weighted Return of my StashAway

Getting Started With Stashaway


My investment journey began two years ago, in May of 2019, when an old client shared with me how she had started using a robo-advisor (StashAway) to invest small amounts each month automatically. She showed me her portfolio and told me how easy it was to set up and I was immediately interested in giving it a try.

Prior to starting my StashAway account I had done a bit of research online however I was always afraid to take that first step. For one reason or another I was never able to commit to investing in the stock market – I think my main fear was losing all my hard-earned money or getting scammed. I was diligent with saving money however I wasn’t great at making my money work for me.

These traits are likely due to my upbringing in Ireland – Irish people are great at saving money according to the OECD. However, we aren’t the best nation when it comes to the topic of investing. This is reflected in the most recent CSO survey which showed that only 10% of households in Ireland held assets such as shares, bonds or mutual funds.

Therefore, when I made the move to Singapore, investing was a topic which did not even cross my mind. In hindsight, I wish I had started investing small amounts from the moment I received my first paycheck. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter what age you start at as long as you take the initiative to do so! Once you start you will then be able to enjoy the power of compounding! Another benefit for those based in Singapore is that there is no capital gains tax on profits from shares and financial instruments – This applies to locals and expats.

Circling back to May of 2019, after reading some reviews and checking out the platform I ultimately decided to start investing with StashAway using their General Investing account. I deposited a one-time lump sum of $5K and set up a monthly recurring transfer of $500. This whole process took no longer than 2 days. Robo-advisors like StashAway automatically manage your funds and allocate them according to your risk settings. The benefit here is that you don't need to spend time trying to pick out funds which you want to invest in as StashAway will do this for you. The downside of course is that you cannot control which funds or assets your money gets allocated to. Each month when my $500 was deposited the app would automatically allocate my funds across the pre-determined assets that it had picked out for me. From a settings perspective I choose the highest risk settings that StashAway offered - 36%. Despite picking the highest risk portfolio on StashAway however a small portion of my funds were still being allocated towards bonds, an asset which is traditionally extremely safe and therefore has lower returns. Some folks might be ok with allocating a small portion of their investments towards bonds however some younger folks who can take on more risk might find this frustrating. One suggestion here for the team over at StashAway might be to consider a 100% equity portfolio - similar in vain to the 100% REIT Portfolio offered over on Syfe. Naturally this would be higher risk but I could see younger folks opting for such an option if they made it available.

I have been utilizing StashAway for over 2+ years and during this time frame it helped to deliver a Time-Weighted Return of 27.32%. I now feel more knowledgeable about the area of investing and so have started to shift some of my funds out of StashAway and into my own brokerage account.

Overall, I think robo-advisors like StashAway, Endowus & Syfe are a fantastic way for those with little to no investment knowledge to get started. They are incredibly user friendly, easy to set up, have basic learning material and have no minimum deposit limits so you can get started from as little as $1. As you start to become more knowledgeable on the topic of investing then you might want to consider setting up a brokerage account, but I’ll cover this topic in another blog post.

I hope you found this post useful; I’d be interested to know if other folks have gone through a similar experience such as mine? Did you start using robo-advisors or dive straight into brokerage accounts?