Before we go into opening an account and investing with EasyEquities, I want to share Anthea Gardner’s basic steps for investing and creating a financially independent future.

  • Understand your financial goals and appetite for risk. This includes both medium and long-term goals.
  • Make a budget so that you don’t spend more than you earn.
  • Get rid of unnecessary debt.
  • Start investing as soon as you can. If you’re unsure, put your money in a conservative product and keep adding. You can always change things up as you learn more.
  • Build a diversified portfolio.
  • Be realistic – she says that trying to double your money in 2-3 years is unlikely.
  • Look at the costs of investing and be aware of them.
  • Consistently add to your investments.
  • Enjoy the journey of becoming more financially knowledgeable and independent.

Now that we have the steps, it’s time to invest. Feige is sharing her sign-up diary with you.

A few days ago EasyEquities celebrated their 5th birthday, and with full disclosure, for about 3-4 of those years I have wanted to sign up but procrastinated out of a combination of fear and the feeling that I didn’t know enough and wasn’t in the right place to invest. This month I decided to put my money where my mouth is and just do it. Not only to benefit me, so that by the time EasyEquities turns 10 I can say “wow, I’m so glad I did it”, but also to test how easy it really is for you.

To disclose even further, after reading the books in our money books recommendation list I decided my first step was to identifying money I spend every month unnecessarily. My thought process was, even if it is as little as R50 – If I divert this monthly into an investment, I won’t even notice it missing from my life and in a few years, it could really add up. The easiest item was an account I had open, that I was no longer using, that was costing me R57.50 in monthly fees. I went ahead and closed it – before this month’s fee was deducted. It felt exceptionally good and I now had an extra R57.50 lying around.

Investing with EasyEquities involves 7 steps:

1. Register at easyequities.co.za

2. Complete your profile with your personal details

3. Once done, take your demo account for a spin (find the brands you love on the ‘Invest Now’ page)

4. You should get verified and ready to make a deposit into your account thereafter

5. Make a deposit into any of your EasyEquities wallets

6. Go over to ‘Invest Now’ page to select the brands you wish to buy (for real this time)

7. Keep an eye on your portfolio from the ‘Account Overview’ page

2:10pm: I visit EasyEquities and press the register button.

A

2:13pm: My basic details have been filled in.

2:16pm: Before agreeing to their costing and t&c’s, I click on the links to read them.

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2:20pm: I’m puzzled by the word “securities transfer tax” on the cost page. The great thing is that there are note references on every charge type which is then explained on the next page. I do also google it, because google.

A

2:31pm: I’m puzzled by the recommendation to transfer funds rather by EFT* (it’s noted as cheaper than the alternatives, but debit order fees show as R0.

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*This is later clarified in my welcome email where they say there is no charge for EFT’s.

2:36pm: I’m done reading the cost profile and move over to terms & conditions. Its 74 pages eek. I decide it’s time for a break. It’s taken me 26 minutes so far.

7.07pm: It’s time to resume. I didn’t close my browser and pick up where I left off.  This is where it’s going to get timeous. By the time I’m on page 22, the reading is starting to feel tedious, I totally get how many people don’t read through these, but I am learning quite a lot so feel like I need to continue. It is easy to follow but there is a lot.

7.22pm: I break for dinner (17 minutes).

8:02pm: I have completed page 59 and the rest is annexures of forms to fill out (where required).

8.05pm: I finally click I confirm + register.

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8.06pm: I start completing my profile. I notice that they give you the option to add another citizenship. This is in case you have another citizenship which would influence the tax.

After I’ve added in my income information, there’s a prompt to save which I do. It takes me to the next Tax page but I notice before that there is information to upload documents, so I go backwards to find this. It has three sections; ID, Proof of address and supporting docs. All say optional with a note saying, “Alternatively, you can email the documents to [email protected].” I choose to leave this out and see what happens.

I move onto the tax section and find I need my tax number. My filing system is what I called organised chaos, chaos because only I would know how to find things, and organised because I have it within 4 minutes.

I’m now onto the bank section. I complete with ease and now it prompts me to log out and back in. Its 8.35pm

8.37pm: I log back in and am immediately presented with options to start investing. They ask what interests me (these filters reset every time you refresh so it doesn’t mean you’re stuck with your initial choice). I still feel like I don’t know what I’m doing but I’ve read Zissy’s article and decide to select ETF’s as my investment type. They also allow you to filter by risk type which is pretty cool. I choose all.

A

I then scroll down and am shown an online shop style of options. Some options show an icon of a purple rocket which represents a fund that is thriving. I randomly click on one to see what information I get shown and it’s pretty phenomenal. There are links to the fund’s minimal disclosure document, fund information and effective annual cost. They also tell you what type of investment it is and what the risk type is. Finally, they have a tab “what’s been happening in the market” which gives you a nice overview of well-presented data to help you make a decision. They really do make it easy.

A

I have zero funds added to invest so I decide to go back to my account tabs. It’s now 8.50pm.

8.54pm: I go to my account’s overview page and I see it provides a nice overview of your activity. It also shows your transaction history.

A

I’m really enjoying working through the EasyEquities website. I click the share the love tab at the top and am given referral codes to share either via email, facebook or twitter.

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I signed up with #EasyEquities! Can’t wait to start investing in my fave brands. FOMO? #Cheapest #Easy Sign up here: http://bit.ly/2PuoToT

I find the demo account filled with R100,000 which is for you to practice.

9.01pm: I still haven’t figured out how to add funds to my account, so I return to invest now. I try work through the steps to buy something but am prompted with the below message.

This security is currently only available for trading through a BUY INSTRUCTION. A BUY INSTRUCTION will execute within a reasonable time of the instrument becoming available on the platform again. This could be after the market has re-opened or when the particular instrument is unsuspended. For more information on BUY INSTRUCTIONS click here.

I decide to rather check my mail for welcome emails and find 3.

The first sent at 8.05pm welcomes me. It provides registration details and a what’s next section. They also provide links to resources, FAQ’s (or as they call it ‘a few common ummm’s and aaah’s’).

The second at 8.19pm lets me know that I’ve been FICA verified. It also gives you instructions on how to add funds into your account. The options essentially are to wait a bit but save or do it immediately and pay; 1. By EFT, which is free but takes 2-4 hours usually or up to 48 hours in some cases. or 2. By credit card or SID. This reflects immediately but you are charged a premium for the speed. I am obviously going to choose EFT. I’ve waited long enough, I’m not suddenly in a rush.

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The third email welcomes me to EasyEquities academy and asks me to confirm my email. I do and it takes me to a signup page. I do and instead of going to courses, I decide it’s time to stick that R57.50 into my EasyEquities ZAR account.

9.23pm: I log into my bank and start adding them as a beneficiary. The instructions in the email are beyond easy to follow.

9.29pm: Payment is done! I’m not going to lie, I’m super proud of myself. While I’m logged on, I may as well pay some bills too 😉 Now that I need to wait for my funds to reflect, it’s a great time to call it a night. Tomorrow the fun begins.

It took me a total of 2 hours and 31 minutes and this included the sign-up process, 56 minutes of reading the T’s&C’s, reading all welcome emails, exploring the EasyEquities websites and making my first deposit into my EE account. At no point during that time did I feel overwhelmed or feel that it was difficult. Everything was easy, amazingly set out and even when I failed to find where to add money to my account, I was able to intuitively problem solve without needing to request their help.

6.15am: I get an SMS from EasyEquities saying my account is ready with a link to log in.

6.20am: I get an email ‘from’ Tanya from EasyEquities introducing her role at EasyEquities and letting me know my account is ready to ‘rock and roll’. There is also a link to their educational content.

6.32am: I get another email from EasyEquities to confirm receipt of my EFT deposit so I guess it’s time to put my R57.50 to work.

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I click the educational content and find myself really enjoying their blogs. I especially enjoyed their illustration on how to select shares to invest in.

I decide to go the ETF route and select the Satrix 40. It shows the list price at 50.01 so I assume if I purchase 50.01 I’d get 1 share. I select my chosen amount and hit purchase. It shows the transaction fee as 7c and asks me to confirm. I do and am confused when it shows me I now have an FSR of .9926 rather than 1 share.

AI learn that this could be because there is a 15 minute price delay on the website or that my settings are made to include the transaction fees. This setting is easily adjustable in the accounts preferences page.

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I head to my account overview page. I see I’ve already lost 7c on the value and I laugh as I recall investment advice that you should let your money sit and shouldn’t check it every day.  (A few days later I’ve gained 5c). All that’s left for me to do is rinse, repeat and start building a portfolio.

I decide to make use of the demo account to test the waters before I strike again and I “buy” R250 worth of equities in 3 companies I give most of my money to. This is such a fun feature on the EasyEquities website and I notice how differently I feel hitting select on these faux purchases than I did when I was using my money. I think it’s safe to say that I’m now in on the investment game.

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