Learning a new trade
Published in the Sunday Mail by Anooska Tucker-Evans
Once considered only something for corporate suits, the share market is attracting a new breed of investor.
From builders to butchers, blue-collar workers and "average" Aussies are becoming the stock traders of the future.
Dale Gillham, of Australian share management and training company Wealth Within, said he had noticed a considerable change in investors.
"The share investment landscape has changed beyond all recognition in recent years, and continues to do so everyday," he said.
"Farmers, surfers, blue collars, footballers – every demographic is covered when it comes to share investment."
Mr Gillham said these days the majority of his clients were average Australians, rather than the stereotypical businessman.
"What I would say is that the average mum and dad on the street are getting interested now because they want to take control of their own money."
Spray painter David Crighton is one such Aussie. With three young children to look after, the 40-year-old recently decided to take up share trading to allow himself more time with the family.
"Eventually I'd like to be able to do it full-time, or at least a couple of days a week, because you can work from home and there are not a lot of overheads."
The Toowoomba resident spends about six hours a week learning and investing in the stock market, while running his spray painting business three to four days a week.
Like most people, Mr Crighton was slightly hesitant about the share market but eventually decided to "give it a go".
With no previous experience in trading, he enrolled in Wealth Within' education course and said learning how to trade was much easier than he expected.
"I didn't think I'd be able to do it because I'm not a highly educated person, but I found it very simple.
"I was very surprised because I thought you had to be a figures person but it's a lot of common sense as well.
Bits and pieces were hard but after you sort of read it a few times you understood it a bit more."
With no strict hours to follow, Mr Crighton said it was also easy to work around his commitments.
"But it's like anything, how much time you put into it makes a difference."
John Gow is another average Aussie reaping the benefits of investing in the stock market.
In 2003 he entered the market with $40,000 and in three years has more than tripled his money with about $150,000 in shares.
In fact, the Gold Coast resident has done so well that he quit his job as a chef aboard an oil rig in the East Timor Sea.
But dabbling in such an unpredictable domain did not always work for the 41-year-old.
With no formal training in the field he used recommendations from websites and online chat rooms to choose what to buy.
"That wasn't very good because people would buy the stock, then get into these chat rooms and ramp it up, and then as the price went up they would get out and the price would just plummet," he said.
In the first six months Mr Gow lost $20,000 before deciding to take a professional course in trading with Wealth Within – something he wished he had done at the beginning.
"I would have made sure that I got some education, because you really need to treat share trading as a start-up business and...you've really got to put your time, effort and equity into it.
"You've got to be committed if you want to make a change in your life."
And change his life it did.
Last year he made more than double his chef's salary and recently he went on a New Zealand ski holiday and put two CFD (Contracts For Difference) trades on the day before he left.
"Our holiday cost us $8,000 and I made $12,000 while we were away."
He added that having control over money and increased choices were other attractive qualities.
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