August 3, 2021
I’ve been recommending you use a low cost broker since the birth of this blog back in 2017.
Lots has changed since then and there are seemingly new competitors coming out all the time.
Because a brokerage account is our main weapon for investing in shares and building a portfolio, I thought it was important to share with you what I’m doing and why.
After using SelfWealth for a few years, and being pretty happy with them, I’ve decided to move all my investments over to Pearler.
There’s a few reasons for this, which I’ll explain in a minute. But first, some context…
I met the founders of Pearler back in 2019 at the Playing with FIRE Premiere movie screening in Sydney.
Since then (and even before), the guys have been working hard to build a low cost investment platform which serves everyday long term investors rather than traders.
They had some cool ideas and I liked what they were about, so I agreed to start testing the platform from the very start and providing feedback.
To their credit, Pearler was very responsive to my feedback and quick to implement suggestions (not something most companies do).
As with any new tech, it was a bit buggy and clunky at first. But each time I used the platform it had improved. It’s come a very long way from the early beta-testing days and is now smooth, clean, and easy to use platform.
In fact, Pearler has made it to the point where I am pleased to make it the sole broker I use and what I recommend to others. Update: since originally writing this article, I have even become a small shareholder in the company!
I moved my remaining portfolio across from SelfWealth not long ago and now everything is at Pearler. Here’s why…
With Autoinvest you’re able to set up automatic deposits to invest the exact amount you want, into any investment you want, on a set schedule.
Or you can just deposit cash whenever you have it and set a trigger for Pearler to place a Buy order when your funds reach $1,000 (for example).
The functionality of Autoinvest is much more than this and has been expanded over time. I’m told they also have plans to build on it further.
This helps you save and invest on a regular basis without even thinking about it. It’s about as effortless and passive as it could possibly be.
And that matters because too many people are prone to over-thinking their investments: Is it the right time to buy? Should I tweak my portfolio? And so on.
Related to this, some people are attracted to Vanguard’s managed fund options because you can setup automatic deposits and be completely hands-off.
Well, now you can get the same benefits with more tax efficient ETFs, or even LICs and other things you might want to invest in on a regular basis. In fact, you can set up a ‘target portfolio’ and Pearler will automatically invest in whichever holding needs topping up according to your instructions.
This helps you while building a portfolio and then later on while living off a portfolio too. As you want to steadily sell off some of the gains in your shares for extra income, this can automatically help keep your portfolio in balance.
I’m probably not doing it justice in my explanation but it’s a truly great innovation making things easier for the everyday Aussie investor.
Free Resource: I created a spreadsheet to keep a running estimate of my dividend income and wealth breakdown. I’ve used it for years as a way to help plan my finances and watch my progress over the years. You can get it below.
Because of its design and features, I think Pearler is the most useful platform for long term investors. Especially if your goal is Financial Independence.
The lack of charts and slot-machine style features makes it too boring for the traders chasing fast-money. But we know that boring investing is powerfully effective and actually creates the best long term results.
So by being a little boring it’s actually pretty sexy 😉
Apparently Pearler received a kind mention from the Barefoot Investor recently, and he’s also quite picky when it comes to financial products, so that tells you they’re doing something right.
There are other low cost brokers out there, but I like what Pearler is about and want to support what they’re doing. In my mind, it’s much more in line with simple long term investing and financial independence than any other broker.
For more on the origins of Pearler, the company’s goals and details on how the platform is setup different from others, check out my interview with the co-founder.
And if you’re at all concerned about security, these short posts will help.
Some people use Pearler to automate some of their investments while keeping their previous broker account for other things like picking a few stocks.
Others (like me) try it out first to see what it’s like and then decide to move everything across so they can see their portfolio in the one spot.
Switching is actually pretty simple to do – it just involves an ID check and filling out a form with the holdings you want to move across.
There’s no right or wrong though. Think about what you want from your broker and then choose the best fit for you.
When you think about it, our investment account usually ends up being our most valuable account (it’s where the magic happens). So it makes sense to choose a broker who makes things easier and helps us stay focused on our long term goals.
I’m not saying you should switch just because I did. If you’re happy with your broker, or not interested in what Pearler offers, then by all means, carry on.
But I wanted to let you know what I was doing personally and why. So there you go!
If you would like to sign up, you can head to Pearler and use the code ‘COMMUNITY’ to get $40 brokerage credit to start using the platform. To be clear, this is not an affiliate link and I do not receive payment if you choose to sign up.
By the way, if you’re a newbie and would like help buying your first shares, I wrote this step-by-step guide for you. It explains the process in simple details, along with screenshots and FAQs.
And if you’re interested in the spreadsheet I use to keep track of my annual dividend income over the years, enter your email below and I’ll send it to you. Happy investing!
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