How to Set Sail & Navigate Investing in ETFs

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

So, you're looking to start buying ETFs as part of your investment strategy, but not sure how to start? No biggie. We got you. This is our way to navigate the waters.

Oh, and we have also opted to accompany this article with a section of images that best illustrate the three phases to action. We also are having a 101 on ETF's on Thursday June 18th from 12.30pm - 1.30pm HKT. Get your spot here.


"Thinking about taking action. A little bit on the radar, but still soaking up the sun aka environment, debating whether to make a move."

I studied finance & accounting and have worked in a bank for more than ten years, so I consider myself a pretty switched on professional/mama/gal. Admitting that my own investments into equities have so far consisted of a random grab bag of shares purchased at various whims has not been easy... 

Every day I tell corporate clients how to structure debt and think about sustainable banking. So why had I been so afraid to tackle my own investments head on? 

Attracted by their high liquidity, high transparency, low fees, and potential for strong returns, I finally set sail on my mission to get invested in ETFs!

Joining the Conversation 

"The safety jump e.g curious enough about what's below and seeking to know more from others already in the space aka water. "


With the help of my GJWHF$ tribe I started to feel comfortable asking the “beginner” questions I was supposed to know already. All three books recommended by Sun Kim helped bring this to life.

"I heard a clear message: passive ETF investing make sense for a busy gal who’d rather spend time kicking career/life goals and be at peace with my money knowing it’s working for me in the long-term."

While these books were amazing (scroll to the bottom for their names and l inks to buy) in terms of understanding the principles of wealth creation through a diversified + disciplined approach, they also left me with two big questions:

  1. They were bit dated, and ETFs are now a global US$5.3trillion market with an explosion of new products and themes (apparently to reach US$50trillion by 2030 according to some!)

  2. The books targeted a US audience... and I’m a HK-based Aussie with different tax implications to explore, as well as personal values such as ESG on my mind...

Taking Action 

"We call this one 'All In' - executing with confidence and knowing what's below."

I could bore you - or worse, scare you - with all the details but this message is meant to help, not hinder. Here's an outline of steps I took to get into the market. 

  1. Pen your own investing principles (what guides your actions – and holds you steady in volatile times)

  2. Research fees & tax implications (or call me if you’re an overseas Aussie who knows you’ll be going home one day!)

  3. Get regular... set it up so that every month you squirrel a little away (know what’s in your portfolio already and what you need to add/subtract to get to your ideal allocation).

Below is a snapshot of my ideal portfolio – yours will be different, depending on your goals, risk & reward preferences and life situation. So just see it as one gal’s perspective:

Developed markets all cap / small cap – 50%

Emerging markets all cap / small cap – 20%

REITs / Infrastructure - 10%

Gold - 10%

Cash - 10%

Those that want to know more can check out the three books listed below...

  1. Bogleheads' Guide to Investing

  2. Gone Fishin' Portfolio

  3. The Only Winning Guide to Investing You Need

And Finally...

"Current mood = we are setting sail, we're informed, we know the bow from the stern and we're feeling good."

Story by Nancy Wang, Co-Founder, Girls Just Wanna Have Fund$

Nothing in this chatroom, newsletter, website, presentation material or linked article should be interpreted as an offer or recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security or other financial product. GJWHF is awaiting its not-for-profit status (section 88) in Hong Kong. The views expressed in the chatroom, newsletter, website, presentation materials or article reflect the authors' personal views and not those of GJWHF.

Image credits to Vogue (Conde Nast).

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