Investing is about growing your money over time. Before you start using a platform set your intentions so you know what you’re investing for, then focus on products that will help you reach those goals.
Choosing what to invest in
Choosing what to invest in depends on your investment strategy, risk profile, interests and values. Some people want to grow their savings over time so will drip-feed a regular amount into a selection of managed funds every month. Some people want to have a bit of fun and learn by investing just a few dollars into a range of individual companies they’re interested in.
It all comes down to what you want to achieve. Regardless, it’s a bad idea to invest large sums of money you can’t afford to lose. And an even worse idea to borrow money to invest. See Understanding the Risks below.
Managed funds offer an easy way to diversify
Spreading your risk by diversifying your investments is one of the golden rules of investing. This means investing in a range of different things, so if a single investment loses some or all of its value you have other investments that are still performing well.
Some managed funds invest in a single asset type (like shares). But most managed funds invest in varying proportions of different asset types like shares, property, bonds or cash. A multi-asset managed fund like this is typically a good choice for someone who, beyond the basics of choosing and monitoring their investment, doesn’t want to be too involved.
ETFs can form the building blocks of a portfolio
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are managed funds that are listed on a regulated market. ETFs are traded like a share, so prices fluctuate throughout the day. ETFs usually track a market index or industry type and are generally passive investments.
Choosing individual shares and bonds can be an interesting and fun way to learn about investing but it’s a good idea to do some research before you invest. You can start by using the investor disclosure materials that regulated share and bond issuers are required to provide. These include:
NZX Listed Issuers are also required to make ongoing disclosures about any information that may influence the price of their securities. These disclosures are published on the NZX website. International securities are generally subject to similar requirements. Some platforms also offer access to research tools and analysis to help with your decision-making.
The FMA’s shares and bonds webpages provide more detail on what to look for when deciding on which shares and bonds to invest in.
Remember to keep managing your investments
To get the most out of your investment be sure to review your investments at least annually. Remember investing is better over the long-term so don’t panic if your investment value falls and know the warning signs of an investment in distress.