One of the facts you need to know before you decide on an investment is how you can get your money back. This depends on the type of investment.
Fixed interest securities
Some fixed interest investments are 'on call'. This means you can get your money out at any time.
Other fixed interest investments are for a set term. In this case, the institution you invested with doesn't necessarily have to repay you if you want your money back early. If they do allow you to take your money out early, there is likely to be a penalty and/or a fee.
Fixed interest investments, such as bonds, that are listed on New Zealand's exchange NZX or an overseas stock exchange can typically be sold more easily than investments that aren't listed.
Shares that are listed on a stock exchange can be sold at any time provided there are buyers for the particular company's shares. Whether you make a profit or a loss depends on the price of the shares when you want to sell, and whether this is more than you paid for them.
Shares that are not listed on a stock exchange may be harder to sell because there may not be a buyer when you want to sell.
If a managed fund is listed on the stock exchange, you can sell your units in the same way as you can sell shares.
With most other managed funds, you can get your money out by selling your units back to the manager of the fund, but there may be some restrictions on this. The amount you get will depend on the value of the units at the time. There may be a fee to pay.
Investments in KiwiSaver and other superannuation funds are often locked in until you retire. If this is the case, you usually can't get your money out early.