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.
Investing is about growing your money over time.
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.
Whatever you choose to invest in, it’s important to seek independent information on the investment opportunity. Be wary of basing investing decisions on recommendations from family and friends or via social media.
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 is to borrow money to invest.
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.
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.
It is very easy to get caught up in the hype but remember it is still your real money that you are investing. FOMO, or the fear of missing out, may result in you making riskier investment choices than you otherwise might. When your friends tell you how they made a decent return, it’s hard not to want to get in on the action even if the logical part of your brain is telling you this may not be in your best interests. Before making an investing decision take a moment. Consider the five D’s of DIY investing:
To get the most out of your investment be sure to review your investments at least annually. Check the goals you originally set and update your strategy (the mix of investments you’ve chosen) if those goals have changed, If individual investments have risen or fallen in value, this might have put your investment mix out of balance so you may need to buy or sell in order to keep on track with your goals.
Remember investing is better over the long-term so don’t panic if your investment value falls in the short-term.
Online investing platforms make investing 'easy' but aren't exempt from their share of risks or scams.