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Why Investing Isn’t As Scary As You Think

It’s easy to think the investing world is out of reach or is just the domain of rich, older men. But the perception is slowly changing. Claire Connell says investing doesn’t have to be daunting, and busts some common stereotypes.

19 October 2021

Keen to get started in investing but feeling overwhelmed by the jargon, cost of entry, and options available? You’re not the only one. But investing might be more accessible than you think.

You don’t need to be super-rich

It’s true that if you want to invest your money with a large fund manager, you might need a relatively large amount to deposit. But in the last couple of years, new investment platforms have started that offer a low cost to entry. Some let you invest for as little as $5 a week. Research online to find which platforms suit you best. So, even if you don’t have heaps of cash to throw around, don’t think investing is out of reach.

People from all walks of life do it

Investors can range from the very experienced, to the beginner at the foot of the investment ladder. Some people may have suddenly found themselves with a large sum of money, for example through an inheritance, and decided to invest it after seeing a financial adviser. Some investors may be hands-off, or have a passive approach, while others might want to be regularly involved and making decisions often. Investors range from the very rich, to the not-so-rich. Investors who are wealthy now may have started with not much, but investing has helped them reach their goals. Kiwi investors include women too – you might be surprised just how many!

You don’t need to know all that technical stuff

It’s easy to think you might need a finance degree or money skills before you try to wrap your head around the share market. But many investors don’t have a huge amount of finance knowledge – they just want to make their money work for them. But learning more about investing can help you make better financial decisions, and pick investments that are better suited to your situation.

There are many websites making investing more accessible. Investopedia is one of JUNO’s favourites, and Sorted also has some great information. Investing is like anything else you’re keen to find out more about – do your research. Start reading. Once you’re familiar with the jargon that those in the industry throw around, you may find it’s not as complex as you might think.

If you’re interested in using a platform to invest in the share market, don’t be afraid to call up and speak to a real human behind the company. That’s what they’re there for. You can also see a trusted, independent financial adviser – if you pick a good one, they’ll be able to explain things simply for you. Financial author Mary Holm has a good list on her website, www.maryholm.com

You might already be an investor

If you have money in a KiwiSaver account, you’re already an investor. The government’s KiwiSaver is the easiest and most common type of investment option for Kiwis. Money put into KiwiSaver can be used for retirement saving, or to help with a first-home deposit. Around 2.9 million people in New Zealand have a KiwiSaver account. To find out more about KiwiSaver, visit www.kiwisaver.govt.nz

It doesn’t have to be high-risk

There is some stigma around investing – that it’s risky, and you could lose the lot, particularly when it comes to shares. Any investment always involves some level of risk. Some investments are very high risk. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons, and assess your own level of risk tolerance. Look at your situation and which type of investment suits you.

There are online tools to guide you with your risk tolerance level. A financial adviser can help with this too, and can likely offer some lower-risk options for you. Some lower risk examples might include bank deposits and other fixed interest investments, but they often come with lower returns.

Higher risk options might include shares, and are usually designed to help grow wealth over a long period, like 10 years or more. Losing sleep over your investments isn’t worth it – be happy with your choice and make sure you’re comfortable with the risk you’re taking. Also, it’s important to note that investing might not suit you at all. A financial adviser or budgeting expert might suggest you pay off any high-interest debt, payday loans, or credit card debt before considering any investment opportunities.

It can be fun

It’s a perception that investments can be rather dull. They’re not exactly lively dinner party conversation for most people. But if you’re new to the investing world, it’s likely you might find it quite fun. And if you find friends who invest as well, that might make the experience even better. It’s exciting seeing your money grow. It may go down too, but that’s part of the journey. Researching the funds or companies you like and suit you can be fun. The more you learn, the more interesting you’ll probably find it. Learning about your investment, even at a basic level with KiwiSaver, for example, can be really empowering. If you do have investments, it’s important to know how they work, what you can expect, possible risks and, overall, feel comfortable with your decisions.

Published 25 February 2020

This article does not contain any financial advice and has not taken into account any particular person’s circumstances. Before relying on it, we recommend you speak with a financial adviser. This story reflects the views of the contributor only. Content comes from sources that we consider are accurate, but we do not guarantee that the content is accurate.

Informed Investor's content comes from sources that Informed Investor magazine considers accurate, but we do not guarantee its accuracy. Charts in Informed Investor are visually indicative, not exact. The content of Informed Investor is intended as general information only, and you use it at your own risk.

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