Last updated 11 January 2024

Investing once seemed like something only the financially savvy could do. Now, thanks to the growing personal finance movement and new online investing platforms, almost anyone can start investing with relatively little money. But before you jump in, make sure you understand what you're getting into. 

If the word investing still makes you feel afraid or apprehensive, let us break it down for you.

1. How to start investing

If you have a KiwiSaver account, or another form of retirement fund, you're already investing and you probably didn't even realise it! Despite the name, KiwiSaver isn't actually a savings account – it's a scheme that invests on your behalf, and you can pick what kind of account you want based on your financial goals.

It could be worth reviewing what kind of KiwiSaver fund you are in to make sure it suits your life stage and how much risk you're comfortable with. We have a KiwiSaver calculator that could help with planning for your retirement or buying your first home.

If you're interested in doing some extra investing outside of your KiwiSaver fund, it's important to make sure it fits your current financial situation and goals. Do you have existing debts accruing interest? If so, they should be your first priority – and extra investing can wait until you are on the other side of debt. 

But if you are ready to start investing, you don't need a lot of money to get started. Investing platforms like Sharesies or Hatch make setting up and running your own investment portfolio very manageable. All investments come with risk, so make sure you do some research before you jump in. 

man looking at his investment portfolios on a laptop and his phone that is in his hand

2. Understanding responsible investing

If investing in ethical companies through your KiwiSaver scheme fund is something you care about, it’s important to understand what your definition of ‘ethical’ is. For some, it will mean not investing in tobacco or alcohol companies, and for others, it may be more environmentally focused and they won’t want to invest in fossil fuels. If you're wondering if you're KiwiSaver scheme provider is an ethical or responsible investor, find out more about how responsible investing works

Whatever your ethics, there are options out there for everyone. Through investing, you can make sure your savings are doing some good for you as well as the planet and community around you.

The MAS KiwiSaver Scheme helps you grow your money responsibly by investing in companies with green revenues and will not invest in companies with principal business activities in fossil fuels, weapons, and tobacco. 

We complement this by integrating environmental, social and governance considerations, including climate factors into our investment decisions. 

As an active steward of your money, we seek to use shareholder voting rights to influence companies to conduct their business in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. We also arrange for engagement with companies the Schemes invest in, to advocate for human rights, labour rights, anti-corruption, and the environment. 

Find out more about responsible investing with MAS

cardboard sign that says love our planet

 3. The power of compound returns

Compound returns can give your investments a real boost. This is essentially returns earned on your returns, where the money you have gained on an investment is reinvested and makes returns itself. Compound returns have a powerful impact over the long term, which is why starting to invest while you're young can have awesome benefits for your bank balance. 

Check out this calculator to work out how much you could save over time with the help of compound interest.

4. The highs and the lows

Just like riding the wave of life, investing isn’t always smooth sailing. All investment comes with risks, and when you invest you need to be prepared to ride the highs and lows of the market. It helps to think about what kind of investor you are from the get-go. Ask yourself how much money are you prepared to lose in the short-term? Are you a risk-taker or a more cautious investor? What is your investing time frame?

If you know your goals and expectations from the outset, that will make the lows much easier to accept and the highs will be even more enjoyable. If you sell when the market hits a low point, your return is likely to be lower than if you wait it out.

5. Variety is the spice of life

Anyone who has watched the highly informative TV show Love Island will know the importance of not putting all of your eggs in one basket. The same goes for investments. You are in a much safer position if you have multiple investments rather than having all your money in one investment that goes bad.

Investing in index funds is a good way to keep things diversified. Index funds are portfolios that track a certain stock market index such as the NZX 50 or S&P 500. It means you’ll own a fraction of many companies – 50 or 500 in these cases – and means if one or two companies don’t do so well you won’t lose everything.

Play the game and keep your options open – check out the MAS Risk Profiler tool to explore this further.

Everyone's circumstances are unique, so it's always important to get advice that is best suited to your own financial situation. There's a lot of information out there, so one of the most helpful things you can do is chat to a professional, such as a MAS Adviser.

Contact us here, or give us a ring on 0800 800 627 to find out more. 

Medical Funds Management Limited is the issuer of the MAS KiwiSaver Scheme and the MAS Retirement Savings Scheme. A PDS for each Scheme is available here:

MAS KiwiSaver Scheme

MAS Retirement Savings Scheme

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