Investing in shares: 'The battle is in the mind, not in the pocket' - financial expert

Online platforms such as Sharesies are breaking down the barriers for Kiwis wanting to invest money in shares. 

Financial adviser and host of the 'NZ Everyday Investor' podcast Darcy Ungaro, told The AM Show on Tuesday that the secret to share investing is to start small. 

"It's the process of learning more than the process of getting a good return and building wealth," Ungaro said.

While a 1c investment through Sharesies is unlikely to get much traction, mentally it will.

"With investing, the battle is in the mind - it's not so much in the pocket," Ungaro said.

If people can get over their fears and preconceptions of financial markets and start engaging with them, online platforms such as Kernel, InvestNow, Sharesies and Hatch, provide an easy way to do it, bearing in mind that generally, there's no advice.

"You need to be going in there either with an attitude of learning - or you've learnt somewhere else,"  Ungaro said. 

"Perhaps you speak with a financial adviser who has given you some guidance, or you're just a self-directed DIY person."

While more risk-averse investors may feel uncomfortable jumping online and seeing their account balance fluctuate, for others, the transparency could be exactly what they need to get engaged.

Ungaro said following the 1987 sharemarket crash, people have the notion that investing is about speculation and throwing bits of paper around - something that needs to change.

"The world has moved on: unfortunately, New Zealanders haven't moved on with it. 

"Investing is a long-term game: it's about making a stand and getting some ground over time."

Using online investment platforms, people can put in as much or as little money as they want. 

"A lot of [investment] platforms have an auto-invest feature where you can put in regular amounts over time," Ungaro said. 

"Whether that gets invested automatically when it gets into the platform or whether you go in there manually and make investments [is] totally up to you."

The barriers to entry have been lowered, including fees and most platforms are gateways into investments rather than the actual holders of the funds.

"Funds are not necessarily at risk from [this] fund manager or platform.

"The money actually sits with a custodian and they [the platform] buys the shares on your behalf," Ungaro explained

While investing in shares is not a 'get rich quick' scheme, for people willing to educate themselves and channel small change over time, using an online share platform could be a smart way to go.