One-third of New Zealand investors gripped by FOMO when choosing shares

A deep dive into the habits of New Zealand investors has found almost one-third are guided by their heart rather than their head.

It's the all too familiar acronym FOMO, or fear of missing out, that's now striking among online investors.

A large-scale survey by the Financial Markets Authority has found 31 percent jumped into an investment because they didn't want to miss out and 27 percent invested based on someone else's recommendation rather than their own research.

Finance expert Mary Holm says investing ruled by the heart rather than the head is a "terrible" approach because it means that a lot of other people have already invested in that share. This ultimately pushes the price of the share up.

"A good company is not necessarily a good investment. It's only a good investment if you get it at a fairly low price," she says.

Four out of 10 investors say they trust their own thoughts over expert sources. Holm says the experts have already picked the good investments and pushed the price of those ones up.

"You can actually do just as well by throwing a dart at the share price tables and buying one of those shares as doing a whole lot of research," she says.

The survey also found that young men in their early 20s are now trying to save money by investing online.

"I saw Sharesies being advertised just about everywhere I went and every week I'd be putting a few dollars in," says Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Investment Club executive Luke Haythornthwaite.

"It got to the point where I couldn't really afford to get onto the bus anymore because I was putting so much into my Sharesies account."

Many other young investors like Haythornthwaite say they've turned to online investing because of housing unaffordability, but they also see it as a bit of fun.

"Especially with crypto there's been a lot of FOMO and craze with that industry, so a lot more people my age are getting into investing because of that," says AUT Investment Club marketing director Muhammad Lambat.