The beginner’s guide to shares
When you’re starting out in share trading, it helps to know exactly what a share is and how it works. The good news is, it’s probably a lot less complicated than you think. This guide could get you started and help you decide if share trading is right for you.
Why invest in shares?
Shares can be a good way to grow wealth over time, as part of a wider investment stratagy.
There are two main reasons people choose to invest in shares over the long term.
- Firstly, shares have the potential to increase in capital value over time.
- And secondly, shares can sometimes offer an income in the form of dividends.
Unlike a bank deposit, money invested in shares has the potential to increase in value and protect your investment against inflation.
Having said that, shares can go down in value too. That's why most people only invest in shares as part of a diversified portfolio.
Some people also like to take advantage of the fluctuations in share prices by buying and selling in the short term, with the aim of making a financial gain.
Risks of investing in shares
Like any investment, investing in shares has its risks. The two main types of risks are:
- Volatility risk. This is when the share price goes up and down. This could be due to factors such as changes in the company’s profits or changes in economic conditions. If share prices fall, you would see a change in the market value of your holdings but you wouldn’t actually lose money unless you sold your shares.
- Absolute risk. This is the risk that your shares will be worth nothing, for example if the company goes out of business.
Ways to manage risk when investing in shares
- Diversify your share holdings. You can spread your risk by investing in a variety of shares from different companies and industries. This means if one industry or company goes down, you may still have other shares to balance out the losses.
- Diversify your investments. You can spread your risk further by investing in more than just shares. For example you may like to explore other investment options such as fixed interest securities, term investments and exchange traded funds, which are available through ASB Securities.
- Focus on the long term. Because share prices may go up and down in the short term, you don’t want to be forced to sell if you need to free up money, especially when prices are low. Historically, money invested in shares has tended to hold or grow in value faster than inflation.
- Do your research. Before you invest, it’s a good idea to research the company and industry and find out how their shares have been performing, although this is not an indication of future performance. ASB Securities Online Share Trading gives you access to a range of reports and research tools to help you make informed choices.
Other helpful guides
ASB Securities Limited is a NZX Firm. ASB Securities terms and conditions apply. The above information is a guide only and should not be relied on as it does not take into account your personal financial situation.