For many young New Zealanders, one of the biggest financial influences they have will be mum and dad. 

This can start with conscious teaching, such as opening their first savings account at primary school, to subconscious behaviour when our kids observe how we spend our money. 

My girls, Brooke and Mackenzie, now 21 and 20, got their first after-school jobs at around 14 or15. What they've done with their money has been their choice, although we've had a few conversations along the way. 

Before they turned 18, we discussed the pros and cons of KiwiSaver, however, the decision on whether to participate was up to them. Both girls elected to opt-in and purposefully selected the fund type and level of contribution that met their needs. 

Now, a few years later and with some personal savings under their belt, they're asking about other investments. 

As the new chief executive of Flint Wealth, an online investment platform that offers access to a range of investment funds, you can bet the girls and I are having a robust conversation.

However, I do stress the point that they must do their own research. Though this kind of reconnaissance may not be new to us as parents, teaching our young people to adopt some tried and true practices can only be a good thing.

With this in mind, here are half a dozen thinking points you might like to discuss with your family members if they, like many of us, are considering their financial future:  

  1.  Know your time horizon and how this might impact how you invest. Think through how long it will be until you need to access your money – the further away that point, the longer your time horizon. Are you prepared to commit your money for years, rather than months, or do you need to access your money sooner? If you're investing for the long term, then try to adopt a long-term mindset rather than looking for short-term, quick wins – that’s similar to gambling. 
  2. Understand your risk appetite and how comfortable you are taking risks. Are you someone that always wants to ‘play it safe’, or are you someone that takes risks? Consider how you assess risk, because comfort levels vary considerably across people, regardless of their age and stage. Sorted’s online tools can help you out here if you’re stuck on what your investment approach looks like. Investing always involves risk, but some investments may have a higher risk than others. 
  3. Having clear goals before you start may help you keep on track and motivated that you're working towards something. Every investor should have a reason to invest – something that they're working towards. Some common investing goals include building wealth for retirement, wanting to leave an inheritance, or perhaps working towards a house or a holiday. Whatever your goals, you can make investing more tangible by keeping these front of mind. 
  4. What matters to you when you invest? Investors are increasingly interested in themes like ethical investing and sustainability. In fact, 73% of New Zealanders expect their investments to be ethical or responsible, and over half of us think it's important that our money makes a positive difference in the world. Digital investment platforms and fund managers are responding and you have a lot of options when it comes to ethical and responsible investing. As an investor myself, I like to support my values with my own money through responsible investing and this, in turn, may impact where I invest.
  5. Weigh up different investment options and decide what will suit you best as a self-directed online investor. While 80% of people feel more positive about investing after investing online, not all platforms are created equal. Some investors are OK with picking individual businesses to invest in, but some would prefer to invest their money in managed funds, knowing that a fund manager is in charge. Online investing platforms vary in the options they provide, so it's key to give some thought to what you want to invest in before you choose a platform. Most platforms look fun and are designed to be user-friendly and engaging, but think through what the platform offers, and if the investment offering aligns to your needs as a DIY online investor.
  6. Do your own research. Investors all have varying levels of knowledge, and without a lot of experience, some investors can risk an approach that is akin to gambling. Look for the research and data you need to fully inform the decisions you make, rather than just going off a recommendation from family or friends. 

Dipping your toes into online investing doesn’t need to be intimidating. Some platforms offer quite affordable entry points to investing, so it's easy to make a start which can be modest, then build your confidence, knowledge, and portfolio from there.

Angela Vale is the incoming CEO of Flint Wealth, an online investment platform that helps everyday people become more informed investors.