The best investment strategy for you will depend on a number of factors. Here are some things to think about before you make a decision.

When are you likely to need your super?

This is one of the critical issues when you decide which option(s) you are going to invest in. All investments can produce negative returns from time to time, but higher-risk investments like shares tend to experience greater highs and lows. On the plus side, they also tend to produce higher returns in the long term. However, you need time to ride out the ups and downs. The closer you are to retirement or requiring your super, the more likely you are to prefer an option weighted towards lower-risk less-volatile investments like cash and bonds.

Consider the cost of living

Inflation (the cost of living) impacts on the buying power of your savings. If your money consistently earns less after tax than the rate of inflation, it won’t stretch as far even though its value is increasing.

Your personal feelings and knowledge about investing

Your level of risk tolerance will affect your investment choices. Some investors are content to ride out periods of negative returns believing that what goes down must come up. Others would find that situation stressful and prefer to opt for investments that offer lower average returns but with less volatility. If you have a high tolerance for risk, you are more likely to choose Growth. If you have a low tolerance for risk, you are likely to favour Conservative or Cash.

Remember, too, your risk tolerance is likely to change over time. That’s why it is a good idea to revisit your investment choices from time to time – say, every five years. Alternatively, you might like to choose our 'set and forget' option, UniSteps. UniSteps is a 'glide path' structure where the allocation to growth assets reduces over time. UniSteps uses three options – Growth, Balanced and Conservative – as building blocks to transition your savings from predominantly growth assets to predominantly income assets over time.

Your personal financial circumstances

Your strategy will also depend on your personal circumstances – for example, your age, when you intend to retire, how much you will need to live on, other investments you may have and the needs of your dependants.

Risk Profiler

Our Risk Profiler is a good place to start if you're not sure which investment option(s) to choose. It asks five easy questions and matches your risk/return profile with an investment option.

Check out the risk profiler [external link].

Seek professional advice

The information provided here is of a general nature only and is not intended as financial advice. It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Your manager, HR/payroll representative or superannuation officer can give you information about UniSaver, but they cannot give you financial advice. Before making financial or investment decisions, you may wish to contact a licensed financial advice provider.

The Financial Markets Authority website includes information on choosing and finding a financial adviser [external link]