The record shows that over the long term you’re likely to earn potentially better returns by investing your money than saving it
Saving money can help meet relatively short term financial needs such as paying for a holiday, a family event or an unexpected bill. But saving does little to meet your long-term financial goals. With inflation at 2%+ and interest rates around 0.5% or less, money on deposit has no opportunity to grow: in fact, it’s reducing in value. That’s one of the reasons why people invest—they want their money to do more for them.
Where do you start?
When you invest—which does not always involve the stock market—you can expect your money to increase in value over the long-term, i.e.10 to 20 years. Unlike the savings account however, the chances are that the value of your investment will fluctuate; that’s the price you pay for the prospect of capital growth. As a rule of thumb, the higher the risk an investment offers, the higher the potential return (of course the opposite is also true). Fortunately, there are steps you can take to limit the amount of fluctuation your investment is exposed to.
Relatively few people invest directly in individual stocks and shares. Instead, they invest in funds managed by investment professionals. In a fund, your money is pooled with other investors’ monies. The fund manager then uses that money (capital) to invest in one or more ‘asset classes’—which are typically shares, bonds, gilts and cash. Apportioning capital to different types of investments, which are sometimes in different countries, helps ‘spread’ the investment risk. Incidentally, you don’t need a large lump sum to become an investor. If it suits you better you can invest on a monthly basis. Or you can do both
Is your investment portfolio in need of an overhaul?
When you first started investing, and depending how long ago that was, it’s likely that you would have diversified your investments across at least two asset classes. For example, you may have put more money in stocks and shares funds than in bond funds. But as you get older and/or closer to retirement, you might want to consider reducing the risk to your capital by switching the focus from equity investments to interest-based investments.
That’s the process of re-balancing. Although re-balancing usually involves liquidating some investments and buying others, it’s important to emphasise that the aim of re-balancing is to control risk, not to maximise performance. Ideally, you should aim to review your investments—including your ISAs — at least once a year to check that they remain in line with your goals and the degree of risk you are comfortable with.
We can help
Although investing in funds can be safer than investing in individual shares, some funds take more risks than others. That’s why people seek our help when deciding on investments. One of the most important parts of the decision-making process, involves your E & G advisor understanding your views about risk and return. (There is no ‘right or wrong’ amount of risk—it’s a personal decision.)
Your advisor will also take into account your long term financial goals, your age, the number of years you’re investing over and any other financial arrangements you may have. With that information, and drawing on our extensive investment research capabilities, your advisor will then construct an appropriate investment strategy and programme for you.
In all instances and irrespective of the funds involved, your advisor’s fundamental aim will be to maximise your returns while minimising the risks to your capital.
The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you can get back less than you originally invested.
Many people are attracted to stocks and shares ISAs because you don’t pay tax on the returns your investment make. Your advisor can set up a stocks and shares ISA for you. We can also help you with your Cash ISAs as well.
Stay in touch with your investments online
Our Personal Finance Portal enables you to monitor and manage your investments in one place, 24/7, via your desktop, mobile or tablet. As well as up-to-date valuations of your investments, you can see how other funds are performing, check out investment ideas and possibilities and set up fund ‘watchlists’. The portal is secure and password protected, and is the perfect place to store your confidential financial statements and policies.