For most people, the only way to attain financial security is to save and invest over a long period of time. If you need to have your money work harder for you, then you need to start investing now.
Why investing makes sense?
There is an important difference between saving and investing. People usually save for short-term goals such as a new car, a vacation or to make improvements or repairs to their home. Saving for any of these reasons can help you achieve your desired goals. The point is that you will be saving money to spend it – this saved money will not be growing your wealth. However for long-term goals such as retirement or university education, it’s wise to consider investing in assets that have proven over time to have earned higher rates of return, such as stocks and bonds. Investing in the stock market allows you to potentially grow your money at a higher rate than a savings account. And if you can grow your money faster than a savings account can, you will have a lot more money for your various financial goals over time. However, there is no guarantee that these higher risk investments will perform for any given time period in the future as they have in the past. That’s why it’s recommended that you consider diversifying your investment money among different types of investments in order to reduce the risk.
Which investments should I choose?
You should seek professional advice to help you determine your current financial situation and personal goals. You have to decide what you want your investments to achieve. Are you investing for retirement, university education or to raise capital to start a small business? Your age, net worth, tolerance for risk and goals will determine what types of investments are the most appropriate in your financial situation.
What’s an investment portfolio?
It is the combination of more than one investment asset, such as stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, precious metals and international investments. How you construct a portfolio is important because different types of investments do better in different economic conditions. By diversifying your investments in a portfolio, you are more likely to reduce your risk and enhance potential return. A professional can also help you choose which asset classes to invest in and how much of your total portfolio to devote to a particular asset class.
What’s the best way to start investing?
There’s no one preferred way, but a very good way is to dollar-cost average. This means you invest a specific amount of money each month in mutual funds or other types of investments, regardless of whether the market is going up or down. This approach keeps you from trying to “time” the market: buying at its low and selling at its high. By diversifying and investing regularly, you are more likely to earn a reasonable return because most investment markets, over time, tend to rise in value.
Should I choose the “hottest” investments?
Remember, a hot investment today, may be a cold investment tomorrow. Avoid the fads and invest for the long term. Too often, people randomly pick out investments, for example they’ll choose a “hot” mutual fund they read about in a finance magazine or buy a piece of real estate that a friend recommended. But they have not considered if these investments are appropriate for their portfolio. For instance, a conservative portfolio might be made up of 60 percent bonds, 20 percent stocks and 20 percent cash, while a more aggressive portfolio might have 70 percent stocks, 20 percent bonds, 5 percent cash and 5 percent in real estate or precious metals. By following your guidelines, you’re less likely to get into trouble.
How to avoid investment scams?
One investment golden rule is, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” The second rule is, never invest dollars as a result of telephone calls. Always demand a detailed prospectus and other financial materials before making a decision, and refuse “buy now” sales pitches.
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