For first time investors, investing can mean a lot of different things. We all have different mental images, from our parents studying the business section of the paper while chewing on a pencil, to someone wearing a power suit furiously scanning a scrolling feed on a computer screen, and it’s true that investing can vary wildly depending on what you want to get out of it.
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That fact is key, because your goals will dictate the experience you have. Are you looking to turn a big stake into an even bigger pay-out as quickly as possible? Or are you looking to take a little from your monthly salary and put it into a reliable, low-risk bond that delivers a little more than you’d have otherwise? With so many different methods, means, and results, it can be a little hard to get your head around at first, so here is a guide to everything you need to know about investment.
There are, of course, more exciting investment options for first-time investors out there and plenty of stocks and shares with bigger margins for profit, but the fact of the matter is that there are very few more dependable than the old-fashioned pension. There are excellent tax breaks for those investing in their pension scheme, and you can contribute as little as 1% of your monthly paycheck to that little beauty that will be ready and waiting for you when you retire. If you’ve got enough extra cash to think about investing but not enough right now to really get into it, a good pension scheme is always a good move in the long run.
If you know that you want to dip your toes into investing but aren’t really sure where to start, then it might the case that you don’t really want to be that caught up in the day to day management, the hunt for new stocks and the taking big chances. If that’s the case, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. In fact, there are plenty of platforms set up to help first time investors who want to take a very hands-off approach and just know that their money is working for them.
A robo-adviser is a platform which does most of the hard work for you, offering financial advice, and pointing you towards the kind of investments that fit your profile and declared goals. If you want the easy, mobile access of a robo-advisor but want to be more hands-on, the best investing apps offer all the live updates and easy-to-read overviews with the kind of control a veteran investor wants and needs. It’s always smart to do your research before committing to a platform but a search for investing apps for beginners may swamp you with too many options. A site like Optimized Portfolio has crunched the data and will help you find the right fit for you.
Putting together an investment portfolio can be a very simple process, and there are some easy templates out there that will keep you at a low level of risk. An important thing to remember are that putting all your financial eggs in one basket is not a great idea, but you shouldn’t diversify too much as you’ll only ever see very small rates of returns. If you find a balance that works for you, you’ll always be on top of your investments. If you’re just starting out, an all-weather portfolio is an excellent choice with a conservative spread of investments to make sure you’re covered in the event of market uncertainty. Remember: you can always make changes, and if something’s not working out: ditch it.
It goes without saying that investing in stocks is not without risk. You’re counting on the money you spend coming back to you with interest, but those big returns could be big losses if you’re not careful. If you’re just starting out, it’s worth remembering that the spur of the moment choices you make on your app or desktop have real consequences in your bank account. Sometimes that flashy opportunity that seems too good to be true is just a great way to lose a big chunk of your hard-earned cash.
If you’re being told to invest in a stock that doesn’t feel right to you, don’t. If you have an area of the market that you know well and feel comfortable in, stick with it.
As you grow more confident you’ll begin to find a technique that works for you, but until then, it’s important to remember that you’re in this for the long game, and chasing around after every new opportunity in a crazed rush is a sure-fire way to crash out early.
You’re going to see some fluctuation in your investments, and it won’t always be a straight line going up. However, a cool head is important, and you need to know the difference between a hiccup and a downward trajectory. Take the time to consider your options and think about employing the use of a broker if you want some expert advice.