How to start investing is always difficult for beginners. From stock trading to property investment and ISAs there are unlimited ways to invest your money.
Investing can come across as incredibly daunting and intimidating. If you are new to investing it can feel like there is an abundance of various confusing terms to learn, so where do you even start?
It doesn’t matter if you have a low budget, everyone has to start somewhere, and in reality, if you are new to investing it is advisable to learn the ropes with small amounts.
One of the biggest things to remember about investing is that there is never any guarantee that you will make any money. In fact, there is actually a substantial risk whenever you invest that, even if you are an expert, you might lose everything you’ve put in.
A strong investment might not necessarily mean one that provides a huge return on your money. It’s one that finds a perfect balance between risk and return. What is the difference between saving and investing? While they are both significantly different, you should view both saving and investing with a similar outlook. Look at investing is an opportunity to slowly and steadily grow your finances, rather than a get rich quick scheme or a side hustle.
For those who are new to investing it can seem tempting to put large sums of money into investments that offer high % returns, but the reality is that the higher the yield, the higher the risk.
However, there are a number of ways to protect yourself and to minimise the risk. That is the purpose of this guide, to help beginners find strong, reliable investments.
Finding the Right Types of Investment
There are a number of different types of investment available. Some of the most popular are the following:
- Stocks & Shares
- Investment Trusts
- Items that hold or grow in value such as Wine, Precious Metals and Collectors Items
- Lending & Crowdfunding Loans
But which one is right for you? Well the answer is all of them.
How to Build a Diversified Portfolio
One of the basics of investing is that you should never put all your eggs in one basket. You can increase your chances of getting high returns on investment and simultaneously protect yourself against risk by mixing up your investments.
This is known as risk spreading or diversifying your portfolio and is something you should consider doing. Diversifying requires you to divide up your investments and put them into not just different types of investment, but different companies and projects as well.
One strategy that is used by many amateur investors is to put multiple small amounts into high risk investments and then balance that out with safer or more reliable items, such as bonds.
The reliable return from bonds covers the potential loss from the high-risk investments. This means that you should only ever make money, and these returns will be high as you will be investing in riskier markets.
You can then bulk out your portfolio with long-term investments that are almost guarantee you strong yields in the future but might cost you in the short term. A good example of this is Residential property investments. While the property market might fluctuate, it is fairly safe to assume that after a certain period of time it will continuously provide a strong return on investment.
With this in mind however, you will obviously be banking a lot of your portfolio on your ‘safety net’ investments, therefore it is also good to invest in multiple of these, because even though Bonds and Property ISAs are fairly safe, they aren’t completely risk free.
Furthermore, these safety net investments should be through different investment companies and in different industries. This is because if you put all of your investments, or your core ones, in the same market and it collapses or significantly struggles, you are positioned to suffer a huge loss.
If you are new to investing many companies might take advantage of this to try and slip in some additional fees you shouldn’t be paying. Make sure you check what fee’s you are paying and why. Don’t be scared to ask questions or challenge things, but try to keep in mind that the cheapest choices are not always the best.
Stay up to date with any changes that might impact your fees and keep a record of everything, from emails to letters. Many investors will use online forums and websites to stay up to date with investing news, don’t be scared to join these and ask for tips or advice.
Watching Stocks – Should I Check my Portfolio?
Yes. Yes. Yes. Constantly keep and eye not just on your investments, but on the various markets that might impact their value. While you might hear stories about some guy whose great grandad bought him a bond for 50p decades ago that he cashed in for thousands of pounds, this is incredibly rare. Do not sit back and wait for your money to come rolling in. Many investment companies, specifically peer to peer business lending platforms often allow you to view everything online so you have no excuse for not staying up to date.
By keeping up to date, you can be ready to either invest further, or to back out. If you don’t pay attention to what is going on, you could be at risk to lose of the money you have invested.
Stay active. Be on the constant look out for ways you can grow or improve your investment portfolio. Read up on tips and tricks form other traders. Take some small risks and as your confidence grows start to take bigger ones.
Have an Exit Strategy
If things do go badly, you should always have a plan on how to take what you can and get out. Don’t be afraid to cash in your chips, just like anything, playing the investment game can make you greedy. Don’t let success go to your head or get sloppy. No matter how long you might have been doing it, continue doing research with the same vigour as when you first started.
Prior to investing, have a plan for what happens if any of your investments go bad. How are you going to cover your losses? Is it worth backing off and waiting for a change in market or changing completely? Emotions can play a huge part in poor decision making when investing. Formulate a plan, stick with it and remain as calm as you can no matter what is happening, then you’ll see success.