That is the question we are starting 2017 with. It is definitely not the existential problem that Shakespeare’s Hamlet put to himself, but I think it is a good place to start.
Many people, including the undersigned up to a while ago, are put off by investment. It sounds complex and too specialised compared to the good conventional term deposit account. Yet, once you start looking closer at the world of investments, and understand the fundamentals, it is not so scary to navigate your way around, especially when you have a financial advisor whom you can trust ready to dispel the myths and help you make informed decisions.
What should you consider before investing?
In the current economic scenario, where interest rates are still at record lows, if you choose to keep your money in a savings or current account, you may actually be losing out because of the impact of inflation. Investing in the markets may be an alternative. There are however, two elements that you must accept: The investment option is a long-term financial goal. There is an element of risk attached. It is important that you are aware of the different levels of risk, and choose the level you feel comfortable with.
What should you look out for before investing?
Planning and discipline are key attributes of any successful investor. Before investing, you should have a clear and well thought-out plan, which takes into account:
- What do you want to achieve from your investmment?
- For how long do you want to hold your investment?
- At what price would you be prepared to sell?
- There are generally transaction costs involved. What costs are you willing to pay?
- Finally, what level of risk are you prepared to take?
With a clear plan, you are in a better position to make logical decisions to improve your profit margin. On the other hand, if you do not have a plan, it is easier to get caught up in emotions and end up buying or selling at the wrong time.
With a disciplined approach, you are more likely to keep market movements into perspective, recognising the potential impact of risk and regularly rebalancing your portfolio. It is imperative to have an adequate cash pot, prior to investing in the markets. Unfortunately, life’s least predictable events tend to come with a big price tag attached to them. Therefore, it is not advisable to keep all your capital tied up, in case you need fast access to cash. Furthermore, it might take some time to redeem investments.