Reviewing your needs and goals

Take the time to think about what you really want from your investments

The sooner you start investing, the better off you will be. This is a simple truth, and it is based on the fact that even the most conservative investments grow on a compound basis.

Investment objectives – a lifelong process

Protecting your wealth from market ups and downs

If you’ve got a sufficient amount of money in your cash savings account – enough to cover you for at least six months – and you want to see your money grow over the long term, then you should consider investing some of it.

Understanding investment risk

Making informed decisions to improve your chances of achieving your financial goals

Your investment time frame will determine your risk profile to some extent, as this has a direct bearing on your capacity to take risk. Risk capacity is also influenced by factors such as your age, wealth, and the goals you are saving and investing for. Your capacity for risk is likely to change over the course of your life as your personal circumstances change.

Maintaining a diversified portfolio

Spreading risk between different kinds of investments

When you start investing, or even if you are a sophisticated investor, one of the most important tools available is diversification. Whether the market is bullish or bearish, maintaining a diversified portfolio is essential to any long-term investment strategy.

Ethical saving and investing

Making the world a better place

Whether it’s termed ethical, responsible or sustainable investing, the aim is generally the same. It’s investing your money in businesses which have some intention of making the world a better place. In the past, ethical investing was the only option if you wanted to invest in companies aligned to your values. But this ‘good money’ sector has moved on a lot in recent years.

Investing in a fund

Making investment decisions on behalf of the investor

There are many reasons to invest through a fund, rather than buying assets on your own. At a basic level, investing in a fund means having a fund manager make investment decisions on behalf of the investor.

Pooled investment funds

Combining sums of money from many people into a large fund spread across many investments

Pooled investment funds – also known as ‘collective investment schemes’ – are a way of combining sums of money from many people into a large fund spread across many investments and managed by a professional fund manager.

Tracker funds and exchange traded funds

Market index following the overall performance of a selection of investments

Tracker funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are investments that aim to mirror the performance of a market index. A market index follows the overall performance of a selection of investments. The FTSE 100 is an example of a market index – it includes the 100 companies with the largest value on the London Stock Exchange.

With-profits funds

Stock market return linked but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares

If you save regularly or invest a lump sum using a life insurance policy, you might choose to invest in a with-profits fund. These aim to give you a return linked to the stock market but with fewer ups and downs than investing directly in shares. However, they are complex and are not as popular a form of investing as they used to be.

Investment trusts

Public company aiming to make money by investing in other companies

An investment trust is a public company that raises money by selling shares to investors, and then pools that money to buy and sell a wide range of shares and assets. Different investment trusts will have different aims and different mixes of investments.