What is the difference between saving and investing?
Cash savings are very low risk and low return, meaning you’re likely to get back what you put in, plus any interest and minus any fees. If you’re saving for a holiday or just a rainy day, you’d probably use a savings account like a cash ISA – that’s usually the best option for these goals, as you’ll need the money fairly soon and don’t want to get back less than you put in.
But if you’re saving for something that’s further in the future, like a house or retirement, then a cash savings account will struggle to keep up with inflation. This means that when you come to use the money, it may be worth less in real terms. If you’re looking to help protect your money from the risk of inflation, you need a strategy with higher growth potential, which is where investing comes in.
What are the risks of investing?
Investing involves a higher level of risk for the chance of higher returns, so the value of your investments will go up and down over time. It’s a long-term strategy – to give your investments the best chance of recovering any losses, you’ll need to stay invested.
All investment carries risk, but there are a wide range of investments that occupy different positions on the risk scale. For example, at the lower end are government bonds, a type of investment where you loan your money to a government and it is repaid with interest. At the top end of the scale are equities, which are also often called stocks or shares. Even within this category are many degrees of risk. Buying shares in big companies are lower risk than smaller companies, and developed markets, like Europe, are lower risk than emerging markets, like Mexico or Thailand.
At Click & Invest, there are five different strategies you can invest in, from low to high risk. The application process includes an assessment of your appetite for risk, which is one factor that will determine which strategy you invest in.
Should you save, invest, or both?
The strategy that’s best for you depends on your personal circumstances. To decide whether you should save, invest or both, there are a few questions you can ask yourself:
1. How much money do you have available to save or invest?
2. What are your financial goals?
3. How far in the future are they (more or less than three years)?
4. Are you willing to accept the possibility of losses for the chance of long-term growth?
5. If you were to lose money, would it affect your family or lifestyle?
When should you start investing?
As long as you understand that investing is a long-term strategy, there’s no bad time to get started. Some people try to ‘time the market’: investing as markets turn upwards to see an immediate uplift in the value of their investments. But because the markets are hard to predict, this tactic doesn’t always pay off.
If you’re serious about long-term growth, it’s better to think about ‘time in the market’, leaving your money invested, preferably for three years or more. While there will inevitably be fluctuations in the value of your investments, you would hope to see an overall increase. The most reliable way to grow your money is to start investing when you’re able, regularly pay into your investment account, and reinvest your returns.
What can Click & Invest offer?
If you would like to start investing, Click & Invest offers a straightforward, convenient and tax-efficient way to get started. An experienced team of experts will build a portfolio for you, scrutinising thousands of investment opportunities and selecting those that could add value over the long term. A team of investment managers will monitor market movements for you, and continuously align your portfolio to your financial goals and risk appetite. If you select a stocks and shares ISA, you’ll benefit from tax breaks on your investment returns.
A beginner’s five-step plan to investing:
1. Ask yourself the five questions listed above to help you decide if investing is the right strategy for you.
2. Choose how you want to invest – do you want to manage your own investments, or through an investment management service, like Click & Invest?
3. Determine the level of risk you’re comfortable with. At Click & Invest, you’ll complete a thorough questionnaire and receive a recommendation on a suitable strategy.
4. Create a portfolio of investments in line with your risk level. Click & Invest will build your globally diverse portfolio by selecting the best investments from tens of thousands available.
5. Monitor performance. Click & Invest continuously monitor the markets and rebalance your portfolio as needed.
For more information or to start investing visit ClickAndInvest.com
Remember that with any investment your capital is at risk so you could get back less than you invested. The tax advantages of ISAs may change in the future and depend on your individual circumstances. This article is not intended to constitute personal advice and no action should be taken, or not taken, on account of information provided.