Are you a first-time investor? I’m not ashamed to admit that the thought of investing used to scare me because I was convinced it was something that only well-off people do. Namely, those who could afford to lose the money or had more than they knew what to do with.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this. However, over the years, my own mindset has begun to change as I’ve realised those with considerable wealth had that wealth because they dared to take the leap into investments.
My grandparents are my financial role models. Both came from very little, yet both made smart choices in life. My grandad is an example many more of us should follow: he invested his hard-earned cash in different places, helping him make a decent amount of money during his lifetime. He dedicated his time to researching different stock options and understanding how his investments would work for him.
In his later years, he advised me to take out ISAs and to get them for my children. He also put money into premium bonds and every month would excitedly report the returns he had made on his original investments.
I learnt from him that investing was not just for the wealthy or for ‘risk takers’ but was in fact for people like you and me. People that work hard and want their money to work equally as hard. And luckily, there are now way more ways to keep up with stock prices than poring over the Stocks and Shares page in the newspaper every single day!
Where should you start?
Investing in ISAs is a simple way for first-time investors to take the baby steps and start getting comfortable with the very idea of investing. It’s not an all-or-nothing approach: you can invest small amounts regularly or place in larger amounts less frequently. What you need to understand is that to get a good return you need to be prepared to put the money away for a longer period. It is definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme and it is not for those that need to keep dipping into their savings.
Another anecdote of how proactive my grandad was when he died my dad found an old share certificate buried in a drawer, which turned out to be the oldest our solicitor had ever seen. Remarkably, it was also cashed in and yielded a return. I know he would have loved that!
New to ISAs?
In your last-minute panicked Googling you will no doubt come across countless investment houses boasting about the “innovative” and “unique” features of their ISA product. But be very careful – Individual Savings Account is just a tax wrapper created by the government to help you with tax-efficient savings.
What you should really look out for are the fees (and by fees, I mean everything from joining and exit fees through to any additional charges on individual funds) and what you are getting in return. Is it regulated advice? What is the investment expertise based on? Has the company been around for long enough to understand what happens when stock markets experience volatility?
For example, UBS SmartWealth’s Stocks and Shares ISA lets you invest up to £20,000 in the tax year. Signing up to the world’s biggest wealth manager means you can rely on them to do the research and count on over 100 years of expertise to find a suitable combination of investments for you”. The digital investment service offers different strategies based on your attitude to risk, which is determined by an initial questionnaire in the 15-minute sign-up process.
Using platforms such as UBS SmartWealth to invest your money is a great way to get a holistic view of your family’s finances and allows you to start working towards your personal financial peace of mind.
Investing for your future
Money sitting in savings accounts in the bank generally gives you underwhelming results. If there are a lot of things you’ll need to achieve for your family and you are willing to accept added risk, investing is likely to help you.
You could want that money in the future to pay for your child’s university education, to buy property or even retire when you want to, not when the government tells you to.
My advice to you is that don’t think about investing as ‘giving your money away’ – it is simply another way to save money and grow it over time.
Just make sure to take advice from reputable companies that speak in plain English but equally, can demonstrate being backed by investment rigour – and then sit back and let your investment show you what it can achieve.
Important Information – The price and value of your investments and income derived from them can go down as well as up. You might not get back the amount you originally invested. This is a collaborative post with UBS Smartwealth.