Your investment portfolio should consist of products that match your needs and work towards achieving your goals. But how do you determine which products are suitable for you?
Mentioned below are a few factors that can help you find the right type of investment.
According to experts, there is a direct correlation between the risk associated with an investment and the returns it provides. Generally, higher the risk, higher is the potential return. However, different investors have different risk taking ability, according to their financial condition and preferences. It is essential to assess the level of risk you can take before selecting any instruments for investment. Once you know your risk taking ability, you can choose from a variety of options available for that risk type. For instance, high risk investments include equity investments, while moderate and low risk instruments include fixed income investment options like fixed deposits.
One of the most important factors to consider while investing is your age. When it comes to investing, being young is an advantage. This is because you have more disposable income, not many responsibilities, a higher risk taking ability, and can wait for a longer period for an investment to bear fruits. As you grow older, you will have to take into account different factors like responsibilities, retirement planning, etc. In addition, you will have lesser time for your investments to provide returns. Hence, your ideal investment instruments change according to your age.
Before you put money in any instrument, it is essential to determine your investment objective. If your goal is simply keeping your money safe, you can choose investment options like fixed deposits or bonds that may provide moderate returns. However, if you are looking for higher profits and do not mind taking some risk, you can invest in shares or mutual funds.
Understanding of financial products
A variety of financial products provide many benefits today; however, they are complicated in nature. It is crucial to understand these products before adding them to your portfolio. Knowing the intricacies of the products will ensure that they not only meet your needs, but also provide higher profitability. For instance, if you are looking for only life cover, a term life insurance, which comes at a lower cost, is sufficient. However, if you are looking for returns with the coverage, you need money-back or endowment policies, which cost a little more.
Draw a personal financial roadmap.
Before you make any investing decision, sit down and take an honest look at your entire financial situation — especially if you’ve never made a financial plan before.
The first step to successful investing is figuring out your goals and risk tolerance – either on your own or with the help of a financial professional. There is no guarantee that you’ll make money from your investments. But if you get the facts about saving and investing and follow through with an intelligent plan, you should be able to gain financial security over the years and enjoy the benefits of managing your money.
Evaluate your comfort zone in taking on risk.
All investments involve some degree of risk. If you intend to purchase securities – such as stocks, bonds, or mutual funds – it’s important that you understand before you invest that you could lose some or all of your money. Unlike deposits at FDIC-insured banks and NCUA-insured credit unions, the money you invest in securities typically is not federally insured. You could lose your principal, which is the amount you’ve invested. That’s true even if you purchase your investments through a bank.
The reward for taking on risk is the potential for a greater investment return. If you have a financial goal with a long time horizon, you are likely to make more money by carefully investing in asset categories with greater risk, like stocks or bonds, rather than restricting your investments to assets with less risk, like cash equivalents. On the other hand, investing solely in cash investments may be appropriate for short-term financial goals. The principal concern for individuals investing in cash equivalents is inflation risk, which is the risk that inflation will outpace and erode returns over time.
Consider an appropriate mix of investments.
By including asset categories with investment returns that move up and down under different market conditions within a portfolio, an investor can help protect against significant losses. Historically, the returns of the three major asset categories – stocks, bonds, and cash – have not moved up and down at the same time. Market conditions that cause one asset category to do well often cause another asset category to have average or poor returns. By investing in more than one asset category, you’ll reduce the risk that you’ll lose money and your portfolio’s overall investment returns will have a smoother ride. If one asset category’s investment return falls, you’ll be in a position to counteract your losses in that asset category with better investment returns in another asset category.
In addition, asset allocation is important because it has major impact on whether you will meet your financial goal. If you don’t include enough risk in your portfolio, your investments may not earn a large enough return to meet your goal. For example, if you are saving for a long-term goal, such as retirement or college, most financial experts agree that you will likely need to include at least some stock or stock mutual funds in your portfolio.
Be careful if investing heavily in shares of employer’s stock or any individual stock.
One of the most important ways to lessen the risks of investing is to diversify your investments. It’s common sense: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. By picking the right group of investments within an asset category, you may be able to limit your losses and reduce the fluctuations of investment returns without sacrificing too much potential gain.
You’ll be exposed to significant investment risk if you invest heavily in shares of your employer’s stock or any individual stock. If that stock does poorly or the company goes bankrupt, you’ll probably lose a lot of money (and perhaps your job).
Create and maintain an emergency fund.
Most smart investors put enough money in a savings product to cover an emergency, like sudden unemployment. Some make sure they have up to six months of their income in savings so that they know it will absolutely be there for them when they need it.
Pay off high interest credit card debt.
There is no investment strategy anywhere that pays off as well as, or with less risk than, merely paying off all high interest debt you may have. If you owe money on high interest credit cards, the wisest thing you can do under any market conditions is to pay off the balance in full as quickly as possible.
Consider rupee cost averaging.
Through the investment strategy known as “rupee cost averaging,” you can protect yourself from the risk of investing all of your money at the wrong time by following a consistent pattern of adding new money to your investment over a long period of time. By making regular investments with the same amount of money each time, you will buy more of an investment when its price is low and less of the investment when its price is high. Individuals that typically make a lump-sum contribution to an individual retirement account either at the end of the calendar year or in early April may want to consider “rupee cost averaging” as an investment strategy, especially in a volatile market.
Consider re balancing portfolio occasionally.
Re balancing is bringing your portfolio back to your original asset allocation mix. By re balancing, you’ll ensure that your portfolio does not overemphasize one or more asset categories, and you’ll return your portfolio to a comfortable level of risk.
You can rebalance your portfolio based either on the calendar or on your investments. Many financial experts recommend that investors rebalance their portfolios on a regular time interval, such as every six or twelve months. The advantage of this method is that the calendar is a reminder of when you should consider rebalancing. Others recommend rebalancing only when the relative weight of an asset class increases or decreases more than a certain percentage that you’ve identified in advance. The advantage of this method is that your investments tell you when to rebalance. In either case, rebalancing tends to work best when done on a relatively infrequent basis.
Avoid circumstances that can lead to fraud.
Scam artists read the headlines, too. Often, they’ll use a highly publicized news item to lure potential investors and make their “opportunity” sound more legitimate. The SEC recommends that you ask questions and check out the answers with an unbiased source before you invest. Always take your time and talk to trusted friends and family members before investing.
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