How do I invest?
Most people invest through their pension or stocks and shares ISA. When you join your pension scheme or take out an ISA, you can then choose what you want to invest in. You’ll usually have a choice of investment funds, investing in lots of different types of investment or asset classes. Some investment funds invest in a ready-made mix of asset classes and may even let you choose the risk level you’re comfortable with to make it easier for you to choose.
Through your ISA or pension, you may even be able to invest directly in company shares or commodities like gold or coffee.
Get familiar with the basics in our video
Whether you’re saving for retirement, a child’s education or a dream holiday, the funds you invest in can make a big difference to how your savings grow.
When choosing which funds to invest in, it’s important that you understand what you need the outcome to be, and find the funds that can help you achieve your goals. For example, you should think about:
What do you need from your investment?
How much do you need your funds to grow to meet your saving needs?
What’s your risk appetite?
All investments carry some degree of investment risk, and may fall as well as rise. Generally speaking, riskier funds have better long-term growth potential than less risky funds, but they’re also more likely to fall in value.
Less risky funds are less likely to fall in value, but the downside is that they tend to grow more slowly.
In all cases the value of your investments can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invest.
So, you’ll need to work out the balance between risk and growth potential that’s right for you. You could take some financial advice to help you with this.
Do I need to invest long term or short term to reach my goals?
If you’re investing for the long-term, say ten years or more, you may be more prepared to weather some market ups and downs in the hope of achieving greater long-term returns. But if you need to access some, or all, of your money in the near term – for example – if you’re taking an income from your retirement savings – you’re likely to be more concerned about short-term falls.
Once you know your investment needs, the next step is to find the funds that best match them. Investing in a mix of different funds will mean you aren’t relying on the success of one region or investment type alone.
Fund factsheets and Key Investor Information Documents are a great place to start to find out about each fund. They'll tell you everything from what type of fund it is, how it's managed, its past performance and how much risk it takes. You can read these on your customer dashboard by selecting the fund you're interested in.
Please remember that the value of investments can fall as well as rise and you could get back less than you invest. So, if you’re at all unsure about what to invest in or would like to talk it through, you should get some financial advice or guidance.