Investment objectives

The sooner you start, the better off you may be in the long run

A lifestyle financial plan has no value unless it is properly implemented through an appropriate goal-based investment strategy. 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.

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What next for stock markets?

Getting to grips with the fallout from the coronavirus

Understanding the interaction between volatility and returns is a fundamental part of being a good goal-based investor. This is especially important at times such as now, when we’ve seen daily sizeable swings in market values as global markets try to get to grips with the fallout from the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

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Let time do its work

Focusing on long-term horizons

Fear and worry are understandable, particularly as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak led to the biggest daily drop in the FTSE 100 since the financial crisis. Trying to second-guess the impact of events such as the coronavirus or the recent stock market volatility – or even attempting to make a bet on them – rarely pays off. Instead, investors who focus on long-term horizons – at least five to ten years – have historically fared much better.

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Understanding risk

How much risk are you willing to take?

If you want to plan for your financial future, it helps to understand risk. If you understand the risks associated with investing and you know how much risk you are comfortable taking, you can make informed decisions and improve your chances of achieving your goals.

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Ever-changing market conditions

Types of investments that best align with your financial goals

Without a plan, investors are prone to making knee-jerk reactions when there are swings in the market. A well-thought-out investment strategy provides the guidance needed to help you stay on track when inevitable market fluctuation occurs. It can also point you toward the types of investments that best align with your financial goals.

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Investing across multiple asset classes

Adapting to changing market conditions for a better overall experience

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. It’s crucial if you’re looking to reduce risk and improve your overall portfolio returns.

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Naturally spread risk

Incorporating a wide range of different assets

Understanding investment risk and determining what level of risk you feel comfortable with before you invest is an important part of the investment decision process. Your potential returns available from different kinds of investment, and the risks involved, change over time as a result of economic, political and regulatory developments, as well as a host of other factors.

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Avoid the pitfalls of market timing

Don’t become distracted by short-term volatility

Trying to navigate the ups and downs of market returns, investors seem to naturally want to jump in at the lows and cash out at the highs. But no one can predict when those will occur. Fortunately, there are a number of time-tested strategies that may help you deal with market volatility. Two of the most prevalent are: invest for the long term, and maintain realistic performance expectations when it comes to returns.

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Wide range of investment opportunities

Mitigating some of the risk that individual investors take on

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. There are many types of investment, each one having its own stated goals and objectives.

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Pound cost averaging

Smoothing out the ups and downs of the market

Pound cost averaging is a technique that reduces exposure to falling markets from investing a lump sum. Investing at regular intervals can be a good idea to help smooth out the ups and downs of the market. Timing the exact moment to enter or leave the market can be extremely difficult and investors inherently run the risk of investing at the top of a market cycle, or exiting at the bottom.

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