These days, when it can be a real struggle to find well paying jobs and hold onto them, many people worry that they won’t ever be able to retire, but in fact, with the right plan, a comfortable retirement is within reach of most of us. The trick is to start saving early, budget carefully so that it’s always possible to save at least a bit, and develop a good plan that it’s possible to stick to. By making shrewd, long-term investments, it’s possible to turn small amounts of money into much larger ones over time, and it doesn’t have to be a confusing process – not with the right advice.
Building an investment portfolio
Making a success of investments over the long-term is all about building up a strong investment portfolio. This means balancing shares, bonds and other assets such as business or property equities in order to ensure stability, and offsetting higher risk, potentially high gain investments with low risk, slow but reliable ones. If this sounds complicated, there’s no need to worry, because there’s lots of material out there to help, such as the free guidebook 99 Tips from Ken Fisher. The author’s company, Fisher Investments, specializes in retirement planning but can help with all types of investment decisions. Once a savings account has reached a certain size, it makes sense to pay for professional support in investing it because of the extent to which this can boost returns. Over time, some investors move on to managing their portfolios themselves, but it’s much easier to do that successfully after a strong start.
The importance of research
One area in which professional investment firms have a big advantage is in research, where having a dedicated staff is a great help in keeping track of the markets, especially across different sectors and internationally. Business owners and entrepreneurs may already have the right skills to do this, together with a measure of expertise in at least one market sector, but other people will generally face a learning curve before they’re able to make good investments. It’s a good idea to spend time just watching or ‘fantasy betting’ before taking risks with real money. Any time spent doing this will quickly reveal that investments are more likely to be successful if careful research is done first, not just into the broader market but also into the individual companies in which shares are being considered, and into the key people working for them.
Leaving a legacy
Building up a strong investment portfolio isn’t just about providing income for oneself – it can also be about building a legacy for heirs. Everybody with children wants to pass on some financial advantage to them and as well managed portfolios only grow stronger over time they’re one of the best possible inheritances. There are advantageous tax allowances set up to make this process of passing on investments easier, so it’s well worth taking advice on how to take advantage of them, for instance by setting up a trust. A portfolio can enable the passing on of learning as well as assets, because it’s a great way to get children interested in financial matters as they grow up, thereby providing them with skills that will help them take better care of their personal finances and, should they wish, help them succeed as entrepreneurs.
Investing for retirement
Most people only become involved in investing in order to ensure they will have an income in retirement. This is where the advice of companies like Fisher Investments really comes in useful. It’s difficult to make a significant loss on long-term investments, and if they’re well chosen they can be very lucrative indeed. A diverse portfolio with plenty of slow ripening investments can provide extra security alongside traditional pension funds, and can offer more choice to its owner. Some people, for instance, choose to invest only in environmentally friendly businesses, and there are now well-balanced investment packages available to enable this. This is just one example of the sort of specialist fund available, and of course there are many different sectors to explore and different types of asset to consider.
For too long, investment has been considered something that only a small number of experts should get involved with. In reality it’s open to anyone who has managed to save up some money and is willing to learn. It offers a fantastic way to build for the future, to benefit oneself and one’s children.