Investment planning begins after you have taken into account your current and expected income level and have laid down your financial goals. The important aspects of investment planning are:
Capital growth versus regular incomeInvestors aiming at long-term goals focus on capital growth. A long-term investment seeks to allow you to tide over rough times without changing your plans. Stocks, mutual funds and real estate represent investment options for capital growth. On the other hand, if you're investing to meet a short-term goal or to give you a regular flow of funds to complement your present salary, you may wish to consider a strategy with income as the objective. These investments seek to generate a regular flow of income in the form of dividends (stocks) and interest and include fixed-income investments, such as bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs).
Every investment option represents a unique risk-return trade-off. Typically, more risky investments offer higher returns in order to make it worthwhile for investors to take on the additional risk. Investment planning should take into account an investor’s risk appetite, which depends on your current income level, savings, lifestyle and responsibilities.
Determine your investment profileThis can be done by considering your risk appetite. There are mainly four types of investment profiles:
Before you invest your money, it's important to identify and prioritize your financial goals, assess your risk tolerance and understand your investment options. A financial advisor can help you sort through your options and invest appropriately. Some questions to consider:
Once you’ve identified your investment goals, you can begin to create an investment strategy that best fits your lifestyle.
When it comes to investment strategies, working with a financial advisor can ease the process by helping you to:
Assess your financial situation.Create a clear picture of your current financial situation, including analyzing your investment timeframe and your risk tolerance.
Understand investing options.Make decisions that are right for you by gaining knowledge on different investment types and accounts.
Apply diversification.Invest in a variety of assets to distribute and help reduce risk.
Allocate your funds.Spread your investments among different asset categories, including stocks, bonds, cash and real estate, a process known as asset allocation. This also helps dilute risk.
Monitor your progress.Revisit and re-allocate your portfolio regularly to make sure your investments are still aligned with your current needs and future goals.
Consider tax implications.Be aware of tax advantages as well as tax consequences so you can avoid paying unnecessary fees.
There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. The payment of dividends is not guaranteed. Companies may reduce or eliminate the payment of dividends at any given time. Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
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