Free money? Not!
Get rich slowly with a high degree of certainty. That should be your objective. But it's not getting something for nothing.
- Investing is going to cost you something.
The whole concept is that you re-direct funds that you have in your hand today, from something that will be consumed and disappear, to something that will grow and multiply.
- Smart investing brings the maximum benefit over a given time frame per unit of input.
That means that with more aggressive investments there may be times along the way when the results are not evident. It also means that more conservative strategies are appropriate for shorter term objectives, even for high growth oriented investors.
- Risk is a part of investing.
That doesn't mean that an investment is a gamble. But it does mean that there are no guarantees of the results. Fortunately risk can be managed, and that's an important part of the role of a financial adviser. There is a balance betweeen risk and returns, and your advisor will seek to work out what the right balance is for you. There's no sense putting you into a super aggressive, high growth investment if you are going to bail out along the way, when it has experienced some reverses.
- Tax savings are not an end in themselves.
It's great to save tax if it can be converted into an ultimate benefit in achieving your financial objectives. It's the final net outcome that's important. Don't get sucked in by promises of tax deductions and end up in an investment that is fundamentally flawed. Again, your financial advisor is there to research investments and work out which are worthy of your investment.
Does investing have to hurt?
A balance in lifestyle ought to be the goal of most people. Not to be a miser, living like a pauper now for the sake of being wealthy 'one day.' And certainly not to spend like crazy for a short while, only to find yourself bankrupt and on the street in a few short years. How much better to live in disciplined comfort now, and see that lifestyle slowly grow as time goes on, sustainable for the long run.
Types of investments
Investments come in all different shapes and sizes, and each has its own characteristics. It's important to understand what those characteristics are, as they will make a lot of difference as to how effective the investment is in achieving your goals.
- Listed investments
Exchange traded funds
Listed investment companies
- Managed funds
Actively managed funds
- Investment bonds
How you structure your investments can make a lot of difference. The amount of tax you pay and how the investment is protected from certain types of risk can be very different depending on what structure is used.
- Direct investment holding
- Superannuation funds
Industry super funds
Retail super funds
Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs)
Sound complicated? That's why you need a financial adviser. Someone who knows investments and understands your needs. And strategies that work.
What is the best type of investment?
The best investment is the one that achieves your objectives, while allowing you to sleep at night!
Most often that is going to be a mixture of different investment classes. That's because it's common among all investment types to have times when they boom, and times when they languish. Investment returns may be more steady when you diversify, and achieving the objectives is likely to be more certain.
What is investment gearing?
Investment gearing involving using someone elses's capital to own investments. Most commonly that involves borrowing the money with a loan, but it can also be done by using warrants or options. Gearing will tend to multiply the returns, but when the returns are negative, large losses can occur. In general the gearing will increase volatility and risk.
Are capital protected products effective?
In seeking to deliver high growth potential with downside risk protection, capital protected investment products have been developed. Are they effective?
To a degree, yes, but it does come at a cost. Keep in mind our risk equation. High returns are associated with high risk. Lower the risk and you lower the returns.
A manager providing a capital protected product is not relying on his or her expertise to always pick investments that will not generate negative returns. Any growth investment will have negative returns from time to time, and no matter how we good we are at our research, the very best professional investors will occasionally get caught out. How does a manager protect the down side? Through derivatives. A common one would be stock options. He purchases an option for the right to sell a share at a specified price. Should the share price go below that, he can either sell the share or sell the option and limit the loss. However, those options cost money, and often they don't get used, expiring worthless. That's subtracting from the return, reducing the level of growth.
For some investors this type of protection is important for them to be able to sleep at night, being comfortable with their investments. But for others, the better approach is to simply select a diversified portfolio of investments appropriate to their investor profile, and ride through the ups and downs, experiencing significant growth over the long term.
What investment gives high growth with low risk?
Typically risk and expected return go together. High potential returns mean high risk. To get low risk, you normally have to sacrifice potential growth.
So, is there any way to beat that equation. To get high returns with low risk?
I'm tempted to leave it there, but think about it for a moment. Investment involves risk. King Solomon told us to cast our bread on the waters for it will return after many days. I think he was talking about sending out grain in ships for trade. That's risky. Then he said to give a portion to seven or eight. That might be seven or eight ships. One might sink, but if the others make it through, it could be well worthwhile. That's managing risk. Next he discusses rain. A farmer takes a risk when he plants his crop. He needs the right rain at the right time. Without it, it can be a failure. An expensive one. There are a few blokes out there right now that you could tell you all about that. Finally Solomon points us to an old tree in a field where crops should be planted. It's ready to fall over, but which way will it go? Wherever it falls crops will be damaged and difficult to harvest. It's tempting to sit back and do nothing. Wait. but Solomon tells us to plant all around it. We don't know which way it's going to go, but wherever it doesn't go can deliver a crop much greater than the little bit that is lost. He is managing risk, preparing for setbacks and investing for the future.
See the FAQ about capital protected products as a potential contradiction to my "No" answer above.
How do I get started?
Simply call 02 4905 0250, or complete the form on the Online Advice page.
Note that the information above is general advice only and does not take into account your own personal circumstances. That's another reason to give us a call and let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you.