Few of us can truly say we have invested without making at least one of these investing mistakes along the way. Does “If I knew then what I know now…” sound familiar? With hindsight we would have done things differently so it’s good to share what some of the pitfalls are.1. One of the single biggest investing mistakes you can make is not investing at all — either that or to delaying investing until later. While not investing at all or waiting until later are big mistakes, investing before you are in the financial position to do so is another way to get it wrong. Firstly, get your financial situation in order before you start investing. Clean up any bad credit, pay off high interest loans and credit cards, and put away at least three months of living expenses in savings. Only then will you be in a position to start letting your money work for you.2. Using credit cards is the reverse to investing. Interest rates are high and this makes it harder to repay with the high interest payments adding to your balance. Do not invest until you have paid off your credit card.3. Avoid the temptation of the ‘hot’ investment tips that are supposed to make you get rich quickly. Temptation can be a scary thing and the temptation to run to the smoking hot and fashionable investment of the week is extremely high, so high in fact that many investors take to it like a month to a flame. If you don’t want to get burned, avoid ‘hot’ investment tips from your friends and use discipline as your number one investment strategy. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.4. Not allowing for market cycles and then getting panicked. As humans we are affected by optimism and pessimism, fear and greed. These emotions lead us to make irrational decisions about our money and sell when we should be buying — ‘invest in gloom, sell in boom’. If you are investing for the long term ignore the cycles.5. If you are investing for short term goals, such as buying a home there are certain investments you should avoid. Those that are affected by market cycles are one of them. This shows the importance of setting money goals and matching your investment to those goals.6. Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket. Invest in various types of investments for a diversified portfolio. Pick your investments carefully and understand what you are investing your money in. If an investment is too complicated to make sense to you it may be best to avoid it.7. A common mistake that many make is thinking that their investments in collectibles will really pay off one day. Your dusty collection of old bottles or your book collection may one day bring you some money but it’s unlikely. No doubt they will have brought you pleasure over time but don’t count on them being your savior for your retirement funding.In these scary times it is even more important to be vigilant and follow a strategy. Don’t forsake the strategy that you put in place just because markets have gone down. Use this time to make the most of buying low and keep focused on the long term. Learn from your past investing mistakes and don’t let fear make you repeat them.
The Stock market and share market are ideally suited for making huge money, but the amount of risk involved in those fields is certainly high. To minimise your risk and to protect your money, consider investing in funds. Though you cannot expect huge returns like stock or shares, you can definitely find good value for your money by investing in funds. Even with a small sum of money, you can protect it using funds. By consulting a professional money manager, you can decide your investment plan. Investing in funds is also a do-it-yourself task if you know the types of funds.Investment trustsInvestment trusts use your money along with the money of other investors to invest all the money across various shares. The best way to protect money while buying shares is to distribute the investment. When you invest in shares on your own, you have to invest at least £1000 a month to protect your investment. But, with investment trusts, you can invest £50 a month and get the same protection and benefits. Using investment trusts, you can expect your investment to grow even if the share price of companies reduces. The reduction in price of some company shares will be compensated by the increase in price of other shares. This policy allows you to invest your money across the globe in an indirect way. Your profits with investment funds depend on the fund manager you choose.Unit trustsBy buying unit trust, you are using your money to buy units in a fund. The value of the assets held by fund managers determines the price of a unit. When investors invest more money in funds, new units are created. The size of unit trust is never restricted and it can increase and decrease according to the demand. Investors buying units will have to pay a price called as offer price and investors selling units pay a different price called as bid price. The difference between these prices is called spread and it determines your profit. As unit trusts cannot be carried worldwide, a variation of unit trusts is now widely used for investing in funds.Investment companies with variable capital (ICVC)Just like unit trusts, you will be buying shares instead of units for investing in funds. These are also open ended and you hold shares of the fund manager. The variable price of unit trusts creates confusion and hence, in ICVC, there is only a single price that makes everything clear. You always know the exact amount you are paying. Using ICVC, it is possible to equate British in-line funds with other country funds.The investment trusts also function by market speculation. Sometimes, the price of the trust may be less than the value of the asset. In that case, the trusts will be sold at a discounted price. When investors find out that the price of these trusts will rise in the future, they will invest more in those trusts. For any type of investment, risks are involved because there is no guarantee that the fund manager will perform without errors. By carefully choosing your suitable investment type, you can reap benefits in the future.
The best time to invest in mutual funds is NOW. These investment packages do not go in and out of favor like stocks or gold or other investments do. They have been the investment of choice for everyday investors for a good 40 years, because they offer investors a wide array of opportunities…in good times and bad. Mutual funds are not an investment type or class like stocks and bonds, they are a way to invest in stocks and bonds. In fact, they are the simplest and best way for most folks to do so. When you invest in mutual funds, professional money managers manage a portfolio of stocks and/or bonds and/or money market securities for you. You simply own shares in a large collection of investments.The cost to you varies, but often amounts to about 1% a year for expenses, maybe 2% for stock funds. You don’t pay these costs directly to the fund company. These expenses are just deducted from the fund’s assets.Now, you might hear someone say that their mutual funds have been bad investments. Take such statements with a grain of salt. There are some losers out there, and some funds charge more than others for expenses. That having been said, statements like this are usually based on a misunderstanding of the nature of the investment. I’ll illustrate with a short story.In late 2007, Jack rolled $100,000 into an IRA, where his advisor had him invest in mutual funds. In March of 2009, you and some friends at an informal get-together are discussing how to invest, and Jack gives his opinion. “Don’t invest in mutual funds, they are bad investments”, he says. His friend Mike adds, “now is not a good time to invest in mutual funds, I just lost my shirt”. Jack agrees and announces that he just lost 50% in his funds.After hearing this exchange of opinions, you decide not to invest in mutual funds, at least not now. You plan to keep your money in the bank until you learn how to invest. Now, here’s the rest of the story. Jack’s financial planner put all $100,000 into stock funds, because Jack already had money in annuities and bond funds, and wanted higher returns. The financial crisis of 2008 and early 2009 sent stock prices in general down about 50%. Jack owned a variety of stock funds, and lost about 50% as well. Stocks were the bad investment, not mutual funds. Had Jack been in bond funds or money market funds, he’d not taken those losses. Mike must have been in stock funds as well. Either that, or he was repeating something he’d heard at another party. Now is always a good time to invest in mutual funds, if you know how to select funds that are appropriate to your needs. Better yet, learn how to invest and put together a balanced portfolio of mutual funds.The alternative is to manage your own investment portfolio of individual stocks and bonds. This is out of the question for folks who have not the knowledge, experience nor inclination to do so.When you invest in mutual funds, professionals deal with the investment selection and timing issues for you. They manage the investment portfolio, and it’s all wrapped up in a package called a mutual fund. You need only pick the package(s) that’s right for you. Now is always a good time to shop for mutual funds, and a good time to learn how to invest in them.