Investment DOs and DON'Ts

DO use a financial advisor. Expert advice may well involve extra cost, but it can pay for itself many times over through better investment decisions that lead to improved long-term returns.

DON'T get emotionally attached to investments that have served you well in the past, but that are no longer performing well or are no longer suited to your needs.

 

DO make sure you understand your financial circumstances, your tolerance of risk, and your long-term needs and goals. If you don't, you are not very likely to put yourself in the financial position you want for the future.

DON'T buy at the top and sell at the bottom. Too many ordinary investors start putting money into the market when all the talk is about soaring values, only to sell when prices fall later.

DON'T try to time the markets, especially equity markets, by frequent short-term trading.

 

DO invest for the long term. The inevitable fluctuations of share and bond values, and of the funds that invest in them, matter less and less the longer you hold them, because the ups and downs even out over time.

DON'T rush into investments, whether in shares or funds, because you have been promised they will be “the next big thing”. If investment were that easy, everyone would be rich.

 

DO take advantage of cost averaging by making regular investments. Although markets move up and down, expensive investments you make when prices are high will be matched by cheap assets when prices are low.

DON'T put all your eggs in one basket. Diversification is the basis for successful investing. It may not seem appropriate when a particular asset class or area is climbing high and fast, but it won't always stay that way. Studies indicate that the main driver of long-term investment success is proper, broad-based asset allocation.

 

DO make sure you only invest in things you understand, and that you understand the basics of investing before going ahead. It makes no sense to invest money yourself or have other people do it for you without understanding how investment works and the kind of assets you can invest in.

DON'T make investments purely on the basis of their tax benefits. They are, without a doubt, an important factor in the ultimate net profit from your investments, but tax conditions can change over time and rob your chosen tax-optimised investments of their attractions.

DON'T pay too much attention to media headlines about successful – or less successful – investments. The media react more quickly now than ever before, but steady long-term growth tends not to make for exciting headlines.

 

DO review your investment strategy regularly, ideally with your investment advisor. People’s financial circumstances change over time, and so do their goals. Be open to the possibility of taking another approach if need be.

 

Updated on 11/07/11  
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