Managing your investments
You don't have to spend all day in front of a computer screen following the markets, or read every word on the business pages to manage your own investments.
As with many things in life, the principles of managing your own investments are simple, but you'll need to work through a bit more detail to give yourself the best chance of success. We'll take you through the main points that you need to consider:
The first thing you need to consider is what you're investing for.
Are you looking for extra income in retirement, or are you looking to invest for something specific, for example a child's education or a career break? Your investment goals will play a large part in determining your investment strategy.
Another key factor is how much risk you're comfortable taking with your money.
When you've worked out a strategy, follow it, but review it regularly and when your circumstances change.
Having a mix of investments means that at any given time the better-performing ones can help offset those that aren't doing so well. You can help spread risk (this is called 'diversification') by investing in different asset classes (money market instruments, including cash, bonds, property and shares) and in different sectors or geographic regions.
Make sure your investments are as tax-efficient as possible
You can invest up to £11,520 this tax year (2013-2014) in a Stocks and Shares ISA and you won't pay any tax on the growth. You don't even have to declare your ISA investments on your tax return.
And when you invest into a pension, for every 80p you pay in, the taxman adds 20p. Higher and additional rate taxpayers can claim additional tax back via their tax return.
There's lots of information in the public domain about investments.
Fund factsheets, for example, will tell you what the fund's objective is, who manages it and how it has performed in the past (although of course this isn't a guarantee of how it will perform in the future).
It's important to have a clear idea about the objectives of the funds you're invested in, and review how they're performing against these objectives regularly. If they aren't meeting their objectives, it's relatively easy to move into other funds. If you're unsure whether or not it's suitable to move funds, you should speak to a financial adviser.
Important legal and regulator information
Laws and tax rules may change in the future. The information here is based on our understanding in April 2013.