Investments - getting started

Make a plan

We think saving and investing is easier if you have a plan. That means thinking what you really want to aim for and when, and working out how much you can set aside towards it - whether that’s saving for university fees or saving for your retirement.

Saving for a Goal

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Start early

The earlier you start investing, the better chance you’ll have of reaching your goal. The first year you invest you can only earn a potential return on the original investment. But the next year, you can earn a possible return not just on the original investment but also on any return you earned in the first year. So any return in one year can potentially generate return on itself the next. And so it carries on with a snowball effect that potentially compounds year on year. This means your money has the opportunity to grow faster and faster as the years go on so the earlier you start the better.

Choose the right investment for you

Everybody’s different and there are many investments to choose from so it’s important to get the right one for you. This will depend on how hands-on you are, how much risk you take, and how long you can invest for. If you’re saving for less than five years, there’s less time to recoup any losses so think about bank accounts or a cash ISA. But if you’re investing for the longer term, you’ve an opportunity to choose more risky investments, like company shares, for greater potential returns as you’re more able to ride out market ups and downs.

Embrace the market

Investing in company shares, or equities, means you effectively own part of a company, entitling you to a share of the company’s profits, both now and in the future. Over the long term, equities have outperformed many other types of investment (although past performance should not be used as a guide to future performance) and investing in equities can help protect you from inflation. This is because company profits tend to move in line with the cost of living over the long term. As with any investment the value of your fund can go up or down and may be worth less than what was paid in.

How to choose your investments

Stay the course

Investments can and do fall. It can be hard to keep your head at times like these but if you’re investing for the long term it can be ok. The value of your investments only really matters when you need to take money out as history tells us that markets recover over time.  So if you can stay the course you can hopefully ride out the storms. And before you approach the stage when you do need to take money out, that’s a good time to think about switching to more stable investments.

As with any investment, the value of your fund can go up or down and may be worth less than what you paid in.

Risk Questionnaire

Risk Questionnaire

Different investments offer different risk. What's your attitude to it?


"How much can I pay into a Stocks and Shares ISA during this tax year?"

"How much can I pay into a Stocks and Shares ISA during this tax year?"

For the 2014-15 tax year, you can invest up to £15,000 in a Stocks & Shares ISA. Your spouse or civil partner can invest the same, giving you a potential joint investment of £30,000.

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