How I started investing for the first time.

Sarah Beresford

How I started investing for the first time.

A guest blog from Sarah Beresford,

As someone who recoils from the very word ‘Pensions’, I wouldn’t say I was that switched on to looking after my finances! But I think it’s never too early to start investing.

I first had a go at investing when I was a student, at the joyful young age of 20 – those were the days! When others were spending their student loan on clubbing, I was busy buying Rail Track shares! I bought and sold these shares on the same day as they floated and made a healthy profit; well it felt like it for a student!

What made me do it? There had been so much publicity, I felt sufficiently able to make an informed decision. I also think that as a student, I felt I had nothing to lose – not having to pay a mortgage and all!  I needed more money, and this looked like a good way to do it and what’s more, I didn’t have to have that much to invest.

As I got older, I’ve continued to make investments. However, now, I’m more likely to look at my investments as a long-term project – with the aim of ensuring that my family and I are set up for the future.  We don’t have loads of spare money, so to ‘coin ‘a phrase, every penny counts.

When I’m looking at investing, here are a couple of things I consider:

  • The level of risk

o   As with most things in life, there is an element of risk with purchasing stocks and shares. I normally consider what is right for me at the time – is it buying individual shares, or looking at a managed portfolio.

o   Portfolios consist of shares and investments and are managed by financial professionals, hedge funds, banks and other financial institutions. They are designed with the level of risk that you as an investor are willing to take.

  • Long term investments can prove more profitable

o   Being impatient, I’m not one to naturally look for ‘long term’ investments. But what I have learnt is that jumping in and out of investments, can lead to missed opportunities and can earn you less.

o   Long-term investments are a commitment, so I’d recommend doing lots of your own research and homework into the market place.

o   If you have a lot riding on the investment, for example, you need it to pay for your son or daughter’s university fees, then I’d always refer to a financial expert. Put simply, I would worry that I’m just not experienced enough to make those more important financial investments; an adviser could point me in the right direction and ensure my investment is made as tax efficiently as possible.

  • Invest in industries you know

o   If looking at individual industries, I’ll tend to Invest in companies that I understand; that is, I will invest in industries that I’ve worked in.

o   As I am not an expert, investing in industries I know makes me feel more confident as I have a better understanding of how the market operates, and more of an idea of how the investment will perform.

More recently, I was fortunate enough to meet Richard Pipe, Director of Searchlight Investments.  And whilst I continue to research investments independently – as I like to feel I have some understanding -Richard uses his knowledge to provide retirement and investment guidance, considering areas that I might not have even thought of.

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