So far, business activity in 2020 is picking up and optimism is high, but the key question that presents itself is: how do you take advantage of this present optimism to make profitable investment decisions?
To fully take advantage of the investment opportunities that are bound to present themselves, arming yourself with the right tools and ammunition will go a long way in getting you ahead of the pack. One such tool is creating an investment plan. Below are five simple pointers that will ensure your plan is on the right track.
- Determine your investment objectives - When coming up with an investment plan, you must have a main investment objective in mind. Three common ones are safety, income and growth. As a potential investor, you need to rank these in their order of importance to you. For instance, if you require money to sustain you in your retirement years, a constant stream of income may be your top priority. On the other hand, if you are still working and need to grow your investments, riskier investments that offer long-term growth are of the greatest importance. Once you have determined your main investment objective, you can create a plan that will help you achieve your goals.
- Come up with an investment strategy: An investment strategy is an approach that guides investment decisions based on your individual goals, risk tolerance and future capital needs. Investment strategies can differ greatly; from a rapid growth strategy that focuses on capital appreciation to a safety strategy whose priority is wealth protection. Choosing which strategy to employ is dependent on your individual investment objectives, risk tolerance, and liquidity needs. You may choose to work with an investment advisor for this step, who will help you design an investor policy statement that outlines the strategies the investment manager shall employ in order to achieve your goals.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket - Diversify your investments. Investing in different asset categories that are not positively correlated can help protect against significant losses, as no adverse occurrence will negatively affect all your investments to the same extent. In addition, asset allocation helps you to balance risk and reward, thereby enabling you to make enough returns to meet your goals. Unit trust funds such as money market funds are great for portfolio diversification because they require a low capital investment and offer competitive returns whilst still bearing low risk. Other options include equities and real estate.
- Let your money work for you - Regular investment every month grows your wealth, so your money is making money for you. To this end, have a diversified portfolio with a mix of growth investments in equities and alternative investments and income investments in fixed income solutions or structured products. Additionally, have a strategy that allows for regular top-ups to your investments. If you want to earn more money, make your money work for you.
- Pay off your high interest debt - There is no investment strategy that pays off as well as, or with less risk than merely paying off all high interest debt you may have. If you owe money on high interest credit cards, the wisest thing you can do under any market conditions is to pay off the balance in full as quickly as possible. Pay off credit cards and personal loans first to free up additional cash to save and invest.
That being said, adhering to an investment plan is never a walk in the park. It requires sacrifice, discipline and determination, and sometimes, it might help to have someone walk with you - a partner who will guide and show you the way; one who has your best interests at heart and you trust. A partner that will get your investments kicking again in 2020.