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An investing checklist

  • 3 min reading time
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You have decided to invest and you’re ready to begin making your money work harder. Here’s a useful final checklist before you begin.

What you will learn

  • Whether you want to do it yourself or seek expert advice
  • What you can expect to pay
  • Whether you may have to pay tax
  • How you can protect yourself

If you have identified which investments you want to buy, here are four final questions to make sure you’re on the right track:

What’s your personal preference: online or face-to-face?

Ask yourself whether you prefer to deal with a person, or if online or telephone services are an easier way to invest.

If your investment plans are relatively straightforward, managing them yourself through an online platform can help you to learn about investing and build your confidence.

If you’re looking at more complex investments, talking to a professional financial adviser may be a better option.

How much are you prepared to pay?

Taking time to understand the costs involved in the different ways of buying and managing investments is important, as any additional charges will affect your overall returns. Management costs, dealing fees and transfer fees can all add up.

If you want to invest in funds, buying them direct from investment managers is the most expensive route, whereas online fund supermarkets could be cheaper.

Should you be paying tax?

Some investments offer tax benefits, for example on sustainable investments, while using a vehicle such as an ISA or pension can reduce your tax bill.

Tax on capital or income can add up, so if the sums you’re investing are high, speaking to a tax adviser may be a good idea.

The longer you invest for, the more time there is for compound interest to take effect. The logic behind buy and hold is that compounding returns during the good times more than compensates for what are usually brief market downturn.

How secure is your investment?

Make sure that any broker, financial adviser or investment company you use is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, which gives you the right to redress if you are not provided with an appropriate service.

Use your instinct, too. If an investment opportunity seems too good to be true – offering incredibly high returns for very little risk – it’s worth checking if it is genuine and legal. A good way to avoid this risk is to invest only in products offered by regulated financial services companies.

You can read more about how to buy investments here.

Risk notice

Any information provided should not be considered personal advice. Past performance is not a guide to future performance. You may not get back the full amount you invest. If you have any doubts about making your own investment decisions, seek financial advice. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. The information given is not intended to provide legal, tax or financial advice.

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Important legal information

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