To begin with, you should clearly understand that investing is simply about putting your money to work in a way that increases your income over time.
However, choosing the type of investment can become complex if you’re not clear on what you want to invest for, or don’t understand the difference between stocks, bonds, real estate, or mutual funds.
Every responsible investor will take the same initial steps: first, study the alternatives available, and then choose the one that is best suited to your needs.
Here are the first steps and questions you should answer to get your investment going in the right direction.
One of the first things is to find out what your investor profile is
Your personality and your investment profile are not always the same. Just because you’re shy doesn’t mean you’re too conservative to invest or enjoy extreme sports doesn’t necessarily make you an under investor.
There are hundreds of tests on the Internet that you can take to define your investment profile; start with this one offered by the Superintendence of Securities and Insurance (SVS).
Also take advantage of the questionnaires that many financial institutions offer their clients to answer to determine their profile.
The better you know what your risk level is regarding how your money will behave in an investment context, the better decision you will make.
Decide how much money you have to invest
Knowing exactly how much you have available to invest will allow you to put limits on possible losses and recognize true gains.
To know this amount, you must first organize your finances and know how much you are willing to invest in a given time.
In an investment, money will change in value, and this should not affect your personal finances. That’s why we recommend that you set aside water; the money you use for your expenses is not the same money you will save, nor is it the same money you will invest.
Finally, keep in mind that the money you have available for investment should cover all the associated costs and minimum requirements according to the financial product you choose.
Find out the minimum investment amounts, many times they are less than you imagine and everyone can invest.
Understands the basic concepts
Once you know what your profile is and you are clear about how much money you will use, you must know the two basic concepts of any investment: risk and return.
- What is risk?
It is the general concept associated with the fluctuations that surround the operations of an investment with respect to the expected values.
- What is profitability?
It is the capacity that the investment of your money has to generate profits.
A person who invests chooses between risk or return depending on his or her investment objective: to save money or to obtain a higher return.
There are two premises with which you must choose between investment alternatives of greater or lesser risk and return:
- If the risk conditions are the same, choose the investment that offers the highest return.
- If the return conditions are the same, opt for the one with the lowest risk.
When you are clear about these terms, you will understand more easily your investment alternatives such as:
- Mutual Funds
- Real estate funds
Set a goal
What do you want to save for? What is your investment goal? What are your terms for both? These are just some of the questions you should ask yourself to identify the reason why you are setting aside an amount of money to save or make a profit.
It’s a good idea to have a clear goal, which guides your financial planning and gives you heightened awareness of the imponderables that will arise along the way.
Choose the financial product that best suits you
This decision will influence your investment plan. The product you choose must fit your investment profile and financial need.
You may want to start slowly and safely, or you may want to seek profits more quickly and immediately. In order for you to make an informed decision, learn about the main differences between the most common savings and investment instruments on the market.
Always keep in mind that regardless of the instrument you choose, you should diversify; allocate different percentages or amounts of your money in different investment instruments, to reduce and control the risk of loss.
Develop an investment plan for a specific time
Do you know how long to invest? How often you want to make a profit? Will you be on the lookout all the time or will you see it indirectly? Do you prefer to leave it to an expert?
All these questions will allow you to plan your investment knowing exactly what you want, when and how.
Understand the associated costs
Any investment in financial instruments implies some kind of cost or associated payment. They usually consist of fees for holding and managing your money, but there are also maintenance costs and costs associated with risk that you may not always know exactly.
There are also the taxes you will have to pay when you redeem your earnings.
Be sure to check with the financial institution that you will be entrusting your money to find out what all these associated costs are and consider them part of your investment amount.
Starting to invest involves a set of uncertainties and unforeseen situations, which you must know how to deal with from the beginning.
That’s why you must decide on your objectives, define a financial plan, understand the costs and handle the basic concepts that will help you understand what your investment is about.
Be sure to ask questions and get informed before making a decision that makes you feel comfortable. The key is to start with manageable steps to get you on track.