5 tips to help you be more confident about your financial future

1 Always have some money that you can access easily and quickly for emergencies, before looking to invest for the longer term. It’s reassuring to know you’ve got money set aside to cover your rent, mortgage, food and utilities for a number of months.

Is there room for any further disappointment?

Europe has suffered a stream of destabilising news this year. Firstly, there was January’s emerging markets crisis, which slowed the demand for European exports. Then there were EU parliamentary elections in May, which returned a large number of anti-establishment MEPs to Brussels and spurred David Cameron’s attempt to block the appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker as EU president.

Significant challenges for investors this year and beyond

In the first half of the year, geo-political unrest has dominated the headlines. There have been significant challenges for investors in recent months – geo-political upheavals, economic growth and monetary policy. Once the summer is out of the way, the attention will turn to domestic political uncertainty.

Why the days of ultra-low interest rates look numbered

Inflation figures recently showed a sharper than expected drop in prices, cementing expectations that any rise in interest rates would be delayed until next year.

Have you taken advantage of your larger tax-efficient allowance?

The new Individual Savings Account (ISA) rules were introduced in July, giving savers and investors more flexibility and a larger tax-efficient allowance than ever before. Four out of ten people told the consumer organisation Which? that they would save more as a result of the annual limit increasing to £15,000, up from £11,880.

Expanding and contracting in response to demand

Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) are stock market–quoted collective investment schemes. Like investment trusts and unit trusts, they invest in a variety of assets to generate a return for investors. They share certain similarities with both investment trusts and unit trusts, but there are also key differences.

Acting in the investorsí best interests at all times

Open-ended investment funds are often called ‘collective investment schemes’ and are run by fund management companies. There are many different types of fund.

Investing in one or more asset classes

Investing in funds provides a simple and effective method of diversification. Because your money is pooled together with that of other investors, each fund is large enough to diversify across hundreds and even thousands of individual companies and assets. A pooled (or collective) investment is a fund into which many people put their money, which is then invested in one or more asset classes by a fund manager.

A time-tested method for controlling risk over time

It’s natural to be looking for ways to smooth out your portfolio’s returns. Investing regularly can smooth out market highs and lows over time. In a fluctuating market, a strategy known as ‘pound-cost averaging’ can help smooth out the effect of market changes on the value of your investment and is one way to achieve some peace of mind through this simple, time-tested method for controlling risk over time.

Remember your reasons for investing in the first place

Stock markets can be unpredictable. They move frequently – and sometimes sharply – in both directions. It is important to take a long-term view (typically ten years or more) and remember your reasons for investing in the first place.

One of the most important investment decisions you ever make

How you choose to allocate your wealth between different asset classes will be one of the most important investment decisions you ever make. Asset allocation can account for the majority of your portfolio returns over the long term, so it’s essential that you achieve the right balance of cash, fixed income, equities and property in your portfolio.

Protecting your money from adverse market conditions

Today’s markets are as uncertain as ever. But there is one certainty – the future is coming. It may no longer be enough to simply preserve what you have today; you also have to build what you will need for tomorrow. When deciding whether to invest, it is important that any investment vehicle matches your feelings and preferences in relation to investment risk and return.

Generalisation groupings should be viewed with caution

Investors like to sort things into neat categories; it helps make sense of a highly complex world. Categories like ‘Emerging Markets’, ‘BRICs’ – Brazil, Russia, India, China – and the ‘Fragile Five’ have all been invented as easy-to-understand groupings of supposedly similar countries. Yet we have to be careful of such generalisations, because the more research you do, the more you realise that there are often more differences than similarities between these groupings.

Understanding asset classes


This involves putting your money into a savings account, with a bank, building society or credit union. Your money may not hold its spending power if inflation is higher than the interest rate. Cash is the most basic of all investment forms. Saving money into a deposit account with a bank, building society or credit union is considered cash saving. Cash can be used to save for immediate needs or as a parking place in-between investing in other assets.

Allow your lifestyle to dictate your investment approach

To make the most of your investment opportunities, allow your lifestyle and not stock market fluctuations to dictate your investment approach. Your goals are what count, so keep them firmly in mind when you make financial decisions.