“If you aren’t thinking about owning a stock for 10 years, don’t even think about owning it for 10 minutes.” Warren Buffett, the third-richest person in the world, is clear about it; investing should be approached with a long-term vision and investments should be kept for a number of years. Why you ask? Remaining invested over the long-term has many benefits: not only does it give your money more time to flourish, it can also help you smooth out market bumps. If you’re ready to be in for the long haul, make sure you boost your journey with these nifty tips.
If you’ve decided to become a long-term investor, it’s important to learn to hold your nerve. Over the short-term, financial markets have ups and downs, and such movements can be stressful as well as scary. When markets go down, it’s common to see investors sell their investments to minimise their losses. But by doing so, they’re only making their losses real and they could be missing out on some of the best days if they’re uninvested when markets rebound. If you remain invested, your potential loss is just a number on your dashboard, and this figure, although frightening, could go in the other direction when markets start recovering. So instead of reacting to every market sneeze, try to keep calm, remember why you’ve joined the investing world in the first place and avoid making any emotional-driven decision.
Invest little and often
Investing over the long-term isn’t just about putting money in at the start and forgetting about it. If you want to maximise your investing journey, it could be wise to invest small sums regularly. That way, your plan keeps getting fed, giving your potential returns a chance to compound faster. What’s more, investing little and often means that there’s always money to buy cheap investments when markets are falling. What’s the point, you ask? If the value of these investments goes up when markets are recovering, you could be making many happy returns.
Think about tax
When it comes to investing, it’s always a good thing to consider tax as it will likely eat into your returns. In the UK, there are two main types of tax. If you receive any interest or dividends on your investments, you might need to pay Income Tax. Also, your overall profit could be subject to Capital Gains Tax. However, since 1986, it’s possible to help get these taxes out of the equation. With a Stocks and Shares ISA, you can invest up to £20,000 each year, and you don’t need to pay UK tax on any gains you make, meaning you get to keep more of your returns. So, if you want to make the most of your investment journey, consider investing tax-efficiently with a Stocks and Shares ISA.
As a long-term investor, it’s important to look at ways to mitigate risk. Something you can do to spread your investment risk is diversify. Put simply, by buying lots of types of investments (e.g. shares, bonds, property, and commodities (gold, corn)) and investing in many different markets (e.g. the UK’s FTSE 100, the US’s S&P 500, and Japan’s Nikkei 225), you’re less likely to lose everything. In fact, by diversifying your portfolio, poorly performing investments should be balanced out by others doing well.
Another good way to boost your investment journey is to get help. Investing can be time consuming and with our already-busy schedules, it can be hard to find enough time to build and manage our investment plan. Fortunately, when it comes to investing, you don’t have to be alone! There are many online services, including robo-investing platforms, that’ll accompany you throughout your adventure. With Wealthify, for example, all you need to do is choose how much to invest and the risk level that suits you. Our investment team will do the rest, from building a well-diversified portfolio on your behalf to adjusting your Plan if needed.
Keep expenses low
Whether you decide to pick your own investments or use an investment service, you can expect to pay fees and charges. These costs are directly taken from your total investment and just like tax, they’ll eat into your returns. As a result, it’s important to keep fees and charges to a minimum. There are many ways to do so. Firstly, avoid trading too often. Every time you buy or sell investments, you have to pay trading costs, and the more you trade, the higher these costs will be, and vice versa. Another effective way to keep expenses low is to shop around and compare the different options offered by similar investment services. Going for the cheapest fees makes sense, but it’s important not to compromise on the quality of the service. Sometimes, it’s better to pay a little bit more and benefit from a high-quality service.
Give your plan some space
If you’re investing over the long-term, try not to check your investment value too often. Remember that you’ve committed for a number of years, so give your plan the time it needs to grow. Checking each day how your investments are performing will only worry you and push you to act irrationally. So, give your plan some space and be patient, time should work its magic.
Review your risk tolerance
With long-term investing, it’s a good idea to review your risk tolerance from time to time. When you start investing, time is on your side and you can typically turn to higher-risk investments like shares. But as you approach the end of your journey, it’s worth looking at your risk level again and to avoid any nasty surprise, you might want to change your investment strategy and shift to lower-risk investment types, like government and corporate bonds.
The tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.
Please remember the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than invested.