A strong investment portfolio is one that promises a healthy, risk-based return to you and, as a result, a much better use for your money. Cultivating your investments, making the most of sound, expert advice, and consistently working to optimise your money represent the building blocks of a strong financial future and eventual retirement.
It is the ultimate antidote to managing a bank account that is a little too ‘well fed’ but, even now, plenty of people underutilise their investment portfolio. Whether they presume the risks are simply too high for them to consider, or that their finances aren’t ‘significant’ enough to warrant a string of strategic investments, the potential a stronger financial background is always there.
Seeking sound financial advice on how, when, and where to invest your money is one of the best ways out there to make the most of your money now, so that you can reap the rewards later.
What does it mean to invest?
The precise answer to that question will vary significantly from person to person. There is no one, universal type of investment, and certainly no ‘one size fits all’ approach to investing.
Ultimately, all investments can be characterised by the act of putting money into something – a scheme, enterprise, bond, etc – with the intention of generating a profit over the short- or long-term.
Risk plays a significant factor in distinguishing one type of investment from the next. Some, like cash ISAs, are often referred to as ‘risk free’, while stocks and shares ISAs do expose investors to the risk of loss. The level of risk any investor is prepared to take on will also vary significantly – and, while a high risk brings with it the potential for a strong profit, plenty of investors prefer to lower their sights and aim for a lower ROI for better chances of success.
Other, external factors can influence the level of risk involved, too. War and inflation can create a volatile market – although, often, this volatility is short-term.
As you can imagine, however, building an investment portfolio is a process that is best done gradually, and alongside someone with specific expertise in this area. Personalised advice based on your investor profile is worlds apart from the generic advice internet guides have to offer, and it could easily mean the difference between a strong ROI and a missed shot.
What is Your Investor Profile?
This is something we can work with you to identify, looking at aspects like your financial goals, your current finances, the length of time you’re willing to wait for a potential ROI, the sort of investment portfolio you’re hoping to build – and, of course, the level of risk you are willing to take on through your investments.
Your investor profile may evolve over the years, or it may stay largely the same; you may become more risk averse, or more willing to put your money out there. By working alongside an experienced financial advisor, you can cultivate your portfolio and understand your own investor profile better – and, ultimately, make the most of your money.
Our guide to key considerations you need to make before investing has even more information about this, if you’re ready to start sinking your teeth in.
How We Can Help
One of the most significant advantages to Individual Savings Accounts (ISA) is the fact that they provide a tax-free shelter for your money, although they are a little limiting for larger sums. At present, the maximum that can be saved by any individual is £20,000 – and that applies whether you are investing it all into one ISA, or across multiple accounts.
Using an ISA is relatively simple. Each tax year (prior to 5th April), you can make your investment into your ISA(s), then leave that investment to accrue interest for however long it remains within the account.
As mentioned above, two of the main types of ISA are Cash and Stocks & Shares, but there are also Lifetime (for under 40s) and Innovative Finance ISAs – all of which offer different benefits and different levels of risk.
Again, there is no ‘best’ type of ISA. The best thing you can do, however, is seek independent advice on which products are right for you, rather than limiting yourself to the restricted advice a bank or building society is prepared to offer.
A bond is, put simply, a loan (referred to as a principal) that you extend to another company or, at times, the government. As with any loan, the borrower will need to repay it to you with interest, meaning that, over the long-term, you will see a steady stream of income.
Bonds can also be purchased second-hand, allowing you to make money off the interest payments before ‘offloading’ it onto someone else.
The level of risk associated with a bond will vary depending on the institution. If it ends up going bankrupt, you won’t continue to receive payments on your bond; if it remains active, that line of income will continue until the principal is paid off. Some bonds are short-term while others run for much longer (and, generally, yield a higher reward) for the investor.
There are as many different types of bond out there as there are investors, so getting advice before jumping in is a must. Our status as 100% independent means that we can review the full spectrum of choices available to you before pointing you in the right direction.
Enterprise investment schemes
For smaller businesses, enterprise investment schemes (EIS) offer a strong option for generating a profit of up to £5 million per annum, with a ceiling of £12 million in the company’s lifetime.
EIS essentially allow you to offer tax relief to individuals who choose to invest into new shares. They can receive up to 30% income tax relief, and other benefits such as inheritance tax relief and capital gains deferral.
This can create highly mutually beneficial situations for small businesses and independent investors, but there are a number of restrictions and risks to contend with. We have a wealth of experience dealing with enterprise investment schemes from both sides of the coin.
Venture Capital Trusts are investments into small and/or fledgling businesses. Due to their relatively low status, they represent attractive investments – and stand to benefit a great deal from those investments, since they need capital in order to grow – and a strong potential for generating long-term profit for you. The obvious downside is, of course, the fact that they are unestablished and far more precariously positioned in the world of business than much larger, older firms.
VCTs also offer a range of tax benefits to investors, and they spread the risk over multiple small companies at once.
At Fingerprint Financial Planning, our advisors are passionate about providing independent and personalised advice to our clients – just one of the reasons why you should choose us. Making investments into the future is one of the best things we can do to work toward financial stability, and we can guide you through this process at a pace and level of risk you are most comfortable with.