The 5 simple principles for profitable investing

Updates, Updates, updates, that’s what I am lacking here, really don’t know whats happening, been slipping off the days doing utterly nothing I guess hence the no updates, typical day of mua,

Wake up – Go work – Lunch – Work – Back from work – Run or Bike – Dinner – Sleep – Cycle starts again … come on .. is that really what lifes about ? I really wonder… knowing what is happening around the World, life is just too short for that cycle to be repeating itself, take for instant the Tsunami, the Earthquake, the natural disasters that is going on around the world, life is as fragile as it gets, who knows you have been working all your life saving the millions you got and you just lay dead the next day, then you look at yourself from Heaven saying to yourself dang I should have blew the millions on my family and myself, should have enjoyed life and see the World abit, and maybe just have enough to live off, but it’s all too late, you are in Heaven, …. Think about it.. is that what is going to happen to yourself? Have you asked yourself what have you been looking forward to? Driving a new car? Having the latest line of bag collection ? or just simple things like going out with your kid on a road trip talking crap and eating junk food.. well I better stop here and really blog what I wanted to blog, found this interesting article again on investing, I didn’t get investment knowledge till I was in my late teens, and it was self thought mind you, it’s just too late in my opinion but never too late for anything just that it’s going to be lesser than what it actually is, so start young and START !

If you have kids really, I suggest you teach them the principles of investing, types of investment, anything that will teach them to be prudent when it comes to spending money. After all it is your money they are spending.

Five simple principles for profitable investing

These days, the increasing complexity of the financial system raises the question of how to invest safely.

Here are five simple principles that will help make investing a rewarding experience:

1. Start early

One of the keys to sound investing is to begin early in life. Like other routines, money management becomes a habit over time, and it is important that savings are put aside every month and invested.

Starting early also puts into play a very powerful force – the compounding effect. Simply put, if your money doubles every five years and you save Bt5,000 (S$209) for 10 years, you will get Bt20,000 (S$836) after 10 years.

The same amount of money saved for 30 years will yield Bt320,000 (S$13,382). That is the power of compounding!

2. Assess your risk appetite

It is very important to assess in advance your tolerance for positive and negative movements in your portfolio.

There is no one way of doing this. Some people prefer to use time as a yardstick. The rule of thumb is that the longer the investment horizon, the more risk you can take.

For instance, if you are investing only for two-three years, you may want to look at less risky assets like money market funds or bond funds. If you are looking to invest for over five years, you may invest in equities or equity funds.

Time horizon is, however, not the only yardstick for risk appetite – there are many more – and therefore, it is always a good idea to use a reputable financial advisor to detail your risk appetite.

Another way of investing is to use the “pot of money” method where the end use of money invested is the basis of deciding the risk you take. For instance, the amount of risk you would take for the pot of money reserved for your kids education would be very different from the risk you take on the pot of money you are saving for a luxury car.

3. Diversify your investments

Diversification is essential to reduce the risk of your overall portfolio.

The more financial instruments that you have in your portfolio, the less the impact underperformance by any single investment will have on your portfolio.

However, investors are also advised to keep it simple – too much diversification can make the portfolio very complicated and difficult to manage, particularly if the investor is doing the investing themselves.

4. Dollar cost averaging

It is good practice to invest or save a predetermined amount of money at a predetermined frequency regardless of the market conditions or one’s own view of the financial markets.

Investing your savings on a continuous basis, instead of one lump sum investment, will allow your investment cost to be averaged out over time. It will allow you to ride out market volatility over the long term.

However, “buy and hold” using dollar-cost averaging is no substitute for common sense and will only minimise – not eliminate – downside risk.

5. Review and rebalance your portfolio

Finally, it is very important to review and rebalance your portfolio, especially if you are investing for the long term. This is necessary, as over time your priorities may change, your risk appetite may change, or the risk associated with your investment may change.

Market movements may alter the risk associated with your portfolio. Evaluation and fine-tuning of your portfolio will ensure that your portfolio characteristics continue to be aligned with your desired risk-return profile.

Finally, I would recommend the services of a good financial adviser as a valuable asset, even for sophisticated investors.

A good financial advisor can help you navigate the five steps mentioned above and help maximise the potential of your portfolio.

Vikram Issar is senior executive vice president of Consumer Banking at Standard Chartered Bank (Thai).

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