If you’re new to the world of investing, or perhaps looking to sharpen up your portfolio, it’s well worth taking the time to develop a solid strategy that’s unique to your goals. But how on earth do you do that?
In this article, I’ll explain what an investment strategy is, why it’s important to have one, and some simple steps for you to create your own plan.
Keep reading for a total explanation or click on a link below to jump straight to a section…
- What is an investing strategy?
- Why it’s important to have one
- What is a good strategy?
- 5 steps to create your own strategy
- Everything else you should know about investment plans
This is a blueprint you can use to guide your investing decisions at the beginning and throughout your time as an investor.
It can be an actual plan, or simply some guiding principles for you to refer to.
The key factors that normally play a big part in the development of your strategy are usually:
- Time horizon
- Risk tolerance
- Financial knowledge
Having a solid investing strategy is very helpful when you’re starting your investment journey. But, it can also be extremely useful throughout your entire time investing.
A solid plan can act like a compass as you navigate the market and make decisions. If you stray too far from your original course, you can go back to your original strategy to help steer you back in the right direction.
Of course, your strategy may change over time. How you choose to invest in your 20s and 30s may not apply in your 50s or 60s.
So it’s not about being rigid. But it is about being intentional. Unless there’s been a change in your life or mindset, it’s really useful to have a plan.
This will allow you to make better decisions about what to invest in.
Gradually, you’ll get a better understanding of the types of assets that do and don’t fit in with the rest of your investment portfolio.
So, you’ll become more efficient with your investing decisions. And, it will reduce the odds of you making silly mistakes or impulse-buying the wrong kind of investments.
This will really come down to your own situation and preferences.
There are ‘model’ investing strategies that are designed for people at various stages in life.
But in truth, your strategy will be unique to you.
What works best will depend on your circumstances and what you actually hope to achieve with your investments.
Some people will just be looking to protect or maintain wealth, whereas other may be more aggressive in an attempt to build a decent pot of money.
There’s no right answer or perfect portfolio strategy. The best thing you can do is make sure you have a thorough understanding of your own needs and desires.
If you understand yourself, and what you want to get out of your investments, it becomes much easier to create an investing strategy. One that you will stick to, and allows you to reach your goals.
Here are some straightforward steps you can follow to set up a plan that you’re happy with.
1. Understand your finances
Before you even think about investing, you need to have a good grasp on your financial situation.
Make sure you’ve taken care of any expensive debts like credit cards. Also, have a realistic budget so that you know how much money you’re able to invest once you’ve covered your day-to-day expenses each month.
By starting out like this, you’ll get off on the right foot. It will be much easier to concentrate on your investments if you know the rest of your finances are in good health.
2. Think about your overall goals
What you want your end result to be can help dictate the rest of your investing structure.
Your time horizon for your investments will also play a part in creating your strategy.
Or, you may want to be aggressive, putting your money into growth shares in the hope of generating market-beating returns.
Your goals will be unique to you. So it’s important that your investing strategy reflects that. Otherwise, you’ll be wandering aimlessly with no sense of direction.
3. Be comfortable with your risk appetite
Your tolerance for risk will also play a big part in your decision process.
Whether you’ve got the stomach for risk and volatility will help you steer in the right direction. It will give you some insight when it comes to working out what investments may or may not work well within your portfolio.
This is something very personal to you. Just because you have lots of time on your side doesn’t mean you have to opt for higher-risk investments, and vice versa.
It’s all about what sits well with you.
If you hate the idea of losing money on paper, there’s no point picking volatile investments. Because, the price movements may end up keeping you up at night.
But, it is important to understand that with every type of investment, prices will fluctuate. If you want to get more comfortable with the idea of volatility, buy a small bit of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.
If you can learn to handle the mad price swings of crypto, stock market investments and the volatility that come along with it will be a breeze.
4. Consider all your assets
When making investment plans, many people often forget about things like your pension or home.
It’s really important that your investment strategy sits in with the rest of your finances.
This could be as simple as trying to play it safer with your pension investments, and then being more adventurous with your stock portfolio.
Or, simply being aware that you may have a large amount of your net worth tied up in an illiquid asset (one that is hard to sell/convert into cash) like the house you live in.
Most people are massively overweighted in property with their total financial outlook because they own their own home, and maybe a second one, and the sheer value of that ‘property portfolio’ far outweighs the money they have in other investments.
So, when you’re creating your investing strategy, make sure you’re working out a plan that takes into account all of your financial assets.
5. Always be aware of diversification
Whichever way you choose to invest and whatever your final goals may be, diversification is always so important.
You might get lucky by throwing all your energy into one stock or asset. But, there’s a much greater likelihood you’ll fail by putting all your eggs in one basket.
Diversification can mean different things, there’s no such thing as a perfectly diversified portfolio.
But, keep in mind that you can still be aggressive or cautious and diversified at the same time. You can also get creative and even explore using alternative investments.
By spreading your investments across various assets, industries, and companies – you can give yourself a great shot at long-term success.
It will increase the chances of you pick winning investments, and should help minimise your losses when things turn sour.
Creating your own investing strategy is very personal to you. If you want no part in the decisions whatsoever, you can always look at robo-advisor platforms.
But, if you want to be in control, that’s ideal. Just make sure you’re using a brokerage account that gives you access to all the types of investments you want to use.
Don’t follow the crowd and make investing decisions because that’s what other people are doing. Build a strategy and a portfolio that reflects your needs and values, then stick with it.
And, if you want to stay up to date with all the latest market news, make sure you sign up for the fortnightly MoneyMagpie Investing Newsletter.
This is not financial or investment advice. Remember to do your own research and speak to a professional advisor before parting with any money.