Top Tools For First-Time Investors

The wealthiest people in our society have one big secret: investment.

Research shows that people with lower incomes are far less likely to take advantage of investment opportunities – however this is often the best way to grow your money, typically outstripping savings interest by a large margin when considered over the long-term.

Investment is never guaranteed, and can lead to losing money. However, if you have some spare cash to set aside – even a small amount of £100 or less – then putting it into stocks and shares is a financially sound decision that could help to set you up for the future.

For research: Hargreaves Lansdown

If you’re armed with enough good information, investment doesn’t have to be intimidating. There is a ton of information about how to invest out there on the internet, but it’s important to find a reliable source of information.

Hargreaves Lansdown are one of the big players in the investment world, and they also have a wealth of information on their website. From short explainer videos exploring basic principles like risk and compounding interest, to articles with information about alternatives to investment, it’s a treasure trove of information for beginners. Best of all, you don’t need to be a customer to access the insights: they’re free for everyone.

For finding the best account: MoneySuperMarket

One of the easiest ways to invest is through a stocks and shares ISA. This allows you to invest up to £20,000 each year, and is more tax efficient than using other type of investment account. Typically, you won’t need to make too many decisions about how your money is invested (unless you want to). However, you will be able to select your appetite for risk, and you may be able to invest into sustainable funds if that’s important to you.

There are lots of stocks & shares ISAs available, so it’s important to use a comparison tool to find the best one.

For automated investment: a good ‘robo-investor

The idea of automated investment is that you can take advantage of good investment opportunities without needing to fork out the hefty fees charged by qualified human investment advisors. While plenty of people will be satisfied by the standard ISA packages offered by their bank, a robo-investor can be a great tool for the more adventurous. Popular options include Moneyfarm, eToro, Chip and Plum.

Make sure you understand the fees you’ll be charged as well as any associated risks before you sign up. Also, do a quick search for cashback deals – these are often available if you sign up through a third-party platform.

For building your knowledge: Kahn Academy

Many people find that they catch the investment bug not long after opening their first account. If this is you, you’ll want to make sure that you advance beyond your beginner’s knowedge. One of our favourite tools for building financial knowledge is Kahn Academy’s Personal Finance module. This course can really help you get to grips with finance, and includes an entire unit on investment.

For tracking your money: a simple spreadsheet

One of the best parts of investing is watching your balance grow. You also need to keep an eye on whether any of your investments are underperforming, so that you can avoid losing money. The best way to do both of these things is through a simple excel spreadsheet – or Google Sheets, if you prefer. There are loads of templates out there or, if you feel ready to build your own, you can follow this guide from Investopedia to track the things that matter to you.

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