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You work hard for your money. And investing can help your money work hard for you by generating income and growing in value.The goal of investing is simple: build wealth so you can use it later in life or pass it on to the next generation. But while you have countless ways to invest, each comes with a degree of uncertainty.
When planning where to put your money, consider the four major factors that affect investments:
With investing, the idea is to use your money to make more money. By creating and preserving your wealth, you can reap the rewards of:
No investment is risk-free, so a big part of investing is deciding how much risk you can comfortably assume. Generally, the higher the risk, the higher the reward.
Risks investors face include:
No. But a few protections are in place for specific vehicles and situations:
The information on this page is current as of March 6, 2020.
You’ll find various ways to invest your money to achieve specific financial goals. Investments are grouped into categories by type — for example, bank products and bonds — each with its own features, risks and rewards.
You can stash your cash in a bank account, but other ways can make better use of your cash and earn interest or tangible assets.
When you buy stocks, you’re buying a share of ownership in a company. Also called equities, stocks are based on the company type, size, potential for growth and performance in the market.
Your profits and losses depend on the success and failure of the company, as well as the influence of major trends in the stock market.
Bonds are a type of fixed-income investment that pay interest or dividends at set intervals and return your principal amount at the end of the term. They are issued by governments and companies at fixed rates, so when you buy a bond, you’re essentially lending the issuer money in exchange for interest payments. Bonds are generally less risky than stocks, but like any investment, your returns may vary, so there’s no guarantee you’ll make money.
An investment fund collects capital from a bunch of investors to buy stocks, bonds and securities. Usually managed by professionals, they give investors access to opportunities they may not have been able to invest in on their own.
Options are contracts that give the investor the right — but not the obligation — to buy or sell a security, such as a stock or foreign currency, at a fixed price within a specified time.
They’re derivative, which means they derive their value from their underlying assets. Options are open to both institutional and individual investors.
Buying a home is among our major investments. But other investment options make up the real estate realm.
Traditionally, banks granted these fixed-rate loans to help investors finance a specific project and acquire such assets as property, equipment or machinery. Today, investors will find direct lending options that include crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms.
An advanced form of investing, contacts are agreements to buy or sell commodities, shares and assets.
Also called forex or FX, foreign exchange is the largest financial market in the world. Investors trade international currencies online and over the phone.
On the other hand, money market funds are mutual funds that are invested conservatively in government, municipal, corporate or bank securities. The return on money market funds also fluctuates with market conditions, but there’s a possibility that return drops below zero and you lose some of your principal.[/fin_hide]
Investing is accessible to anyone. The paths you can take to build a portfolio depend on your budget, risk tolerance and financial goals.
Before signing up for an investment account, read the fine print. These accounts are typically taxable, and fees can vary.
Look at retirement accounts as a way of investing and securing your financial future. They can help you to save for retirement and manage your income after you retire.
Other sources of retirement income include investments held in TFSAs, funds deposited into bank accounts, real estate investments and government programs such as Old Age Security (OAS) and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS).
Robo-advisors are exactly what they sound like: digital financial advisers. A robo-advisor relies on intricate algorithms and technology to offer financial advice, help with asset allocations and automate the management of your investments.
If you prefer working with a human, you can enlist a financial planner or adviser to help you set up an investment portfolio. Most financial advisers work out of banks and require a minimum amount to invest.
A good investment strategy addresses the opportunities and risks of the financial markets in a way that helps you achieve your goals. Such a strategy can change over time, but consider important components like:
Split up your investments based on your goals and risk tolerance. It can be good to put more money into stocks than bonds when you’re young to leverage long-term growth potential, then shift into less risky investments like bonds as you near retirement.
Business cycles, economic cycles and seasons can influence the movements of investment vehicles. Restaurants must be planned, then built. Oil must be discovered, then drilled. Prescription drugs must be developed, then tested and approved.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. To manage risk and protect against market fluctuations, savvy investors diversify their portfolios across multiple vehicles and sectors.
Keep your finger on the pulse of the economy. Recognize the role that generational, technological, societal and other shifts can play in the ongoing supply and demand tug of war.
Broadly speaking, there are 2 main investing philosophies: Active and passive investing.
Many traditional wealth management firms prefer active investing, where advisers regularly buy and sell assets for you. The idea is that skillful investing can “beat the market” and outperform a portfolio that changes very little.
Robo-advisors tend to use a passive investing approach. Rather than try to pick winning and losing investments, they put your money in a curated mix of investments and wait for it to grow.
Some actively managed funds outperform the market, but most don’t. According to the 2017 Dow Jones Indices SPIVA Scorecard — a semiannual comparison of managed funds against benchmarks — large funds usually don’t beat the S&P 64% of the time. And medium-size and small funds fall behind their benchmarks almost 90% of the time.
Robo-advisors aren’t designed to beat the market, but they move in sync with it. According to experts, robo-advisors often perform better than actively managed funds, once you account for the difference in management fees.
To get money into your desired investment, you’ll need to access a market that offers that investment, often through an investment account that participates in the various markets.
You can invest your money through exchanges in Canada, the US and elsewhere in the world including:
All investments are a dance of risk and reward. The aim of investing is to build wealth and set yourself up for a comfortable financial future. But it comes with a degree of uncertainty.
What you invest your money in and how you invest it should be guided by your goals and capital.
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