Investing for beginners: How to bridge the investment gap

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Martin Lewis compares paying mortgage over investing in savings
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Many things may be keeping one back from dipping a toe in the investment pool, whether it be because the risk looks overwhelming, the jargon is too complicated or not knowing where to place that first investment. Charles Stanley Direct’s most recent report sheds some light on the facts and figures to help beginners ‘mind the gap’.

“One in five have had to dip into their savings to maintain their standard of living as a result of the pandemic,” the report states.

The age-old suggestion that one should have three to six month’s salary saved for a worst-case scenario has proved insufficient as this 18-month ordeal continues to drag on.

In reality, very few people manage to save that amount of cash in the first place, and those that do should be wary of keeping it in a savings account where interest rates erode away at the amount rather than building it up over time.

As the report explains: “The fact is that cash has been a poor home for your money for some time – because it’s been battered by inflation.”

READ MORE: © GETTY Virus next to a blue piggy bank

This phenomenon in itself is the investment gap, as when comparing returns from savings account interest and stocks or shares it’s no surprise that investing “typically beat cash around 70 percent of the time”, the report stated.

With so much weighing up in favour of investing rather than saving, why do so many still trust cash over investments? According to the research, 14 percent of Britons stated that investing is too difficult, while 24 percent have never tried investing at all.

The report states that the barriers stopping people from investing all comes down to the ‘four Cs’:

Concerns over risk versus reward

The most common reason to not invest is the ‘fear factor’ that is market volatility.

The report found that 40 percent stated they felt investing was just too risky.

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Choice

With such a large, diverse market it’s easy to see how 14 percent admitted to being overwhelmed and didn’t understand investing, and learning how to do it would be too time consuming.

Complexity

Alongside deciphering the best choice in investment for you, 20 percent said they found the data was too challenging.Whilst this is undoubtedly true for some, the answer is the same as that of choice; simply taking the time and effort to educate oneself can change this entirely.

Communication

A common denominator in worries for both the finance and medical field is jargon.

Over half of the people surveyed said they weren’t confident enough to invest because they simply didn’t understand financial terms.

© GETTY Stock market graph

The report took this concern one step further and surveyed the specific terms that are most used, but least understood in the investing field: SIPP, or self-invested personal pension, de-risking and robo-advice.

Charles Stanley Direct also stated: “It’s never been easier to start investing. But the first hurdle to overcome is knowing where to start.”

The report created a list of top tips that will indicate whether one is ready to start investing:

1: Have a reserve of cash as an emergency fund.

2: Learn the basics; the key terms and market strategies and trends.

3: Establish investment goals and decide the best way to achieve this.

4: Figure out how much you are willing to contribute towards your investment and how often.

5: Consider the risk, higher risk shares should be taken over the long-term and low risk over short-term.

6: Weigh up the selection, one’s choice in investment depends on their specific circumstances and goals.

7: Commitment; long-term investing requires utmost patience and trust in the markets as well as oneself in making the right decisions.