Revealed: YOUR concerns and advice about investing
PUBLISHED: 09:42 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 09:43 20 September 2019
Financial columnist Peter Sharkey asked readers what made them apprehensive about investing - here they share their responses...
A few weeks ago, I asked readers what made them apprehensive before they invested. The response was remarkable - and hugely encouraging; it showed that people are conscious of the need to save for their futures.
I'm extremely grateful to those who took the time to respond. One chap even quoted Shakespeare; another submitted a very amusing (but unprintable) missive, but most appeared to share similar investment experiences.
Nervousness clearly affected a large number of people.
Paul Brody's reply was succinct: "The thing that makes me so apprehensive when investing? The fact I that I could lose money!"
Mrs Ferris from Norfolk advised that "the prospect of losing money is a major concern," a point with which Arthur Connor concurred: "Sure, we save in ridiculously low-interest bank accounts, but why? We're all as frightened as hell! We don't have money to burn or throw away, so yes, we're 'apprehensive', a fine euphemism for being scared!"
Other readers admitted they desperately wanted to invest, but have instead opted for the ultra-safe option of putting money into low-yielding bank accounts, Premium Bonds or a cash ISA, primarily said Ms Harry of Lowestoft, it's "because I'm concerned that I could lose money."
Phil Wilcox, an Evening Post reader, summed the 'fear factor' up well when he wrote: "Essentially, we fear losses more than we appreciate making profits, an imbalance which effectively hampers investment, so how do we avoid the former?
"That, unfortunately, is the $64,000 question because everyone is different and our attitudes towards risk are similarly different."
"Isn't life full of risks?" asked Colin Jukes, who added: "If you want to avoid being penniless when you retire, it's a good idea to at least try and make provision for later life."
A large number of readers highlighted the benefits of comprehensive research prior to investing. Mr Butler of Great Yarmouth offered some excellent advice, "Investment is a long-winded process because you're buying a slice of a company or fund in the expectation it'll do well over the long term. You must examine the likelihood of success from every angle. Trying to rush this process is not a great idea."
The same point was made in emails submitted by various readers. One in Suffolk wrote: "I'm not always supremely confident when investing, but I do think researching your prospective target reduces the probability of making significant errors."
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Another said: "The key to successful investing is research. The more I research, the less apprehensive I become and for me, the perfect investment is one that is worry-free," he said.
Norman Castleton of Lowestoft suggested pre-investment nerves are not necessarily negative. "It's a good thing to be apprehensive, provided you're not weakened by it. Apprehension leads to a questioning attitude and approach."
Meanwhile, Mr Mottram in Dereham explained his quandary: "I'm always wary of investing without doing what usually ends up being too much research. More than once, I've been investigating a company's shares only to see them rise to the point where they become too expensive!"
If thorough research can offset the impact of nervousness, in what areas did respondees prefer to invest?
Ely-based John Rushden emailed to say he preferred "investing in funds as most managers' portfolios are sufficiently well diversified to reduce the impact of risk and that adds an element of comfort to the investment process."
Sally Neary in Norfolk said she had "reached the point where if I see a portfolio with a similar objective to my own, I'm inclined to consider it." A lady in Norwich delivered a particularly astute observation, noting that: "Fund managers who can come up with consistently successful, pre-constructed portfolios suited to a range of risk levels are likely to become the investors' friend over time."
Stephen Morris took a similar view: "If I'm building a growth portfolio," he said, "I'll first see what the professionals are doing and either use this as the basis of my own investing or, [alternatively], I'm happy to invest directly with said fund manager."
It's difficult to include every viewpoint when summarising so many replies, but while the overwhelming majority of respondees were apprehensive at the pre-investment stage, they felt this concern could offset with thorough research and by investing with professional fund managers. As food for thought goes, the replies offered a veritable feast. Thanks again.
TAM Asset Management Ltd offer savers the opportunity to invest in a variety of Investment ISA portfolios and through other investment accounts. For further details, please visit the MoneyMapp website.
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For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey's regular column, The Week In Numbers.