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Why should you consider investing?

Building wealth by investing in different asset classes
Investing is an effective way to put your money to work and potentially build wealth.

India is undergoing a positive transformation as more and more citizens are choosing to invest their hard-earned money, rather than simply saving it. This shift in financial behavior shows that people are becoming more aware of the importance of planning for their future and taking control of their finances.

Investing generally offers a greater potential for higher returns over the long term compared to saving, which usually offers low-interest rates. Additionally, investing diversifies risk by spreading money across multiple assets, while savings are susceptible to inflation eroding their value over time.  A well-diversified investment portfolio can potentially counteract inflation and generate returns greater than the rate of inflation. However, investing also involves higher risks than savings and requires a long-term outlook and understanding of various markets. Thus, let’s understand different asset classes that one can consider for investments.

Key Benefits of Investing: Beats Inflation and Builds Wealth

Where to invest your money?

Piggy Bank depicting wealth from investing
Explore different investment options before putting your money to work

Explore different asset classes for investment before putting our hard-earned money to work

1.     Fixed Income Assets

Fixed income instruments are a type of investment that provides a steady and consistent return through fixed interest payments and the return of the principal investment at maturity. With low risk and limited growth potential, they are a suitable option for investors with a moderate to low-risk appetite. These investments offer protection of capital and a predetermined, fixed rate of return, making them a reliable source of steady income. Essentially, all fixed-income instruments are debt instruments that help companies to raise the capital they need.

These instruments can be issued by governments, corporations, and financial institutes such as banks. Examples of fixed-income assets include:

o   Bonds A bond is a type of fixed-income instrument in which an investor lends money to an issuer, such as a government, municipality, or corporation. In exchange for the loan, the issuer promises to pay the investor a fixed rate of interest over the life of the bond and to repay the principal, also known as the face value or par value, at maturity. Maturity refers to the date when the bond becomes due and the principal must be repaid to the bondholder. When you purchase a bond, you become a creditor of the issuer and are entitled to receive the periodic interest payments and the return of the principal investment at maturity.

o   Annuities – Annuities are financial contracts that provide a guaranteed stream of income in exchange for a lump sum payment or series of payments. They can offer tax-deferred growth and provide a source of retirement income. However, they may also have drawbacks such as high fees and limited flexibility.

o   Certificate of Deposits (CDs) – Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are low-risk savings products offered by banks and credit unions, where depositors agree to keep their funds on deposit for a set term in exchange for a guaranteed rate of return. They are insured by the FDIC and offer a fixed rate of return with a defined maturity date, making them a secure investment option for those seeking stability over high returns.

2.     Equities

The equity asset class refers to ownership in a company represented by stocks or shares. When an individual invests in stocks, they are effectively buying a piece of the company and becoming a shareholder. As the company grows and becomes more valuable, so does the value of the stock. The return on investment for equities is usually higher than fixed-income assets such as bonds, but it also carries more risk as the value of the stock can fluctuate based on market conditions and the performance of the company.

You can invest in this asset class in three ways:

o Direct investments through stocks– After opening a demat account with a depository participant, investors can directly purchase shares of a company to participate in its equity. Direct equity investment allows an investor to choose from a large universe of stocks listed on the stock exchange.

o Equity-oriented Mutual Funds – Mutual funds are a type of investment where the investors pool their money and invest in stocks and other securities. Equity-oriented mutual funds invest 65% or more of their corpus into equity-oriented securities. . Investments in equity shares of various companies are made in line with the investment objective of the MF scheme and are managed by the MF manager.

o ETFs – Instead of investing in one particular share, it is possible for an investor to participate in the entire index (e.g. Nifty or Sensex). This can be done by purchasing (ETFs) exchange-traded index funds listed on the exchange.

3.     Real Estate

The real estate industry is widely regarded as a top investment opportunity, frequently recommended by experts as a source of substantial returns. With a crucial impact on industries such as commercial, housing, manufacturing, hospitality, and retail, it remains a viable option for wealth building, especially if you have a substantial sum to invest. Real estate investments can provide returns through rental income and potential appreciation of property values.

4. Commodities (e.g. gold, silver, oil)

Commodities are raw materials and primary products that are used in the production of other goods and services. As an asset class, commodities provide an opportunity for investors to diversify their portfolios and potentially benefit from price appreciation. Commodities can include precious metals such as gold and silver, energy products like crude oil and natural gas, and agricultural products like wheat, corn, and soybeans. Investing in commodities can be volatile and prices can be influenced by global events and supply and demand dynamics, making it a higher-risk investment option compared to other asset classes like bonds or cash.

5. Cryptocurrencies

Investing in cryptocurrencies involves buying digital assets with the expectation of price appreciation. Cryptocurrency prices can be highly volatile, making them speculative investment that is not suitable for everyone. They are not backed by any government or central authority and their value is determined by market demand. As such, investing in cryptocurrencies carries a high level of risk, and it is important to thoroughly research and understand the specific cryptocurrency you are considering before investing.

What’s the right approach to investing?

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· Align investments with your financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment timeline

Goals determine what type of investments to choose. Risk tolerance influences how much risk to take for potential returns. Investment timeline affects the choice of short-term vs long-term investments. Consider all three factors to make informed investment decisions and reach financial goals successfully.

· Diversify investments across multiple asset classes to spread risk

Diversifying your investment portfolio by allocating funds across different asset classes can provide benefits due to the varying risk and return potential of each asset. This helps to reduce the overall volatility of the portfolio by decreasing the correlation among the assets. Essentially, if one asset underperforms, another may perform well, balancing out fluctuations and reducing overall portfolio volatility.

· Do market research before investing in any asset class

Market research is crucial for informed investment decisions. Research the companies, sectors, or funds you're considering, evaluating factors such as financial performance, management team, and future outlook. This research helps identify opportunities, assess risk, and make data-driven investment decisions. Without market research, investments may be based on emotion or speculation, increasing the chances of loss.

· Consider fees and taxes associated with your investments

Investment fees and taxes can impact returns. Be aware of fees, such as management or transaction fees, and consider the tax implications of investments, such as capital gains taxes. This helps understand the true cost of investments and plan accordingly.

Lastly,  have patience and discipline with your investments, and resist the urge to make impulsive decisions based on market volatility or short-term events. Don’t hesitate in seeking out financial advice. Reach out to investment advisors who you can trust to communicate consistently with you and who can understand your goals and risk appetite. You can also join the trading community – Covesto to connect with other traders like you.