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Ready to start investing?

15 Jan 2021

If you have built cash pots you’re happy with, it may be time to invest any extra money you have.

First, a warning. Unlike cash savings, any money you invest may involve risk and can be lost. But investing is also a long-term game. If you invest for the long term you have a greater chance that the ups and downs of markets will even out – so the longer you invest, the better chance you have positive returns.

1. Get started

A simple way to invest is through an investing platform. You’ll be able to set up regular monthly contributions, make one-off contributions, and pick funds and other investments from a wide range. However, there is a charge involved, either a fixed payment or a percentage of the money you invest. Always check the fee information.

2. Remember key principles

When you are investing, there are some key principles to keep in mind:

  • Think about your investment goals – what do you want to achieve?
  • Choose the type of investments and the level of risk that suit you

Don't put all your eggs in one basket, instead make sure you have different types of investments. For beginners, multi-asset funds that hold shares, bonds and other assets from around the world could fit the bill. Over time, you might like to consider other types of aggressive investments, such as funds that invest in smaller companies or regions of the world that are still developing in order to capture more returns.

3. Remember steady wins the race

Our analysis shows that the most sensible approach is to stay invested into the market regularly.

Let’s look at some examples.

Steffi, Bob and Gary both invested HK$110,000 in the MSCI All Country Asia Pacific ex Japan Index, albeit in different ways.

Steffi likes a steady and regular investment approach. She began investing regularly in the Index in 1998, put in HK$10,000 on 31 December each year for 11 years until 2008. As of 31 December 2017, her original investment of HK$110,000 had grown to HK$408,432 .

In contrast, Bob likes to time the market and always invests at the top of the market. He invested HK$11,000 in 2007 just before the global financial crisis. As a result, his original investment was worth HK$157,387 as of 31 December 2017.

Gary has more luck and good timing. He started investing all his money in the Index in 2008 when the market hit its lowest point. Even though he successfully timed the market, his investment grew to HK$327,424 as of 31 December 2017, but still over HK$80,000 less than Steffi.

Source: Fidelity International, July 2018. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.

What we learn from this example, in the unlikely event that we were able to time the market perfectly every time, the time spent in the market is much more beneficial for our returns.

Regular investing will be benefited from a process known as dollar-cost averaging – you buy more shares when prices are low and fewer when they are high. And just as importantly, you allow the wonderful power of compounding to work its magic on your savings for the maximum available time.


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