How to start investing

A step-by-step guide for starting your investment journey


Decide why you want to invest

We all have different goals when it comes to our money. Whether you want to raise funds for a house deposit or create a reserve to cover time off work, your investment objectives are as unique as you are.

Deciding if investing is the right option for your financial future isn’t something to be taken lightly. While we’d always advise consulting a professional before making any big financial decisions, there are steps you can take to decide if investing is for you.

Sometimes, saving alone isn’t enough to reach your financial goals. If you’re looking to stay ahead of inflation, investing could be the right option for you.

Please remember the value of investments, and any income can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.

Defining your goals

Now you’ve worked out your ‘why’, it’s time to ground it with some goals. When setting goals for your investments, make sure they’re:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-based

Meeting with a Specialist Financial Adviser from Wesleyan Financial Services is a great way to start your financial planning. They have the expertise and experience to set you on the right path.

If you choose to go it alone, consider setting goals for both the short-term and the long-term. You’ll need to review your current financial situation and work out a plan of action to reach your goals.

As investing your money isn’t a linear process, it’s important to view your goals as moving targets. The money you invest can go up and down with the rise and falls of the market, and life may throw you a curveball that delays your progress.

Checking in on your investments and adjusting your goals accordingly is the smart investor way.

Consider risk

Different investment options present varying levels of risk and potential return. 

Before choosing an investment option, you need to consider your attitude to risk. This differs from your capacity for loss, as you may not be able to afford the risk you’re willing to take.

You can learn more about understanding risk in our Quick guide to investing.

Choose your timeframe

Once you’ve established your financial goals, you’ll need to consider the length of time you can realistically invest for. Though you can usually withdraw your investments at any time, staying in the market often increases your chance of a higher return. It also presents the opportunity for compound growth (where you’re reinvesting your interest or dividends).

Typically, an investment will be medium term (5-10 years) or long-term (10 years or more). Deciding a timeframe will depend on how much you’ll need to invest each month, or year, to stay on track towards reaching your goals. 

You should also consider whether there’s time for your investment to grow and ride out potential fluctuations within the financial markets.

Calculate your potential returns 

Though it’s impossible to know how your investments will play out, you can get an idea of your potential returns over time. Try our investment calculator to see your potential long-term returns.

Deciding control

When it comes to managing your investments, you have two options. You can choose to invest yourself by buying individual assets or leave it to a fund manager by investing in managed funds.

If you don’t feel confident managing your own investments, you could consider working with a professional. A fund manager has years of experience of the stock markets and can make informed decisions on your behalf.

Making your investments

The more time you spend in the market, the more likely you are to see higher returns on your investments over time. And the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be on track to see your investments work for you.

Though you can make reasonable predictions on the potential return of your investments, it isn’t possible to know what the future will hold. You could invest a large sum of money a few days before a large fall, which may take years to recover and show the return you’re looking for. 

However, if you invest regularly across multiple asset classes, industries and geographical locations, you can expect a similar return while balancing your risk.

Working with a Specialist Financial Adviser

If you’re unsure about any part of your investment journey, or would like professional advice, consider meeting with a Specialist Financial Adviser from Wesleyan Financial Services. They’ll give you tailored advice to help you reach your financial goals, from the comfort of your own home.

Please note that an advised application usually carries an initial charge.

Though all advisers may take a slightly different approach, you can expect your first appointment to include a discussion of:

  • Your long-term life plans. Whether that’s for your family, property or lifestyle, to identify what you’re driving towards financially
  • Your knowledge and experience of investments, to fill in any gaps and answer any questions you may have
  • Your attitude for risk and capacity for loss

Your Specialist Financial Adviser will then go away and research the best investment options for you.

Invest yourself

With some of Wesleyan’s investment options, you can apply online without needing to speak to a Specialist Financial Adviser first. For example, the With Profits ISA, or one of the Wesleyan Unit Trust Managers unit trust products.

Other financial services companies may differ in their approach. You’ll need to do your research before you begin any application.

Check in regularly

An annual financial review is a great way to check that your investments are on track and still right for your circumstances. A financial adviser will analyse the market and your portfolio performance to suggest any changes to your current investments.

You might be interested in…

Quick guide to investing

Get started on your investment journey with this quick guide to investing. Discover the various ways you can invest and learn how to become a smart investor.

Investment calculator

Got a lump sum to lock away? Want to invest monthly? This investment calculator can show you what your potential returns might look like.