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In a few of my blog posts on this website I have reminded you of the importance of saving 20% of your income. Saving is vitally important to give yourself a platform to build towards financial freedom but saving on its own will not be enough. Let me explain, the current rates of interest offered by most financial institutions are relatively low, in most cases they are below 1.5%. This is lower than the current rate of inflation.
Saving into an account that offers this kind of interest rate will not magically produce a large lump sum or provide a regular passive income that will enable you to become financially free. Sadly even many pension funds built up during the working lives of adults in the UK will not deliver the levels of capital growth necessary. In addition to saving you will need to make investments; investments offer the chance for your money to grow significantly in the medium to long term. It is worth stating that investments usually have more risk attached to them; there are usually greater risks and potentially greater rewards.
Below I have listed several types of investment that could potentially move you closer to financial freedom. This is not an exhaustive list so I encourage you to do your own research to discover the investment approaches that are most appropriate for you.
Property is my favourite type of investment here in the UK. The purchase of a Buy to Let property was until recently a very popular investment allowing investors to benefit from capital appreciation and rental yield. Changes in the tax relief that landlords can claim , introduced to dampen the buy to let market and create opportunities for first time buyers, are having their intended effect. It is now not as easy to set up profitable buy to lets.
For investors with less available capital, property crowdfunding is a way to join other investors and pool resources to invest in properties. Property Partner is an example of a crowdfunding property company that enables smaller investors to participate in property investment without having to buy a property outright. The returns from property crowdfunding are good and it is open to investors of all levels.
Stocks and Shares
By purchasing Shares, it is possible to invest directly in the performance of one particular company. Investors who hold shares in a number of companies refer to them as Stocks. Imagine if you had invested in Amazon or Apple in the early years, the return on your investment that you would have received would have been phenomenal. Investors can benefit from the increased stock price and dividends that the company might declare and distribute.
Unit Trusts and OEICs
Investing in one particular stock can work out well if the company does well but you could also lose all of your money if the company folds. A less risky approach is to use an investment fund to invest in a range of companies. The two most popular types of investment funds are Unit Trusts and OEICs. With a Unit Trust, you purchase units of a fund that is made up of the investments of many investors. This could be a tracker fund or an actively managed fund; a fund manager makes the investment decisions for the fund.
An OEIC is very similar to a Unit Trust except that the fund is run as a company and you purchase shares instead of units. Returns are paid through regular distributions, they could be quarterly or monthly dependent on what the fund guarantees.
Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
Exchange Traded Funds( ETFs ) are a relatively new investment product and are similar to Unit Trusts and OEICs in that they are open ended but the difference is that they are are listed on a Stock Exchange. They also include a wider variety of assets that Unit Trusts and OEICs.
Cryptocurrencies are easily the most volatile of all investments that I have included on this list. It is possible to both make or lose a fortune with cryptocurrency investments in the space of a few hours or days. Many professional investors including Warren Buffet do not consider cryptocurrencies a suitable investment and believe them to be little more than a gamble. However, blockchain technology which provides the platform for cryptocurrencies via its distributed ledger system, is here to stay. To read more about cryptocurrencies, read this post, Has the Cryptocurrency Bubble Burst?
If you have the stomach for it, and can afford to lose what you invest cryptocurrencies, most notably Bitcoin could provide the significant capital growth you will need for financial freedom. Despite what some professional investors thinks cryptocurrencies have made many new billionaires and millionaires in a short space of time.
What Should you Do?
Research the investments or investment approaches that appeal to you. Have you already made some investments? What type are they? Please let me know in the comments section below.
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My aim with each blog post is to help you move to a better financial future. I believe that there is not enough financial education in the national curriculum and I intend to share anything helpful that I have learned along the way. I am by no means a financial expert. None of the information on this website constitutes financial advice and is provided as general information only. This is my personal finance blog; my marketing blog is over here and I have been blogging there since 2010. I hope you have found this information useful. Thank you for reading.