After discussing Differences between Savings and Investments, we will further discuss Investments to see what important factors an Individual Investor must keep in mind before making actual Investment decisions. From First and Seconds Lesson on investment, we have darted down certain points which classify investments from savings, and have noted few factors there that an individual investor must keep in mind to make wise investments, or even, to make investments at all or not.
This Lesson will cover in detail, factors and checks that are or should be backbone of investment decisions.
1. Avoid Hasty and Un-Planned Decisions. In a volatile market and financio-economical situation like present, it has been observed that investors are making rapid investment decisions without involving much planning and analysis. Investors, out of fear and/or lust factor, seem to have ignored and put aside their long term financial goals and all that long planning they had done in a normal market situation. This kind of behaviour must be avoided as it may, and mostly does, add to the already piling up losses. You financial plans may be revived, trimmed and modified but should not be completely ignored as you have had put some hard work and thinking while making those financial plans and setting your financial goals.
2. Draw or Re-Draw a Personal Financial Road Map. As discussed previously in my post on Having a Plan before Writing a Business Plan, we discussed how important it is to know and analyze one’s personal financial position before making any kind of financial decisions. We stressed there that an investor(which in that case was for a proprietor) should first thoroughly analyze his current personal financial position, keeping in mind his future plans regarding his personal life, future major expenses, future earning options i.e. both expected amount and timings. One should have enough cushion for one’s near and far future personal plans, and then see how one can set aside to invest into a new investment)
If you are already very much vulnerable to a financial crisis, based on your current financial condition and future expectations, you should avoid the idea of risking your finances even more by even thinking of a new investment.
3. Knowledge, Expertise and Skills related to Investment. It is always advisable to invest in something you have yourself knowledge and expertise of, instead of completely relying on Investment Managers(if you are going to hire one). If you think you have keen interest in an investment and it is not very technical to handle, you can even yourself manage your investment and save costs. But again it is more advisable to at least have some guidance from one. Having knowledge and expertise of a particular investment class will enable you to make better decisions and look for more innovative and modern ways of investments. So even if you don’t have know how and you trust a particular investment management company, before investing do detailed research and try to get as much as knowledge as possible of the subject, which in this case is an investment.
4. Asses you Risk Tolerance Capacity. Every investment involves some sort of risk, as this is something that differentiates Savings from Investment. If you are investing in stocks, bonds, real estate–there is definitely risk involved. As compared to depositing in Secured Banks. The reward for taking on risk is the potential for a greater investment return. If you have a financial goal with a long time horizon, you are likely to make more money by carefully investing in asset categories with greater risk, like stocks or bonds, rather than restricting your investments to assets with less risk, like cash equivalents. On the other hand, investing solely in cash investments may be appropriate for short-term financial goals. The principal concern for individuals investing in cash equivalents is inflation risk, which is the risk that inflation will outpace and erode returns over time.
5. Timing of Investment. Based on your Financial Position and your long term or short term financial goals, you should assess if this is a right time for you, financially, to make an investment decision. Jumping into an investment decision just for the sake of it can destroy your hard-earned earnings.
Moreover, you should also consider the timings of the economic cycle. You would need to check whether it is the start, mid or assumed end of a financio-economic cycle as you cannot make investment decisions in isolation from the current market conditions.