Much like tackling a home renovation, the best way to approach your investments depends on how hands-on you want to be.
“DIY” has become a bit of a thing in Australia. Driven by reality TV shows, anything seems possible – particularly if you have a can-do attitude and some time on your hands.
So what about investing? Do you try and make all your big financial decisions yourself? Or would you rather seek advice from a professional?
Whether you’re looking ahead to retirement, excited about buying a luxury car or seek extra income from returns, how you fulfil your investment goals comes down to your level of experience, your desire to learn and the amount of time you have to dedicate to the cause.
Here are the four main options.
1. Do it yourself
If you like to be personally in control of your finances, you may be very comfortable doing all of your own research and designing your investment strategy.
If you are going down this path you will need to:
define what you want to achieve from your investments and what your timeframe is
research the types of investments (e.g. cash, fixed interest, shares and property) that will help meet your goals, taking into account their expected level of risk and return (see chart below)
work out roughly how much you want to put into each type of investment
pick the investments for each kind of asset you want to invest in
monitor the market and economy and be prepared to act if required.
Source: ANZ Global Wealth 2014
There are plenty of online tools to help you with do-it-yourself investing. For example, in the investments section of the Grow by ANZ app you can browse the market, get investment ideas and recommendations from independent research providers, as well as buy or sell shares.
2. One-off advice
If you want to manage your own investments but you’d like a hand getting started, you can get one-off advice from a financial planner or investment specialist.
They will usually start by helping you define your goals and work out your attitude towards risk. They will then recommend a mix of investments to suit your needs. The one-off fee for this recommendation can vary from $220 to $1650 for simple advice and up to around $4400 for complex advice.
Getting one-off advice like this can be a good way to build your knowledge, understand your options and define a strategy to start you off.
After that it’s up to you to keep an eye on things and make sure your investments continue to meet your goals. Though there are plenty of avenues for advice if you feel in need.
3. Ongoing advice
If you want more support on an ongoing basis, you may want to enter an ongoing advice arrangement with a financial adviser.
Like one-off advice, this process starts with your adviser helping you define your goals and recommending a mix of investments that suit your needs.
The difference here is that you generally pay your adviser a regular service fee to monitor your investments, review your circumstances as they change and recommend adjustments to your investments if appropriate.
4. Portfolio management
If you’re comfortable allowing a trusted professional to make investment decisions for you, you could consider a portfolio management arrangement.
In this case, you and your portfolio manager agree on your goals and investment strategy, as you would with ongoing advice. The difference is that your portfolio manager makes day-to-day investment decisions on your behalf, based on your agreed approach.
This approach generally involves a larger number of transactions (e.g. buying and selling shares) than ongoing financial advice. As a result, fees and transaction costs may be higher with a portfolio manager.
Essential tips for any investment strategy
- Establish your goals before you invest.
- Make sure you understand and accept the risks.
- Think of investing as a five-to-10-year proposition at least – the longer the better.