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Many people who may have considered dipping their toes into the sometimes choppy waters of investments might have been put off by thinking you have to an expert to get started. If you one of those you might want to think again because it’s not as difficult as you might think.

It’s not even necessary to be rich if you want to invest, though your goal would be to get rich from savvy investing, but it can seem to be intimidating if you’re sure where to start.

There are many different ways to invest and it’s a crucial part of the financial sector because year on year inflation eats away at the value of your money and by shrewd investment you can grow your money faster. Options for investment include making contributions to a retirement account that has tax advantages (always take advantage of investment schemes that offer these), buying stocks in corporations that usually give a solid return, investing in a start-up that you think is really going to grow fast, or buying government bonds.

The latter won’t give you a brilliant return but they’re pretty much safe and it will depend on what appetite for risk you have in your investment strategy. You could also choose to go for mutual funds or, and it’s a popular option put your money into real estate with a view to renting properties out or selling them on when they have been refurbished.

Assessing the risks

Everyone is different when it comes to taking risks with the their money. No one likes to lose out but you always remember that investments do have risks and you could lose money rather than make it. It’s therefore a good idea to diversify your portfolio of investments so that if you put some money into high risk ventures, with the hope of getting a significant return, spread around some cash into medium and low risk options. It can be dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket in terms of going for higher risk options.

Markets fluctuate so if you need liquid cash quickly you may want to think again about investing. Remember, you don’t have to be an expert to start out. A simple retirement plan offered by your employer is easy for you sign up to, and the earlier you start putting money away into any retirement plan the better it will be your finances in later years.

In fact if you start investing in your 20s, time is your greatest asset, but even you’re later to it you should still consider your options, but the advice would be not to take risks that are so high that you lose money. You need patience for investing and “get rich quick” schemes can have a nasty habit of rebounding on the investor.

Look into real estate

People are always going to need somewhere to live so checking out the opportunities for investing in real estate could be a good step forward for your plans.

Options include buying a property to rent out with a view to making a good profit once any mortgage has been paid off as there would be only taxes and maintenance to pay from the rent; or you could join a real estate investment group that would build or buy a set of condos or apartment blocks and let investors buy them via the company, with the company managing the properties and taking a percentage of the rent each month.

You could follow the example of real estate entrepreneur Axel Preuss-Kuhne who, after many years experience, formed a company that focuses on townhouses and single family houses. Properties are acquired, renovated and then either rented out or sold on. As a business model it could be something for you to explore for part of your future in investing.

Setting your goals

Before you start out decide what your goals are, what do you want to get out of your investments. It’s then a lot easier to form your strategy and be clear about where you’re putting your money as you build your portfolio and what returns you are looking for.

As mentioned above, investments can go down as well as up so keep an eye on how your investments are doing. And remember, investing isn’t free. You’ll have to pay fees for professional advice so always find out what they are before you move ahead. Some will charge higher fees than others so take the trouble to understand the pros on cons to make sound investment decisions.