For most of us, barring an unlikely sweep on the National Lottery the prospect of making it onto the Sunday Times rich list isn’t very likely. But being comfortably well off is something we all aspire to be – and it isn’t an unrealistic ambition. Working hard and spending our well-earned cash wisely, leaving some to squirrel away, is half the battle to achieving financial peace of mind.
Today, though, being a hard worker and assiduous saver isn’t enough. Interest rates are at record lows and likely to remain so for some time – which means that if you put money in a savings account its value will be eroded by inflation. In other words, as each year passes your money will buy less. Many of us will also be lucky enough to receive some form of company pension, but even these are much less generous than they used to be – as corporate pensions have shifted from ‘defined benefit’ to ‘defined contribution’, we know how much we’re putting in but no longer with any idea of what we’re likely to get out in retirement.
The answer is to invest yourself to get better returns. And while there is a perception that playing the stock market is a gamble, this needn’t be the case if you do your homework and take a disciplined approach. In short, don’t view investing as a get rich quick scheme and take silly risks as a result. Most of the world’s most successful investors subscribe to the theory of getting rich slow. It’s a simple but wise philosophy.
That’s not to say that starting out in the world of investing isn’t still hugely daunting – the investment options available to you are almost limitless, and the financial services industry isn’t always that helpful in helping you make the best choices. However, giving up before you even start is probably the worst financial decision you could ever make, which is why we’ve put this guide together - to help you overcome your fears and set out on the road to that financial comfort you deserve.