The hard truth is that, in Singapore, it's difficult to earn lots of money if you only park your monthly salary into the bank and expect it to grow. It will not grow much at all.
The only way to make your money work for you is to invest in it, and similar to how learning never ends, becoming good at investing money is a never-ending journey. It goes without saying that you should have read up on, spoken with experienced investors, and have a relatively solid understanding of the investment products and strategies before getting into it.
But there are, however, 3 crucial things that every investing beginner must know before they even put money in. Here they are:
1. Know your investment goals
If there's one thing that bears repeating in the investment world, it's this: What are you working towards? It's very important to have a goal, or goals, in mind to work towards in order to effectively figure out how to get there.
When people talk about investment goals, most would assume that it's a number they are trying to get their money to climb up to and achieve. That's not false, but what a lot of people fail to realise is that investments take time. An investment goal should not only take the number into consideration, but the time factor as well.
Is your investment goal short term, or long? If it is short term, is the number you have in mind realistic based on the time frame allocated? What type of investment products will best help you hit your goal? These are all questions you have to ask yourself before starting on your investment journey.
2. Know your risk appetite
When you hear the phrase 'risk appetite', it basically means how much are you willing to lose? A lot of times, you will hear (mostly from banks) that risk appetite is related to the types of investments you make. For example, buy more equities when you are in your twenties or thirties because you are at the stage of life where you can afford the volatility and higher risk. Buy more into fixed income products when you are older because they tend to be more stable (low risk) but at the same time also won't return as much.
Whatever it is, risk appetite is an extremely important factor that people don’t fully think about when they start out investing. That's because no one goes into investing their money immediately thinking they are going to lose money - that completely defeats the purpose of investing your money. But it is still important to consider because this will have repercussions further down the road in your investment journey.
Take the time to read up on the various investment products and understand how they can work for or against you at various stages of your life. This will allow you to weigh your risk appetite properly and plan a long term strategy that will prevent you from losing money unnecessarily.
3. Know your investment behaviour
Knowing your investment behaviour also starts with knowing yourself. If you're a naturally lazy person like me, I'm going to optimize technology to help me manage the time I spend managing my investments so it doesn't become tedious and eat up into time I can spend elsewhere instead of staring at a screen full of numbers.
Another trick is to leverage off algorithmic trading. It's a godsend for people who know they are not going to have the time to decide on trade decisions all the time. As you can choose to automate your trades, it can also help those who tend to be too overly hands-on to have some form of discipline.
Knowing what type of a trader you might be, and what sort of behaviour you'll likely have, is a boon to deciding what sort of tools will be useful for you. And that is a huge plus point if you are trying to find your footing at the start of this journey.