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It's free and provides everything you need to know to get the most interest and protection on your savings. The guide will tell you:. If you would rather go it alone then you need to realise that with inflation in excess of most savings account rates the real value of money on deposit can be quickly eroded. Typically the only way to earn a higher rate of interest from a savings account is to lock your money away for a longer fixed term.

You can use our table of the best savings rates on instant access accounts to help guide your choice of savings account, although these rates usually fall woefully short of inflation. But one word of warning. These bonds will either restrict access to your capital during the term of the bond or impose penalties if you wish to withdraw your money early. Something to think about.

One of the best free tools out there is the savings account rate tracker. You simply enter the details of the savings accounts you currently have and then not only will the system tell you if you are getting a good deal, but it will monitor the market for you and email when there are better deals out there than your existing account.

Make sure you put in the current balance for each of your savings accounts. Bear in mind that banks can share banking licences. This will ensure your savings are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme should your chosen bank go bust. Surprisingly the returns from these products are now quite competitive after banks slashed their interest rates in the Spring of Peer-to-peer lenders cut out the middleman the bank and allow you to lend your money to borrowers directly in return for a higher rate of interest.

The way this works is that when you deposit your money the peer-to-peer lender will parcel it up into smaller loans to manage risk much like a bank. The reason why you get a much better interest rate is because without the middleman the bank you keep more of the profits as there are no bank branches etc to pay for.

At present use of a peer-to-peer lender is not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so be aware. It is possible to invest for income directly in shares and hopefully receive an income stream via regular dividend payments along with a bit of capital appreciation for which you can use your annual capital gains tax allowance to receive tax- free, or at least in part.

Direct equity holdings carry much higher investment risk and hopefully rewards. The problem is that if you get your timing or research wrong you can swiftly find yourself sitting on a huge loss and no income stream. According to the Barclays Equity Gilt Study equities have produced an annual return of around 5. In terms of generating income, shares can produce regular dividend payments. Companies can choose to pay some of their profits to shareholders in the form of dividends.

In theory if you held a portfolio of shares that paid regular dividends you could use that income to live off. Corporate bonds are essentially loans to companies paying you an interest payment a coupon and your original loan amount back at an agreed date. The riskier the company the more likely they are to default, so the greater your potential return by way of compensation.

But as ever with greater risk comes the potential for greater loss. At the safest end of the spectrum we have Gilts which are loans to the UK Government through to investment-grade bonds companies with good credit ratings through to non-investment grade and high-yield bonds loans to companies with poorer credit ratings. Like equities, it is possible to hold bonds directly and a number of companies such as Tesco have even marketed their bonds directly to the public. Bonds are deemed lower risk than equities and their typical annual return income and capital growth over 20 years has been around 4.

But as ever past performance is no guide to future returns. From an income-generating perspective, bonds tend to produce an income that doesn't grow over time, i. If you want your income stream to keep pace with inflation that typically means investing in equities shares. The above are just a few of the main investment asset classes. The main point being you have a wide choice of assets which can produce income. But up until this point I have talked about holding assets directly.

However, most people invest via an investment wrapper or product into a number of investment funds which invest in a range of assets. Without trying to oversimplify investing, try and think of it like a car. In order to get from A to B ie your current situation to your desired stage in life you need to choose a car.

The car that best suits you will depend on the journey you plan to take, your current budget etc. Every car will have different running costs, tax etc and not one car suits all. Once you have chosen a car you need to put petrol in it to get you to your desired destination. This is akin to the underlying investment choices. Clearly the petrol drives performance but the car can enhance it.

In terms of making money, perhaps the most important consideration to get right is choosing the best petrol i. But rather than buy the aforementioned assets directly it is often preferable to invest in funds also called collective investments via a wrapper investment vehicles. Later in this article, I will look at building a portfolio of funds to produce an income. But what about the investment wrapper, i. Below is a selection of investment vehicles.

Each is taxed differently and has its own rules when it comes to access and drawing an income which a financial adviser will be able to explain in full detail. This can be based on the asset type such as bonds, property, shares, a geographical region or a theme such as cautious managed.

If collective investments are held outside of a wrapper in a general investment account then they are subject to income and capital gains tax. This is simply a tax wrapper and can hold cash, shares and collective investments funds. Defined contribution or personal pensions are another tax wrapper to consider when investing for income as income and capital gains are tax-free.

Again you can invest in the aforementioned assets and collectives but not residential property. These are products that are offered by life insurance companies that are subject to income tax. Their investment flexibility is usually limited to a range of investment funds.

By building a portfolio it is possible to diversify your investments so as to not put all your eggs in one basket. Consequently, other than your investment amount, there is nothing to stop you spreading your risk by investing in a range of assets with which to provide an income.

Most investors will invest via funds either via a general investment account or via a pension or ISA as a simple way to gain exposure to all the assets mentioned above. Funds work by pooling investors money together so they benefit from economies of scale as well as the ability to change their investments easily.

Understanding how investing in funds works is simpler than it sounds. To help you become a successful DIY investor the investing in funds guide covers everything including how to get started with buying funds, explaining what funds are and how they work.

Once you've downloaded the FREE guide look at page 3 where it explains what funds are and how they work. Even if you don't use it now it's worth keeping a copy for future reference, especially as it's free. Fortunately, the investment professionals out there have done the hard work for you. Interactive Investor known as ii has produced a number of model portfolios , including a Low-cost income portfolio as well as an Active Income portfolio.

If you follow the link above you can see the historic income yield for the funds in each portfolio as well as the suggested allocation. Interactive Investor also happens to be one of the most cost-effective investment platforms to use to buy these portfolios. The other alternative is to build a portfolio of funds yourself that can each produce an income. If you want your income to grow over time and keep pace with inflation then I would suggest investing in a range of equity income funds.

The key is to build a collection of equity income funds that invest in the UK and globally that have a strong track record of not only paying out dividends but also growing these payouts year after year. Historically the information required to build such a portfolio has not been readily available which is why I produce it for Investor members. If you simply want to invest for income with no access to capital then it is possible to buy an annuity called a purchased life annuity which will provide you with a guaranteed income stream.

The level of income will depend on your age and possibly health but once purchased you lose all access to the capital. Find out more: best bank accounts if you're always in credit - our tables show which account is best for you. The introduction of the Current Account Switching Service has made it easier than ever to change bank accounts, which has made providers keen to tempt switchers.

Find out more in: the best bank accounts for cashback - our tables show which account is best for you. It's worth exploring the best Isa deals on offer to ensure you aren't needlessly handing over the interest you make to the taxman. Shop for an Isa using Which? Money Compare. Cashback credit cards reward customers every time they make a purchase. By putting your everyday spending on the card, you could potentially earn hundreds of pounds a year.

However, it's important to avoid spending more than you can afford to pay back at the end of the month, as the interest charges are likely to outweigh any rewards. You can use Which? Money Compare to search for the right cashback credit card for you.

There's no guarantee that your returns will be as high as those offered by traditional savings methods, but the opportunity to become a millionaire overnight can be tempting. Find out more: our premium bonds guide shows you the odds of winning a prize or watch the video below. You then put the money that would have left your current account into the highest-interest savings account available. Stoozing was popular a few years ago when saving rates were high. That said, once they start to rise, this savvy move is likely to come into its own again.

Find out more: How to find lost bank and savings accounts — this guide explains the steps you need to take to reclaim your cash. Peer-to-peer or p2p websites directly match savers with borrowers. They can offer more favourable rates to both sides compared with traditional banks because of lower overheads.

However, there is a bigger risk of losing some of your investment through a borrower defaulting on their loan. What's more, peer-to-peer websites aren't covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme FSCS , meaning your funds aren't protected if the website goes bust. Find out more: our guide on peer-to-peer lending looks at the pros and cons, or watch the video below. If you're willing to learn the basics of investing in equities, you could earn much higher returns from your savings than if you store your cash in the bank.

However, there is always an element of risk involved when putting your money into stocks and shares. Even the most educated investors sometimes lose money. Find out more: are you ready to invest? A fund supermarket allows investors to buy and hold a range of funds from different companies together in one portfolio. They often provide extensive research and information on each fund, so can reduce the risk traditionally associated with investing, and help customers achieve market-beating returns.

Find out more: fund supermarkets reviewed - find out the highest-rated fund supermarkets. The internet can easily part you from your money but, with a bit of creative thinking, there are plenty of ways to make pounds online. Unless you've been hiding under a desktop computer for the past 20 years, you will have heard of Ebay , the most popular auction site on the web, which you can use to boost your income by selling virtually anything. It's a good idea to set up a PayPal account, as this is the preferred method of payment and offers buyers peace of mind.

The internet has taken over from newspapers and notice boards as the place to put classified ads. Gumtree and Preloved and, more recently, Facebook Marketplace are some of the biggest sites where you can advertise items you want to sell, complete with images and descriptions — free of charge. There's a fair number of research agencies that pay a small amount to people who complete surveys online. All you have to do is answer the questions. Panelbase , Valued Opinions and Toluna are among the bigger agencies.

Shutterstock, Alamy and RF pay contributors when members download the images they have uploaded. The site connects people who need a hand with odd jobs, and people who have some time and know-how. You can also use Fiverr or Fivesquids to offer a service such as graphic design skills that you can provide online. If you're a music enthusiast, you might jump at the chance of getting paid to review unsigned artists. Slicethepie allows you to do just that. Users get paid based on the quality of their reviews, and there is no limit to the number of artists you can review.

Rather than selling stuff you rarely use, you could rent it to other people using sites such as RentNotBuy or Fatllama. Vehicles, evening dresses and household tools are among the most commonly rented items on these sites, and you can set the price and length of time you are willing to lend your items for.

Got one too many gift cards for shops you never go to? Websites such as Card Yard allow you to unlock the cash on unwanted gift cards. When times are tight, it can be difficult to balance your budget, but it is possible to generate some extra cash without an initial outlay. The cashback opportunities are tailored to your spending habits, but you will need to activate them.

You can do this through your online banking or mobile banking app. One website called refermehappy collates these deals and acts as a social network, giving more people more opportunities to benefit from the rewards. But make sure the services you recommend to friends are suitable first.

Sign up to a site such as Magic Freebies or Latest Free Stuff , which aggregate all the latest competitions you can enter. If you're a regular online surfer, you could get paid to click on adverts, visit websites, and open emails using websites such as Qmee and Inboxpounds. Qmee, for example, pays you when you search online. It works through a browser extension that pops up with a set of results each time you use an engine like Google or Amazon.

If clicked, you bank the money until you want to cash out. If you're interested in testing new products before they are launched - from food to the latest technology - you can get paid for giving your opinion on them. Rewards come in the form of either a cash payment or gift vouchers, and you should be told in advance how much you'll receive. There are a number of websites online that you can sign up to, including Paid Product Testing.

There are a plethora of free smartphone apps that can make you money, the more you use them. We tested eight of the most popular apps to explore how much you can expect to make. Find out more: smartphone apps that make you money - eight apps reviewed. Get money for buying products you were already going to buy by going through cashback sites such as Quidco and TopCashback. Find out more: cashback sites explained - we explain the benefits and the problems to watch out for.

Or watch the video below. They list common household groceries including milk, bread and porridge that will earn you some cashback if purchased. You just need to take a picture of your receipt and upload it to the app to bank the money for your food shop. Mystery shoppers are regularly used to test supermarkets, retailers, restaurants and hotels.

Register with Mystery Shoppers and Market Force to see what assignments they have going. You can register your room free of charge on sites such as Easyroommate and Spareroom. The room you want to rent will need to be furnished, and you'll need to get a tenancy agreement in place. Find out more: Rent-a-Room - more information about the tax-relief scheme. Mortgage Advisers can find and arrange the best deal for you. If you want to make money from renting your home on a more flexible basis, Airbnb could work for you.

It allows you to list a room, or your whole home, for a few nights to a week to travellers in search of a place to stay and set the rates. If you live close to a sporting or festival venue, you could cash in by renting your home out to fans or even participants. Edinburgh and Glastonbury festivals, as well as events at Wimbledon and Henley, could all provide such opportunities. If you don't mind driving around with a logo on your bonnet, you can make money by advertising on your car.

You could make hundreds of pounds a month through websites such as Carquids. Another great way of making use - and money - out of an empty room is by renting it out to foreign students needing a place to stay. Students could stay for a couple of days or up to a year, depending on the length of their course.

Find out more: Landlord responsibilities - a round-up of the duties that landlords need to fulfil. Registration tends to be free, although you may have to pay a commission of the total location hire fee - see sites like AmazingSpace for more.

Most demand is for large houses with big rooms and plenty of good parking, though all types of property are sought, from contemporary conversions to classic period homes. As with films and TV, renting out your home for photo shoots could be a great source of extra cash.

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Before investing, check the engine — especially the condition of the air-con condenser, cooling fan blades and radiator. And, as per any classic car investment, make sure that there's no rust in the jacking points and subframes in the body. Faye Fearon. If you want to dive in at the lower end of the Spider market, left-hand drive will mean lower pricing — but not by much.

The final S4 Spiders are half that and you get fuel injection, electric windows, power steering and limited slip differentials. Lower down the price range is the CS, which came with same big brakes, quicker steering rack, revised springs and 19in alloys - not to mention a manual gearbox too, rather than the CSL's SMG 'box. You get better brakes, suspension, and a slightly different feel to the whole car.

Built between and 75 it was the M3 of its day. They were brilliant, compact and had proper dynamics. The later series was a great car: incredibly fast but fatter. The —particularly the manuals, which made up about 10 per cent of sales- are the real thing. They made the Turbo S in tiny numbers. What I call the Canary Wharf set will really want them because those cars rang their bells when they were in their late thirties.

Now the spotlight is falling on the younger Astons, and the real movement has been in the V8 Vantages. Buyers who had these cars on their bedroom walls now might just be able to afford them — I say might because the late Eighties cars are rapidly accelerating out of reach.

Highest demand is for the powerful X Pack versions. What has that done to GT2 values? Brought them all up. Alternatively, you may prefer to sign up to an online investment service, typically called a robo-adviser, that assesses your risk and chooses an investment portfolio for you. In addition, don't forget about the price tag your investments come with.

Passive investments - those that simply track a given index like the FTSE - are generally cheaper than actively-managed funds, where a manager aims to beat the market benchmark. You should also aim to avoid fads. Jumping on a bandwagon because you think you will make quick money is not an investment it is a gamble. So, while it might be tempting to jump on the bandwagon and invest in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and other crytocurrencies tipped by your taxi driver to deliver eye-watering returns, remember that's not investing.

With this in mind, we've asked an expert in the field of consumer investing to provide some guidance to help you on your way. Holly MacKay of Boring Money says the first thing to think about is how long you wish to invest for. In the first week of February this year, global stockmarkets had a mini-meltdown although they have since made up some of the lost ground.

To take our example to its extreme, if you had invested for a week, you would have lost up to about 7 per cent. Pushing these timeframes out, if you invest in shares for only a year, it is perfectly normal to witness ups and downs which could see you lose out. The longer you invest for, the higher the odds that the stock market will do better than cash. A well-respected survey by Barclays reported that over any year period since stock markets began, you are 90 per cent more likely to have done better in shares than in cash.

The second question is What should I invest in? The key word here is invest not gamble. Shady stuff and not the basis of a new financial system! Back to the more tangible world of the stock market and behind all the boring jargon and waffle from investment firms, investing in shares is simply investing in human endeavour and initiative. A global shares fund could see you own a bit of Microsoft, Amazon, Heineken, Samsung and other giant brands. Shares are the most volatile type of mainstream investment and can jump up and down in value a lot.

Bonds basically IOUs from Governments and companies which pay investors some income for their loans are typically the more bland investment cousin and can be used by investors to turn the rollercoaster into a more sedate ride. Your third question is probably going to be about numbers. How much could I make? And how much could I lose? As a very loose rule of thumb I think you are doing well if a balanced portfolio of shares makes you about 5 per cent a year after fees.

Riskier smaller companies, or certain less developed markets can offer the potential better returns but with a large potential risk of loss. And what about a mixed bag of British names? Well the FTSE fell by nearly 30 per cent in but made the vast majority of this back in So you need to be prepared for these bad years which will come hopefully infrequently but they are an occasional fact of investing life.

How to be a successful investor is This is Money's easy to understand and jargon-free guide to the world of investing. You can download it here or by clicking on the button above. There are a plethora of DIY platforms as well as robo-advisers that facilitates investments but they don't all do the same things. Finally the last question might be, Sounds great Einstein, but how do I actually do this? A I have no idea so please can someone just do it all for me. B I have some idea of what Id like but need a bit of help.

C This is patronising, I know what I want and I want lots of choice. In the last month I have opened up test accounts with 28 investment providers online. If you fall into the category of the confused and just want someone to do it all for you, then I suggest you look at Nutmeg , Wealthify , UK-newcomer Wealthsimple or Vanguard.

Nutmeg has a simple quiz which will determine which one of their 10 ready-made investment baskets are right for you. It is one of the most pain-free ways to get a diversified global portfolio which is managed for you. And Wealthsimple is a big North American player which has some serious backers and a very different approach to the usual staid financial offerings. AJ Bell Youinvest is another solid, low-cost option with some ready-made options.

This is Money's independent round-up of the top DIY investing platforms can help you choose which might be right for you and our tool lets you compare costs for the amount you have to invest and how you will do it. Alternatively, if you prefer to go down the route of someone managing your money for you, we also look at the top robo-advisers and let you compare costs.

Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. How we can help Contact us. Think you know it all? With savings rates at a record low Car management app claims users can secure cover in under a minute - how does it compare to similar offerings? We booked advance 'non-refundable' train tickets to Edinburgh for December: Can we get a refund now Scotland has closed its borders? Get a free guide to investing. Low cost portfolios.

Toggle Search. Most watched Money videos The Shelby SuperCar Tuatara is the world's fastest road car Capabilities of Mini Urbanaut demonstrated in promo clip Torsus Praetorian: The 4x4 all-terrain off-road bus Bugatti shows off its new Bolide track car in impressive footage Land Rover Defender 90 in the British woodlands Kar-go Delivery Bot: UK's first autonomous electric delivery vehicle Renault reinvent The Lollipop Man to test for air pollution SF90 Spider: Ferrari's first hybrid-powered convertible supercar Ford unveils an electric transit van with a mile range An introduction to the online pensions dashboards How will stock markets handle a second wave of lockdowns?

UK's first autonomous electric delivery vehicle revealed. Estate agent Countrywide in turmoil as shareholders Meals on wheels: Celebrity chef Hugh Think you As rate cuts hit and the customer service Pets at Home profits boom as Britons turn to furry

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Holly MacKay of Boring Money says the first thing to think about is how long you wish to invest for. In the first week of February this year, global stockmarkets had a mini-meltdown although they have since made up some of the lost ground. To take our example to its extreme, if you had invested for a week, you would have lost up to about 7 per cent. Pushing these timeframes out, if you invest in shares for only a year, it is perfectly normal to witness ups and downs which could see you lose out.

The longer you invest for, the higher the odds that the stock market will do better than cash. A well-respected survey by Barclays reported that over any year period since stock markets began, you are 90 per cent more likely to have done better in shares than in cash. The second question is What should I invest in? The key word here is invest not gamble. Shady stuff and not the basis of a new financial system! Back to the more tangible world of the stock market and behind all the boring jargon and waffle from investment firms, investing in shares is simply investing in human endeavour and initiative.

A global shares fund could see you own a bit of Microsoft, Amazon, Heineken, Samsung and other giant brands. Shares are the most volatile type of mainstream investment and can jump up and down in value a lot. Bonds basically IOUs from Governments and companies which pay investors some income for their loans are typically the more bland investment cousin and can be used by investors to turn the rollercoaster into a more sedate ride.

Your third question is probably going to be about numbers. How much could I make? And how much could I lose? As a very loose rule of thumb I think you are doing well if a balanced portfolio of shares makes you about 5 per cent a year after fees. Riskier smaller companies, or certain less developed markets can offer the potential better returns but with a large potential risk of loss.

And what about a mixed bag of British names? Well the FTSE fell by nearly 30 per cent in but made the vast majority of this back in So you need to be prepared for these bad years which will come hopefully infrequently but they are an occasional fact of investing life. How to be a successful investor is This is Money's easy to understand and jargon-free guide to the world of investing.

You can download it here or by clicking on the button above. There are a plethora of DIY platforms as well as robo-advisers that facilitates investments but they don't all do the same things. Finally the last question might be, Sounds great Einstein, but how do I actually do this?

A I have no idea so please can someone just do it all for me. B I have some idea of what Id like but need a bit of help. C This is patronising, I know what I want and I want lots of choice. In the last month I have opened up test accounts with 28 investment providers online. If you fall into the category of the confused and just want someone to do it all for you, then I suggest you look at Nutmeg , Wealthify , UK-newcomer Wealthsimple or Vanguard.

Nutmeg has a simple quiz which will determine which one of their 10 ready-made investment baskets are right for you. It is one of the most pain-free ways to get a diversified global portfolio which is managed for you. And Wealthsimple is a big North American player which has some serious backers and a very different approach to the usual staid financial offerings.

AJ Bell Youinvest is another solid, low-cost option with some ready-made options. This is Money's independent round-up of the top DIY investing platforms can help you choose which might be right for you and our tool lets you compare costs for the amount you have to invest and how you will do it.

Alternatively, if you prefer to go down the route of someone managing your money for you, we also look at the top robo-advisers and let you compare costs. Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

How we can help Contact us. Think you know it all? With savings rates at a record low Car management app claims users can secure cover in under a minute - how does it compare to similar offerings? We booked advance 'non-refundable' train tickets to Edinburgh for December: Can we get a refund now Scotland has closed its borders?

Get a free guide to investing. Low cost portfolios. Toggle Search. Most watched Money videos The Shelby SuperCar Tuatara is the world's fastest road car Capabilities of Mini Urbanaut demonstrated in promo clip Torsus Praetorian: The 4x4 all-terrain off-road bus Bugatti shows off its new Bolide track car in impressive footage Land Rover Defender 90 in the British woodlands Kar-go Delivery Bot: UK's first autonomous electric delivery vehicle Renault reinvent The Lollipop Man to test for air pollution SF90 Spider: Ferrari's first hybrid-powered convertible supercar Ford unveils an electric transit van with a mile range An introduction to the online pensions dashboards How will stock markets handle a second wave of lockdowns?

UK's first autonomous electric delivery vehicle revealed. Estate agent Countrywide in turmoil as shareholders Meals on wheels: Celebrity chef Hugh Think you As rate cuts hit and the customer service Pets at Home profits boom as Britons turn to furry Global rally fires Dow Jones to 30, for the first time Mortgage prisoners find their freedom after being locked Home workers paying over the odds for insurance with TopCashback leaves online shoppers waiting more than a Comments 34 Share what you think.

View all. More top stories. You can choose a cash lifetime ISA or stocks and shares version. Premium Bonds give holders the chance to become a millionaire. The products mentioned in this article have been independently chosen by Times Money Mentor. This helps fund the website and keeps it free to use. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.

But how are you actually going to invest? This depends on your level of confidence, your appetite for risk and also how much time you have. This approach is really for those who are confident enough to buy and sell investments themselves.

A DIY investing platform allows you to build your own online portfolio and hold it in a tax-efficient wrapper, like an ISA or pension, or in a general investment account. You can choose your own shares or pick a fund and many platforms highlight which funds they think are the best.

They offer ready-made portfolios, including ISAs, pensions and investment accounts, and are simpler than the DIY option; you need only spend a small amount of time setting up the portfolio and then monitoring it every now and then. Robo-advice can be cheaper than the DIY approach as it cuts down on the individual buying and selling of shares, instead using economies of scale as your money is pooled with the cash from other investors.

However, if you really wanted to invest in a particular fund, or a particular company, you would need to take the DIY route. What your goal is and the timeframe that you are working to will affect what you pick up off the shelves and will drive the split between higher-risk investments, such as shares, and lower-risk assets like bonds.

If you do decide to go it alone, there are a number of investments you can pluck off the shelves. Diversification of your investments across different asset classes — shares or bonds, say — as well as different sectors and countries, can help level out any fluctuations or falls in prices in any one of these areas, and can enable you to structure your portfolio to weather the bad times and benefit from the good.

Markets go up and down, warns James Norton, senior investment planner at the online platform Vanguard, so investors should check their portfolio occasionally but only really make alterations if their circumstances change, or to rebalance their portfolio. Rebalancing might mean, for example, that if stock market prices fall, investors should take the opportunity to buy more shares for their money and position their portfolio to benefit when markets bounce back.

How often you review your portfolio is a very personal decision, says James Norton. The DIY investor should also understand that when making any changes there could be charges and tax implications. Checking and rebalancing your investments on a monthly basis would probably be more than sufficient, but at a minimum you should review on an annual basis.

The most important thing, says Wall, is to get started. We created Times Money Mentor to help you feel more confident about your cash. How-to guides Finance doesn't have to be complicated. Best buys From car insurance to ISAs, we've rated thousands of products to help you find the right one. Real-life stories We speak to people who have made smart choices with their money, and the tips they learnt along the way.

Investing basics. Investing a lump sum — rather than keeping it in a bank account — can help your money grow faster It can seem a scary prospect investing for the first time. What to think about first Remember: investing is a commitment, and so to reap the rewards you have to be in it for the long haul to ride out downturns in the stock market.

Still want to invest? What are your goals? How do you feel about risk? Pension If you are saving for retirement, the most obvious thing to consider is putting money in a pension. Looking for a simple, low-cost pension? Top rated ready-made personal pensions Our independent star ratings highlight the cheapest ready-made personal pensions. Halifax Halifax portfolio. Read next.

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