How to start investing

Chris Torney / 18 January 2016 ( 30 October 2018 )

Do you want to invest your money? Not sure where to start?

If you want to invest in the stock market, you have a number of options. 

Read Annie Shaw's guide to common investment mistakes.

The most direct way is by buying shares in individual companies, but you can also put money into investment funds that hold a much wider portfolio of shares or other assets.

Buying shares

To put money into shares, you need the help of a stockbroker or share-dealing service. There are a number of online firms that now offer low trading fees, but check in advance how much you will be charged.

What is investment risk? Read our guide.

You may face charges for inactivity – that is, periods when you aren’t buying or selling — and people who make more frequent trades may get charged less per trade.

Check that any stockbroker or share-dealing service you are considering is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Curious about what Saga Share Direct can offer you? Find out more today...

Investment funds

If you want to invest in a wider range of companies, you can choose an investment fund, such as a unit trust or investment trust. Such funds are run by expert managers who decide on their investors’ behalf when to buy and sell shares.

You can put money into funds directly through the fund manager, although it is often cheaper to do so by using an investment platform or “fund supermarket”.

Funds come with a range of fees, such as initial charges and ongoing annual management fees, so check what these are going to be before you invest.

Could you be sitting on a fortune?

As well as the fees, look at the other information about the fund listed in the Key Facts or Key Investor Information documents: this should tell you what type of shares or assets the fund invests in, and whether it is considered high-, medium- or low-risk.

Again, any company you do business with should be listed in the FCA’s register. Find out in advance how you can keep tabs on your investment, and whether you will face any charges for cashing it in.

Saga Possibilities members can benefit from great offers and exclusive events. Find out more

Watch out for scams

Criminals and conmen frequently set up dodgy investment firms to persuade people to part with their money. 

In some cases, this will be to invest in unsuitable, high-risk ventures – for example, overseas land purchases – while in the worst cases, the fraudsters will simply take your money and disappear.

Beware of being contacted with an “investment opportunity” out of the blue, and be particularly cautious if you feel someone is putting pressure on you to make a quick decision.

If you are suspicious or just unsure about how an investment works, either seek advice or walk away.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.