In Depth

What is the best way to invest £20,000?

When working out what to do with your nest egg, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Here is how to start investing your money without risk.

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It can be hard to know what to do with your money - and newspapers are full of stories about frauds and scammers preying on inexperienced investors to cheat them out of their savings.

Wealthier people can simply go to a financial adviser. But a lot of advisers have begun turning people away unless they have a sizeable amount to invest. Because of the way advisers are required to charge their clients, they simply don’t find it profitable to spend time working out a proper investment portfolio for investors with smaller sums.

So what can you do with your nest egg? There are some online do-it-yourself options, but those often give you so many choices that they’re more of a hindrance than a help. You need someone to advise you, and somewhere straightforward to put your money so it will start working for you.

Thankfully, some Wealth Management firms have identified this “advice gap” and are rushing to fill it - such as Charles Stanley, which has been offering investment services for more than two centuries.

With its newly launched Personal Portfolio Service, Charles Stanley helps you access the right options. Unlike online “robo advice” services, it offers advice in the form of a conversation with a human being.

“Our aim is to make a difference to smaller investors who need some help to invest and want to speak to real people,” says Christopher Aldous, Head of Asset Management at Charles Stanley. “With the Personal Portfolio Service, investors can access a personal service, advice when they require it and investments that aim to grow by more than inflation - all for an affordable price.

“When you decide you are ready to invest, one of the first things to consider is how much investment risk you feel comfortable taking on. Remember, the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back what you originally invested. Your money buys investments in the hope that they will rise in price so you can sell them later at a higher value, or hold on to them and benefit from any income they generate.

What this means, though, is that the value of investments can, and frequently will, go down as well as up. But don’t worry, because here is where the advice bit comes in. Charles Stanley’s advisers will help you decide what level of risk is right for you, and which of its five specially constructed funds best fits your needs.

A cautious fund, for example, will put more of your money into investments such as corporate and government bonds whose value tends to rise and fall relatively sedately. A riskier fund, on the other hand, will aim for higher returns by investing in more volatile assets such as emerging market equities.

The more risk you take on, the higher your potential investment returns but also the higher your potential loss. The other big question once you’ve decided on your risk appetite is where exactly your money should be going. Different geographical areas such as the UK, US and emerging markets (countries including Russia, India and China) behave differently, and different company types and sizes come with their own benefits and risks.

The Charles Stanley multi-asset funds use a precise allocation of assets to meet the needs of investors, who can invest £20,000 or more. Not only do the funds benefit from a balance of assets suited to a specific risk level, but they also bring another important element of investing: diversification.

Not all investment types go up and down at the same time. By holding a wide selection of assets, you could receive some protection from market shocks. For example, a plunge in US stock markets wouldn’t be so bad if they only made up a section of your portfolio, and other assets rose during that same period.

So when it comes to the time to invest, remember: think about how much investment risk you are comfortable taking on and how much money you can afford to lose. Think about how much return you want or need. Be sure to think about diversification, too - carrying your eggs in multiple baskets means that you are much less likely to break them all. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. With Charles Stanley’s Personal Portfolio Service, advice from real humans is just a phone call away.

Find out more: Charles-stanley.co.uk/personal-portfolio-service

The value of investments can go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amount they originally invested. Charles Stanley & Co. Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and a member of the London Stock Exchange. Registered in England No. 1903304, Registered office: 55 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 3AS.

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