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The following article was written by Sonia Speedy and published by Orange in their Money section on the 22 June 2008.
Ever fancied presiding over your own share portfolio but don’t know where to start? Well, you’re not alone. A survey conducted last year by Timetotrade - a website that helps private investors and investment clubs manage their investment affairs - revealed that 70% of people would like to invest in the stock market. However, a lack of investment education and market knowledge were cited as the main reasons for not investing so far.
Join the club
Investment clubs can offer a gentle introduction to the share market for newbie investors. Not only can it be a good social outing but these clubs allow members to pool their experience, knowledge, common sense and money to invest. For further information on share clubs, including help finding one and also on investing in general, see ProShare Investment Clubs; or the Share Centre
For those planning to go it alone for the first time, Jo Roberts of Needanadviser.com says you need to make sure you only invest money you can afford to lose.
She describes investing in individual shares by yourself as high risk – particularly because it can be difficult to buy enough shares to spread the risk involved adequately. Roberts recommends investing in collective funds – where investor money is pooled and then invested by a professional – as a lower risk option.
However, if you want to try investing yourself for the first time, Roberts suggests looking to big name companies with proven track records, particularly those in the FTSE100. She adds that you should try to spread the investment across as many different sectors of the share market as possible.
Debbie Spinks and David Elkins are two individuals who have seen the best and the worst of what the share market has to offer. We reveal what they’ve learned along the way.
Debbie, an air traffic controller from Brighton, only began share trading a couple of years ago. Her portfolio has an American focus and includes companies such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard, with the doughnuts the icing on the cake.
“The theory really is that these are companies that even if they took a 10% knock, they’re still going to be there next year, they’re still going to be there in 10 years’ time,” she says.
“They all meet the same criteria – they’ve got rock-solid, proven financial records, they don’t have much debt, they’ve got a lot of cash and they’ve made money consistently over the past five years.”
But Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is her wild card.
Icing on the doughnut
“It can’t be all about being terribly serious and boring and I wanted something that didn’t fit the criteria,” Debbie says.
“Krispy Kreme’s share price dropped by $10 a couple of years ago and they weren’t doing very well and I thought, ‘Oh, I really, really like Krispy Kreme Donuts’ – and I just could not resist the urge to buy some. And actually it’s done very well for me.”
Initially a sceptic about share market investment, Debbie started off by doing a course to learn the basics and then stumped up £2,000 to invest – money she says she was prepared to lose.
She is also part of the investment club Sensatus, in which she invests £50 a month.
So far she estimates her portfolio is up around 15% overall and her aim is to build up enough from her personal investing to pay for her wedding at some point in the future.
Debbie’s tasty investing morsels
• Learn about investing before you begin, either by going on a course or researching on the web.
• Try “pretend trading” for six months before you start. See the Share Centre for details.
• Keep a clear record of your trades, so that you can’t kid yourself about losses. Debbie uses Timetotrade to do this.
• Be methodical and keep the emotion out of decisions. “Put the brakes on and don’t get too excited,” she says.
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