Top tips to make you a smarter investor
Complex Made Simple

Top tips to make you a smarter investor

Top tips to make you a smarter investor

You don't need to be a Warren Buffett or a Prince Alwaleed to manage your investments better. And the hotter months are a good time to undergo a personal financial review, and to consider whether you are really doing the best that you can.

    But take the first tip from Warren Buffet who realised decades ago that paying out small fees on a continuous basis for the management of any investment can get very expensive over time. For even a fraction of a percentage point can roll up into a large sum over 20 years.

    This is actually true of daily life. Have you ever noticed that richer people tend to be more careful with money than poorer people? It is that habit, perhaps, that made the rich in the first place. Treat money will contempt and it with return the compliment.

    That does not mean that you need to worry about picking up every one dirham coin from the floor, even when, like Buffett, the time taken is worth more than the monetary gain.

    Compounding savings

    Indeed, his point is that small recurring costs are not small as they grow into bigger and bigger amounts, not that you should count the pennies. This is how financial empires have been built by bankers over time.

    So hunt out bargains in all things, and try to avoid regular fee payments on investments. But spotting investment bargains is not easy. Very often by the time you spot what looks to be a bargain the best time to buy has past.

    Buffett says 'stick to what you know' and in his case that has meant ignoring the entire technology investment cycle of the past few decades. He just bought into businesses under top management at good prices where he could see the forward profits clearly, and stayed with them.

    There is also no short-cut to doing your own research. It is not that difficult these days. The Internet has a huge amount of investment advice available at the touch of a button. It is the ultimate aid to self-education.

    And that is the skill you need to hone if you are ever going to out perform the crowd. That is the trouble with mutual fund investing, you join the crowd and it is impossible to achieve above average performance by just following everybody else. Think about it! Yet that is what most of us do in managing our portfolios.

    Net research

    The Internet is also great for shopping for financial services. How many clicks does it take to find the best mortgage product? Or the best insurance or the best deal available on a credit card? Just use the Google search to compare the deals online.

    For the typical investor Buffett recommends paying into a low-cost mutual fund over time. This means that you will avoid putting all your money into stocks at the top or bottom of the market, and keep maintenance fees down. The money will compound over time.

    Buying a property on a mortgage instead of paying rent is also an excellent idea for most people, but there are periods when property becomes overvalued and it is better to wait in rented property.

    This approach requires patience and it is true that emotions are probably the biggest barrier to good investment decisions. But you will need to save and invest one way or another. There are no magic solutions or everybody would be rich!

    See also:
    Is Prince Alwaleed's IPO another signal of a global market top?
    Warren Buffett watching for investment tips
    AMEinfo Staff

    AMEinfo staff members report business news and views from across the Middle East and North Africa region, and analyse global events impacting the region today.

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