Superannuation is a crucial part of Australia's retirement savings system, designed to provide financial security…
In today’s ever-changing and challenging financial landscape, it’s essential to explore various options to grow and protect your wealth – this includes investing your finances.
In this article, we will explore seven different investment vehicles to help diversify your portfolio. We’ll briefly cover traditional, alternative, and impact investment options that suit various risk tolerances and preferences.
What are the different investment options?
The Importance of Investing
Investing may seem intimidating, especially for beginners, but it’s crucial for achieving financial goals like buying a house, funding your children’s education, or planning for retirement. As an Australian, superannuation is an essential part of your wealth-building strategy, but additional investments can further enhance your financial security.
By investing, you can potentially earn higher returns compared to a savings account, grow your wealth, protect it from inflation, and secure long-term financial stability. Diversifying your investments across asset classes can also help manage risk and avoid over-relying on a single investment.
And from a broader perspective, investing not only builds personal wealth but also contributes to economic growth through job creation and innovation, benefiting both you and the Australian economy.
What are the different investment options?
From traditional investment options like shares and bonds to alternative and impact investment options, there’s something for every investor’s preferences and risk tolerance. Let’s dive into these different investment vehicles and find the best fit for your financial journey.
Traditional investment options are the cornerstone of many investment portfolios and have been helping investors grow their wealth for decades. These investment vehicles typically include shares, bonds, and managed funds, which can provide a solid foundation for your investment plan.
Also known as stocks or equities, shares represent partial ownership in a company. When you buy shares, you in turn become a shareholder and stand to gain from the company’s growth and profits. Shares can offer long-term growth potential, dividend income, and tax advantages, such as in the form of franking credits. However, keep in mind that the stock market can be volatile, so you’ll need to be prepared for the ups and downs.
To invest in shares, you can speak to your financial adviser, seek assistance from a professional stockbroker, or open an online brokerage account and trade on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). Remember to research companies and industries before investing, and consider diversifying your holdings to reduce risk. Blue-chip stocks, for example, are shares in large, well-established companies with a history of stable earnings and dividend payments. The general consensus is that investing in these companies can provide a more stable foundation for your portfolio.
Bonds are debt securities issued by governments, corporations, or other entities to raise funds. When you buy a bond, you’re essentially lending money to the issuer, who agrees to pay you interest and return your principal at the bond’s maturity date. Bonds are generally considered lower risk than shares, making them suitable for conservative investors.
You can invest in bonds through a brokerage account, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that focus on bonds, or managed funds. Government bonds, such as Australian Government Bonds (also known as AGBs or “Aussie Bonds”), are particularly popular for their low risk and steady income. Corporate bonds, on the other hand, offer higher potential returns but carry a higher risk than government bonds.
A managed fund pools money from different investors to buy a diverse range of assets like shares, bonds, and property. By investing in a managed fund, you can easily diversify your portfolio without having to buy individual assets yourself. This can help spread your risk and potentially improve your returns.
You can invest in managed funds through a financial adviser, an online platform, or directly with the fund manager. Be sure to consider the fund’s fees and performance history before investing. Additionally, you might want to explore index funds, which are a type of mutual fund that aims to replicate the performance of a specific market index, like the ASX 200.
Alternative Investment Options
Alternative Investment Options provide investors with unique opportunities to diversify their portfolios beyond traditional asset classes. These options, such as real estate and commodities, offer potential growth and income generation, while also adding variety to your investment strategy. However, note that they can be riskier than traditional investments.
Investing in property is a popular option in Australia, and for good reason. Real estate can provide capital growth (as property values increase over time) and rental income. However, investing in property can also come with some challenges, like the costs of maintenance, stamp duty, and insurance. Real estate can also be illiquid, meaning it might take time to sell a property when you need to access your funds. Moreover, property values and rental income can be affected by market conditions and economic factors.
You can invest in real estate directly by buying a property or indirectly through real estate investment trusts (REITs) or managed funds. REITs, also known as Australian Real Estate Investment Trusts (A-REITs) or Listed Property Trusts (LPTs), are publicly traded companies that own, operate, or finance income-generating real estate properties. They can be a more accessible and diversified way to invest in property compared to buying a property outright.
Commodities are raw materials like metals, energy, and agricultural products. Investing in commodities can help diversify your portfolio and provide a hedge against inflation. However, the prices of commodities can be volatile and influenced by factors like supply, demand, and global events.
You can invest in commodities through futures contracts, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or shares in companies that produce or trade commodities. Just be aware that investing in commodities can be complex and may not suit everyone. For example, you could consider investing in gold through an ETF, as gold is often viewed as a safe-haven asset during periods of economic uncertainty.
Impact Investment Options
Impact Investment Options empower investors to make a positive impact on society and the environment while also seeking financial returns. With options like Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Investing, you can align your investment choices with your values and contribute to a better world.
Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)
Socially responsible investing (SRI) is all about investing in companies that align with your values and ethical beliefs. For example, you might choose to invest in companies that focus on environmental sustainability, fair labour practices, or community development.
In Australia, there are several SRI funds and ETFs available, making it easy to invest in socially responsible companies. By choosing SRI, you can potentially make a positive impact with your investments while also growing your wealth. Keep in mind, however, that SRI funds may exclude certain industries or sectors, which could affect your portfolio’s diversification and performance.
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Investing
ESG investing is similar to SRI but focuses on companies that perform well in environmental, social, and governance aspects. These companies are believed to be better positioned for long-term success, as they’re more likely to manage risks effectively and seize opportunities in a rapidly changing world.
To invest in ESG companies, you can look for ESG-focused funds or ETFs or research individual companies that score highly on ESG factors. By choosing ESG investments, you can support companies that are committed to making a positive impact and promoting sustainable practices. ESG investing may also lead to long-term financial benefits, as research has shown that companies with strong ESG performance can outperform their peers in the long run.
We’ve covered seven different types of investment options to help you grow your finances and achieve your goals. Remember that it’s essential to diversify your portfolio and choose investments that align with your goals, risk tolerance, time horizon, and values. If you’re unsure where to start, consider talking with a financial adviser to help you make well-informed decisions about your money.
As you explore these various investment options, you’ll likely find that combining different types of investments can provide a more balanced and resilient portfolio. For example, you could invest in a mix of shares, bonds, real estate, and commodities to create a diverse and well-rounded investment strategy.
Finally, keep in mind that it’s essential to monitor and periodically re-evaluate your investments to ensure they continue to align with your financial goals and risk tolerance. As your life circumstances change or as market conditions shift, you may need to adjust your investment strategy to stay on track.
By understanding the different investment options available and building a diversified portfolio, you’ll be well on your way to growing your wealth and achieving your financial goals.
Ready to Build an Investment Portfolio?
While investing can seem complicated and time-consuming, it doesn’t have to be that way with knowledge and expert guidance. Whether you’re young or old, it’s never too late to start investing for your future.
Need investment advice? Newcastle Financial Planning Group is here to help you tailor your investment plan and build your portfolio. Our financial advice team can help you establish direction for your investments to achieve your financial and lifestyle goals.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author; they are not reflective or indicative of RI Advice Group’s position and are not to be attributed to RI Advice Group. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author. This information (including taxation) is general in nature and does not consider your individual circumstances or needs. Do not act until you seek professional advice. Newcastle Financial Planning Group, Central Coast Financial Planning Group, Sydney Wealth Advisers, Coastal Advice Port Macquarie and Coastal Advice Ballina Byron are subsidiaries of Coastal Advice Group Pty Ltd which is a Corporate Authorised Representative of RI Advice Group Pty Ltd, ABN 23 001 774 125 AFSL 238429.