Making an investment plan

It’s easier to find the best home for your savings and investments with a plan. With a plan you know how much to save, and can keep track of progress.

Step 1 – Complete a money fact find

Top tip

The three steps to successful investing:

1. Fact find.

2. Make your plan.

3. Take action.

Before you can make a plan, you need to take stock - identify your needs and goals and work out how much you can save.

If you don’t have this information already, we can help you do a ‘quick check’ or a more detailed money fact find.

Step 2 – Make your investment plan

Drawing on the information from your money fact find, your investment plan should set out:

  • Your investment goals and what types of savings and investments might be suitable for achieving them, taking into account your timeframes, financial situation, risk appetite and tax position.
  • What kind of returns you need and can reasonably expect
  • The level of product charges you’re willing to pay
  • How much you want to manage your plan yourself and any adviser fees you’re willing to pay
  • How often you want to check how your investments are doing and under what circumstances you’ll make changes

Example

Here’s an example of what the first steps in making an investment plan might look like. It shows the key elements you would want to get into your plan.

Jane is 35 with a three-year-old son.

Lump sum available to invest: £20,000

Monthly amount available to invest: £500

Build up an emergency fund of 3 months essential outgoings

Timeframe (access my money): > 5 years (short term)

Features I’m looking for: Easy access; no risk to capital

Risk appetite: Low

Products to consider: Instant access accounts

Start saving for retirement

Timeframe (access my money): > 10 years (long term)

Features I’m looking for: Long term growth; tax efficient

Risk appetite: High

Products to consider: Pensions (check my employer pension scheme first); Stocks and shares ISA

Have enough to fund higher education

Timeframe (access my money): > 10 years (long term)

Features I’m looking for: Long term growth; available on specific date

Risk appetite: Medium

Products to consider: Stocks and shares or cash ISA; fixed term deposits; mixed asset or managed funds; fund gilts

Save £15,000 for a deposit to buy a flat

Timeframe (access my money): 5-10 years (med term)

Features I’m looking for: High interest; tax efficient; locked away

Risk appetite: Low

Products to consider: Savings Bonds; Cash ISA

Jane still needs to make decisions about how much she is going to save towards each goal, and this will influence her choice of saving and investment products. She wants to keep costs down but is going to consider getting some independent financial advice about the best way to save a fund to help her son through university or an apprenticeship when he is older.

Your plan

Armed with information like Jane you can start looking for suitable products. To help with making choices read our guides below:

Getting financial advice

There are lots of investments to choose from. You may find it helpful to get independent financial advice before you buy.

Step 3 – Action

Once you’ve compared what’s available it’s time to act on your plan. Check that the products you are looking at will give you good diversification.

How to buy cash savings products

Comparison websites are a good starting point for anyone trying to find a savings account tailored to their needs.

We recommend the following websites for comparing savings accounts:

Remember:

  • Comparison websites won’t all give you the same results, so make sure you use more than one site before making a decision.
  • It is also important to do some research into the type of product and features you need before making a purchase or changing supplier.
  • Find out more in our guide to comparison sites.

How to buy investments

The online world means it’s much easier than it used to be to buy, sell, and manage investments yourself if you want to. But, if you’re unsure about doing it yourself, it’s best to get help from a financial adviser. To find out more about your different options for implementing your investment plan, follow the link below.

Stick with your investments but review regularly

All investments carry some risks and you may see short-term losses in value, but remember, you don’t actually lose or gain anything until you sell the investment. While you should generally stay invested for the planned term, it’s a good idea to review things at least once a year – either by yourself or with help from your financial adviser.

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