Investing usually means saving for the longer term, so that you can grow your money and be able to afford something in the future, for example your retirement, or your children's education. Most investments involve an element of risk, but over the long term they also tend to give you better growth than savings or deposit accounts
When you compare investment products, you should consider two key factors:
• Risks involved - most investments do not give you a capital guarantee. How much of your original capital could be at risk? Is there a risk of poor returns? Is there inflation risk?
• The likely return - risk and return go hand in hand, so as a general rule the lower the risk the lower the rate of return you should expect. With longer-term and higher-risk products, you can expect higher potential returns, but these are not guaranteed and you could lose some or all of your money. You need to consider carefully the effect of this on your financial situation.
When choosing an investment product, you should ask:
• What balance of risk and return are you looking for? The higher the risk, the higher the potential returns should be.
• What is the minimum recommended term of the investment? If it's a long-term investment, can I afford to tie up my money for that long?
• Will you have to pay additional charges if you withdraw your money early?
• How much of your original investment is secure, if any? If the product includes guarantees, what exactly do they cover and what conditions are attached?
• What happens to your investment if you die?
• How can you find out how your investment is performing?
WARNING: Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance
WARNING: The value of your Investment may go down as well as up
WARNING: Investment funds may be affected by changes in currency exchange rates