Investing and me

People start investing for lots of reasons. Everyone is different. Your journey will be personal to you but sometimes it can help to tap into the experience of others. 

Here we’ll look at the experiences of five characters. They’re made up, but they’re based on the experiences real people have. We hope you’ll find them helpful and thought provoking.

As you read on, remember that the value of investments goes up and down and you can get back less than you put in. If you’re definitely looking to access your money within five years and don’t want to or can’t take the risk of losing any of it, investing may not be right for you.

Not sure what investing is? Find out now 

 

Chen, 48: 

I’ve got a pension at work and have always been good at saving. But I hadn’t thought about getting into investing myself until a few years ago. That’s when I found out that a couple of friends are actually quite in to it. 

At the time I’d built up a decent amount of cash in a savings account that wasn’t paying much interest, and my friends got me thinking that maybe it was worth taking a risk with some of it. Sometimes you’ve got to take a bit of risk to get the rewards, right?

I found out there are people out there who will give you professional advice about investing over the internet. To me, it didn’t cost that much in the general scheme of things, so that’s what I went for and it helped me decide if I was really ready to invest, and then where to put my money. 

Prices rise. Can your savings keep up?

I started by putting in some of my savings. It was money I knew I wouldn’t need for a while so it felt OK to take some risks with it. 

That’s gone fine so far, so I’m now thinking about putting in a bit more and maybe adding to it each month as well.  It’s all money I feel I can afford to put aside and the main thing for me is that I feel like I’m doing something positive for my future.

And you never know, if things go my way I might put it towards a big trip to America. I’ve always wanted to explore and do a few months on the road there. That would be amazing.

 

Emma, 26:

I‘m closer to 30 than 20 now and it just feels like I should be making plans. 

I recently changed job so I’m earning a bit more than before. They put me into a pension, which I’m fine with, and I’m not that in to the whole consumer spending thing – you know, clothes, shoes, make-up, keeping up with the latest gadget trends. 

I think that’s why I don’t have any expensive debts. So I thought, why not? I can actually afford to put a bit into investments each month.  And I can always stop paying in or sell some if I need to use that money for other things in future.

It’s early days, and I don’t check it too often because I know investments go down and up all the time and you usually have to keep them for quite a while.  

That’s fine with me though. I feel better just knowing I’ve made a start on looking after myself for the future. 

It’s all about long term flexibility for me – being able to use what’s in my pot whenever I need to for something that might really matter to me in the future, like buying a house or supporting kids. 

Could investing regular amounts work for you? 

 

Javier, 35:

I’ve got three kids under 6 and for me, investing’s about providing for their future. I want them to have the best life possible. To have choices, you know. They’re the priority for me. 

It’s a horrible thing to think about, but I’ve already got insurance to help look after them if anything happens to me. I’m lucky enough to have a cash ISA, too, that’s able to cover us for any short-term emergencies. 

I found out about stocks and shares ISAs a few years back. They let you invest in the stock market, and once I’d got my head around what that involved I started one with a bonus I got. 

That’s the real focus for the kids’ future – I know investments can go down and up but with interest rates so low I wouldn’t feel I was giving them their best shot by just sticking with a savings account.

For now I’m adding whatever I can to the stocks and shares ISA each month – plus extra lump sums whenever I have the opportunity to. The plan is to build up over time. 

Once the kids are a bit older and we’re not paying for nursery and child care, that’ll hopefully make a big difference to what I can invest. 

What’s an ISA and how could you benefit?

 

Adam, 45:

Investing’s an important part of my life – it’s almost become a hobby. 

I set up a stocks and shares ISA when they first launched – my gran had left me some money and I’d always been interested in the stock markets so I saw that as an opportunity to get my foot on the ladder. 

Now I pay into it every month and if I get a bonus, at least some of that goes in there too. 

I’m careful to pick different types of investments so I’m not over-committed in any area. And I love knowing I don’t pay tax on any growth. 

I’ve got a pension too, through work. The tax relief you get on pensions is great, so each year I have a good think about how much to put into my ISA compared to my pension. 

My ISA’s online so I can keep track of things easily. I can check on how my investments are performing and buy or sell whenever I like. 

There have been a few nerve wracking moments over the years with market ups and downs and a few of the decisions I made, but I’m ok with taking a few risks. I don’t need the money right now – it’s about how things go over the longer term, and I feel like I’m doing quite well for myself overall.  

The big dream is to retire by the time I’m 60 – and with enough money to really enjoy it. 

Consider investing for yourself through Santander

 

Sarah, 62:

I’ve saved since I was young and that’s how I managed to open my coffee shop. I had a lot of expenses in the early days and didn’t make much money, but once I got more established and had some savings behind me, I started investing what I could.

I put some money in a pension and some in a stocks and shares ISA every year. How much depended on how good a year it was, but it was always a comfort to think I had a bit of a financial safety net if the business didn’t succeed. 

I worked hard though, and it did. I actually sold up a few years back so that I could start slowing down and have more time to myself. 

I got an adviser involved then, to help me make the most of the money I’d got for the coffee shop. 

He suggested I invest some of it too and between that, my pension and my ISA I’m now looking forward to retirement. I won’t be sitting around though. I’ve got lots of plans and they don’t include running out of money any time soon. 

Could Santander’s Financial Planning Service be for you?

Please remember

The value of investments goes up and down and you can get back less than you put in. 

If you’re definitely looking to access your money within five years and don’t want to or can’t take the risk of losing any of it, investing may not be right for you.

Tax rules can change at any time and how they affect you always depends on your individual circumstances.