Stay one step ahead with investment planning.

Once we’re into the New Year, the next financial year will come around before we know it, so use this time to plan next year’s investment strategy so you’re fully informed, focused and ready for what lies ahead.

A good place to start is to review your past investments and proactively analyse your existing portfolio.  What you learn will help inform your future investment plans.

What is it you want or need your investment portfolio to achieve?  Focused life goals are key to making sure you’re going in the right direction.   Goals could be short, medium or long term, but if you don’t set them in the first place, you won’t know if you’re on the right track or whether you’ve ultimately achieved them.  Either way, identifying your goal is the first step to working out what you need to do to achieve it.

Will your current investments and funds enable you to achieve those goals?  Be honest.  Take into account your age, earning capacity, career trajectory, do your own financial health check, what level of risk are you willing to take and what sort of time frame are you working towards? How long can you afford to wait before dividends pay out or is yours a more long-term plan?

Are your previous investments aligned to your life goals? Whether you decide to alter or increase your investment allocation or just top-up the premium you pay for your insurance cover, your current situation and that of the future may have differed since you first set up your investment portfolio. It might be the right time to de-risk your investments or move funds from debt to equity to increase potential returns.

Have you allowed enough time to get the right tax advice?  Getting the right tax advice is crucial when you’re financial planning, so make sure you give yourself time to research, discuss and plan tax implications with your financial adviser, to avoid any unexpected surprises.  Hasty investment decisions made with the premise of saving tax at the end of the financial year can be counterproductive. By estimating your income for the financial year and investing in a tax-efficient way you’re more likely to optimise returns and achieve those goals you set yourself.

Are your investments affected by the recent budget?  With the recent budget announcement, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your existing investment plan and review your tax-saving strategy to take into account the impact of the new investment tax structure.

Are your payments and health protected?  Part of your investment planning should include reviewing your risk cover, medical insurance and a health insurance plan for you and your loved ones. If you invest in a Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP) you not only benefit from life cover but also from an equity market investment in the longer term.  With many new plans being cost effective, they could also add value to your investment.

If you forecast what you intend to add to your investments over the coming 12 months, you can spread the outlay evenly over the period, reducing big fluctuations on your day to day spend.

So, to recap, review last year’s investment performance, learn from any mistakes, set yourself some achievable goals and make sure you’ve taken time and advice for an investment plan to suit you.

The value of investments and the income they produce can fall as well as rise. You may get back less than you invested.