What is Investing?
It's actually pretty simple: investing means putting your money to work for you-actually, it's a different way to think about how to make money. Growing up, most of us were taught that you can earn an income only by getting a job and working. And so that's what most of us do. But there's a limit to how much we can work and how much money we make out of it-not to mention the fact that having a bunch of money is no fun if we don't have the leisure time to enjoy it.
So, since you cannot create a duplicate of yourself to increase your working time, you need to send an extension of yourself-your money-to work. That way, while you are putting in hours for your employer, sleeping, reading the paper, or socializing with friends, you can also be earning money elsewhere. Quite simply, making your money work for you maximizes your earning potential whether or not you receive a raise, decide to work overtime, or look for a higher-paying job.
There are many different ways you can go about making an investment. This includes putting money into stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate, gold etc. The point is that no matter the method you choose to invest, the goal is always to put your money to work so it earns you an additional profit. Even though this is a simple idea, it's the most important concept for you to understand.
Type of Investment
Equities are a type of security that represents the ownership in a company. Equities are traded (bought and sold) in stock markets. Alternatively, they can be purchased via the Initial Public Offering (IPO) route, i.e. directly from the company. Investing in equities is a good long-term investment option as the returns on equities over a long time horizon are generally higher than most other investment avenues. However, along with the possibility of greater returns comes greater risk.
A mutual fund allows a group of people to pool their money together and have it professionally managed, in keeping with a predetermined investment objective. This investment avenue is popular because of its cost-efficiency, risk-diversification, professional management and sound regulation. You can invest as little as Rs. 1,000 per month in a mutual fund. There are various general and thematic mutual funds to choose from and the risk and return possibilities vary accordingly.
Bonds are fixed income instruments which are issued for the purpose of raising capital. Both private entities, such as companies, financial institutions, and the central or state government and other government institutions use this instrument as a means of garnering funds. Bonds issued by the Government carry the lowest level of risk but could deliver fair returns.
Investing in bank or post-office deposits is a very common way of securing surplus funds. These instruments are at the low end of the risk-return spectrum.
These are relatively safe and highly liquid investment options. Treasury bills and money market funds are cash equivalents.
With the ever-increasing cost of land, real estate has come up as a profitable investment proposition.
The 'yellow metal' is a preferred investment option, particularly when markets are volatile. Today, beyond physical gold, a number of products which derive their value from the price of gold are available for investment. These include gold futures and gold exchange traded funds.
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