You can invest your money in different types of Investment instruments. These instruments can be financial or non-financial in nature. There are many factors that affect your choice of investment. Millions of Indians buy fixed deposits, post office savings certificates, stocks, bonds or mutual funds, purchase gold, silver, or make similar investments. They all have a reasons for investing their money. Some people want to supplement their retirement income when they reach the age of 60, while others want to become millionaires before the age of 40. We will look at various factors that affect our choice of an investment alternative in another article, let us first understand the basics of some of the popular investment avenues.
Equities : 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.
Mutual funds : 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 : 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.
Deposits : 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.
Cash equivalents : These are relatively safe and highly liquid investment options. Treasury bills and money market funds are cash equivalents.
Real estate : With the ever-increasing cost of land, real estate has come up as a profitable investment proposition.
Gold : 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.