Determining your reasons for investing now will help you work out your investment goals and influence how you manage your investments in future.

Decide on how long you can invest

If you’re investing with a goal in mind, you’ve probably got a date in mindtoo. If you’ve got a few goals, some may be further away in time than others, so you’ll probablyhavedifferentstrategiesforyour different investments. Investments rise and fall in value, so it’s sensible to use cash savings for your short-term goals and invest for your longer-termgoals.

Short term

Mostinvestmentsneedatleastafive-year commitment.Butthereareotheroptionsif youdon’twanttoinvestforthislong,such as cashsavings.

Medium term

If you can commit your money for atleast five years, a selection of investments might suit you. Your investments make up your ‘portfolio’ and couldcontain

a mix of funds investing in shares, bonds and other assets, or a mixture of these, which are carefully selected and monitored for performance by professional fund managers.

Long term

Let’s say you start investing for your retirement when you’re fairly young. Youmight have 20 or 30 years before you need to start drawing money from your investments. With time on your side, you might consider riskier funds that can offer the chance of bigger returns in exchange for an increased risk of losing your money.

As you get closer to retirement, you might sell off some of these riskier investments and move to safer options with the aim of protecting your investments and their returns. How much time you’ve got to work with will have a big impact on the decisionsyoumake.Asageneralrule,the longeryouholdinvestments,thebetter the chance they’ll outperform cash – but there can never be a guarantee of this.