Your financial goals
Your first step as an investor is to decide what you want to accomplish with your money and when you want to accomplish it.
Your investment objectives are part of your personal investment strategy. They help you to select the right investment products and the right mix of assets to meet your financial goals.
What do you need from your investment portfolio, and when do you need it?
You may have many financial goals—to make a down payment on a house in two years, to help pay for your children's education in ten years, and then to prepare for your retirement fifteen years after that. You might already be retired and simply want your money to earn a reasonable return and provide a reliable source of income for many years to come. Whatever your situation, take a few minutes to sit down and think about where you are now financially, and where you want to be in the future.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- How much money do you have to invest now?
- Will your employment income allow you to invest additional money in the future? How much? Are you confident it will continue?
- What are your monthly financial obligations? How much do those obligations change from month-to-month or year-to-year?
- Do you have other valuable assets that will play a role in your financial future?
- Do you have outstanding debts that you would like to pay off?
- Do you have any big expenses coming up in the near future?
- Do you plan to make any major purchases in the future?
- Do you need money from your investments each month to supplement your regular income? If so, how much?
- Do you have dependents to care for? How will their needs change over time?
- Have you considered your life and property insurance requirements?
- Do you have important income tax considerations?
- Do you have a retirement savings plan or registered pension plan?
- Do you expect to inherit money at any point in the future?
- How much money would you like to have readily available in case of emergency?
Use the Worksheet for your financial plan to start working through what’s important to you as an investor.
If you are a younger investor with a stable income, you may decide that your primary investment objective is to grow your assets over a longer period. If you are approaching retirement, you are probably more interested in ensuring that your assets are safe. If you are already retired, you most likely count on your investments to provide a regular, reliable income.
A good financial advisor will discuss these issues with you. They will want to ensure that they have a clear understanding of your financial situation and your investment goals. Take a look at our Working with an advisor section to find out more.
Your investment objectives are influenced by your personal risk tolerance. Take our risk test to gauge your comfort with risky investments and learn more about factors that affect your personal risk tolerance.
No two investors are exactly alike and no single investment product or strategy is right for everyone. To invest successfully you must first think through exactly what it is you want to accomplish and what resources you have to make it happen.