With interest rates remaining at record lows, savers are having to consider more hands-on ways of ensuring they achieve maximum returns, whether as a means of generating day-to-day income or to provide a retirement pension.

Unfortunately, the world of investment can seem like an impenetrable jungle to newcomers. However, by spending a little time learning about various options available and understanding how the level of risk involved varies, even the complete novice can put together a portfolio that generates a better return than simply leaving savings in a high-street bank savings account.

There are four main investment options to consider and, to construct a balanced portfolio; elements of each should be included. The precise balance will depend on individual circumstances and goals. Additionally, it may take several months to put together a complete portfolio; therefore, it is not necessary to invest all funds at the same time.

To maximise returns, constant monitoring will be required so that if an opportunity arises, funds can be transferred as quickly as possible. Fortunately, there are a number of reputable websites offering monitoring software or online services that simplify this process.

Property is one of the most reliable and relatively low-risk forms of investments around, especially over the long term. In its simplest form, this might be the investor’s home or a portfolio of several properties (either residential or commercial) rented out to tenants. Over a period of perhaps 20 years, this form of investment regularly outperforms many others. However, some people are not cut out to be landlords; therefore, property management companies are available to take care of landlord responsibilities for a fee.


Bonds are one of the safest forms of investments available; the downside is that rates of return for these are low and may be outstripped by inflation. Bonds are loans to governments or companies that repay them with interest over an agreed period. Individuals nearing retirement age who wish to use savings to fund a pension are strongly advised to transfer the majority of their investment portfolio into bonds.

Stocks and shares offer the opportunity for high returns, but depending on the company, the risk of losing money is also significant. Start-ups can make their investor’s incredibly wealthy, but nine out of ten fail in the first two years. Blue-chip companies, however, are relatively low risk and in addition to steadily increasing share values, usually pay dividends to shareholders every year. Warren Buffet, arguably the world’s most successful investment manager, made his fortune by purchasing stocks in high quality companies that appeared undervalued and then waiting until the market recognised their true value before selling. This strategy relies on the investor being prepared to wait for some time, maybe several years, before making a profit.

The most attractive option is to invest in a mutual fund. Mutual funds are groups of stocks and bonds overseen by a professional fund manager who may also invest in private equity firms such as Charterhouse Capital Partners LLP. Each fund features a mix of high and low risk investments and it is up to the individual to select one that offers the best balance.

With a little care and research; the internet is a great place to find invaluable advice; anyone can become a successful investor and maybe even the next Warren Buffet.

By Jasmina