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Many people think of investing in the stock market but never get around to it. The latter, however, leaves it later in life to start building a stock portfolio, the less time one has to mature. That’s important because it can be used as a force multiplier when one buys stocks in businesses that do better over the years. That’s why if I want to dip a toe into the stock market in my mid-thirties, I plan to do so by investing £100 a month in FTSE shares.
The power of regular investment
£100 a month may not sound like much. But it can increase over time, meaning my portfolio will hopefully get bigger and bigger.
Without investing properly, many of us think we can do well in the market. But like riding a bike, knitting, or speaking Spanish, learning how to do something often involves some mistakes along the way. So I think investing the right amount at the beginning will allow me to learn some valuable lessons about how the stock market works. I could also understand my own psychology as an investor.
Over time, I may decide to add my monthly payments to an investment vehicle such as a share trading account.
Starting with FTSE shares
It can be tempting to start investing by buying shares in a few unknown companies that you think are the next big thing.
That can sometimes produce impressive results – but it’s a path to despair for many new investors.
So I started my own investment journey focusing on big companies with good business models and a track record of profitability. This does not guarantee that they will do well in the future. But the key to investing is limiting your own risk, not just the return on your head. So to begin with, I’ll focus on blue-chip companies like the FTSE stalwarts British American Tobacco, Reckitt And Associated British dishes.
I want a combination of capital growth and dividends. If I started in my mid-thirties, I would have almost three decades before retirement, so dividends (reinvesting into new stocks) would also help increase the value of my portfolio over the years.
But what if some of these FTSE stocks disappoint me? For example, well-established companies may be more difficult to grow than smaller ones. Frankly, I’d be surprised if at least some of the stocks worked. not at all It saddens me over time. That’s why, even at £100 a month, I spread my portfolio across different business areas and companies.
This approach may not make me rich anytime soon. But I hope that a slow, steady strategy based on trickling money into various FTSE100 stocks will help me grow my wealth over time.
It also teaches me more about how the stock market works in real life. That allows me to widen my search for promising stocks beyond the FTSE names – once I’m ready for that step.