For those looking to improve their health, a disciplined approach to exercise and a balanced diet can certainly help to shift the pounds. But the same approach can also have a positive effect when it comes to shaping up savings and boosting portfolio value.
The key to adding pounds to your savings – rather than shedding them from your waistline – is also discipline and balance.
Step One: Start saving – and stick at it
A regular savings plan, where you commit a fixed amount into an investment plan each month, helps build a disciplined approach and gets you into good investment habits. Even small amounts can build over the longer term. Investing monthly can also help smooth out the ups and downs of the stock market. The commitment to start and stick with an investment plan is likely to make the biggest difference to your future wealth.
Step Two: Build a balanced ISA portfolio
Investing in a spread of assets can help reduce volatility. Markets are by their nature cyclical, but when one sector isn’t doing so well, you can still get returns from other holdings in your portfolio.
Crash diets, where you eat only watercress or pineapple chunks, are unlikely to deliver long-term results. The same principle applies for those looking for healthy investment returns; it can pay to diversify and build a balanced portfolio. At its most basic this means investing in a range of assets – such as equities, bonds and cash – and where possible diversifying across different geographical regions and sectors.
Katy Thorneycroft, portfolio manager of the JPMorgan Elect plc - Managed Growth trust says: “Investing in a spread of assets can help reduce volatility. Markets are by their nature cyclical, but when one sector isn’t doing so well, you can still get returns from other holdings in your portfolio.”
Step Three: Investment trust options for a healthy ISA
Those looking to build a balanced portfolio may want to consider the following three areas:
Income trusts: UK equity income trusts could make good core holdings. They typically invest in large UK companies with a track record of paying consistent and reliable dividends. Over time many of these dividends could rise in value, helping to protect your savings against inflation.
JPMorgan Claverhouse Investment Trust plc invests in a portfolio of such companies. As a result, the dividend paid to its investment trust shareholders has risen every year for the past 45. These trusts aren’t just for those looking to generate an income from their investments though. Dividend payments can be reinvested, helping to boost overall returns.
Growth trusts: In contrast, trusts that have more of a growth remit tend to focus on companies, sectors or regions with the potential for share-price growth over the longer term.
One option for those seeking longer-term growth is an emerging market investment trust. These invest in rapidly developing economies such as India, China, Brazil, Latin American and the Middle East. Though diverse countries and regions, they share key characteristics such as a growing middle class and a wealth of natural resources. This should help fuel prosperity over the longer term, benefitting companies selling goods or services in these regions.
JPMorgan Emerging Markets Investment Trust plc looks to capitalise on these longer-term prospects. Inevitably there are risks in investment in these regions – share prices can be more volatile, particularly over shorter time frames – but political and economic reforms in many of them have helped to create more transparent and stable markets.
Multi-asset trusts: Those looking for diversification can invest in a ready-made portfolio via a multi-asset trust. These invest in a spread of equities, bonds, cash and sometimes other assets, such as commercial property and infrastructure. They can make good core holdings, particularly for those relatively new to investment. Because they hold a range of assets, returns tend to be lower risk and less volatile than those of straight equity trusts.
JPMorgan Elect plc - Managed Growth aims to protect growth with diversity by seeking out best in class stocks and products across a variety of regions.