Beginner’s guide to investing

Get on the right path to investing

You don't have to be rich or have prior knowledge to become an investor. If you’re thinking about investing, there are really two main things you need to understand:

1. You’ll need to hang on to your investments for at least five years or longer.
2. Even if you do, there’s a chance you might get back less than you put in.

You don’t need to be an expert to invest

Watch Barclays’ Savings and Investments Director, Clare Francis, as she shares her thoughts on why this is.

Before you start investing, you want to be confident that it's the right thing for you, but this doesn't mean you need to know everything about it.

If you're waiting for that, you'll probably never get started.

I've been investing for about 20 years now and definitely still don't know everything – but I've learned more along the way.

And it's not unusual to feel daunted about investing.

There's a worry about what to invest in and of course there is some risk attached, which can put people off.

But the chances are, you won't lose all your money.

In fact, you'll hopefully see it increase in value by more than if you just leave it all in a savings account.

And that's one of the main reasons why people invest.

They hope that by taking a bit more risk, they'll get a better reward.

A good place to begin is by thinking about what your goals are.

What are you aiming for in life?

Do you want to retire at 60, or perhaps your plan is to take a career break and go traveling, or maybe get married and have a holiday of a lifetime?

With a clear focus, you can build a plan – without one, it either won't happen, or it'll take a lot longer to get to the finish line.

And if you're not sure how to start investing, don't worry because there are products designed to help make it easier.

If you want to take the plunge but don't have the time or inclination to do lots of investment research yourself, you can leave your money in the hands of the experts and let them invest it for you.

Here at Barclays, we have a few options for those who want to invest in this, this way.

Firstly, on Smart Investor, which is our DIY investment platform, meaning you make your own investment decisions, we offer five Ready-made Investment Funds.

Each invests in the mix of shares, bonds, and cash, but the level of risk varies.

So whether you are more comfortable taking a lower risk approach or are happy to take a bit more risk in the hope of potentially higher returns, there'll hopefully be a fund to match your needs.

You just need to decide which is the most suitable for you.

Alternatively, we have a service called Plan & Invest, and this is what's called a digital wealth management service, where you leave everything in the hands of our experts.

You'll be asked to complete an online questionnaire to help us understand about your finances, how you feel about risk, and why you want to invest.

We'll then create a personalised Investment Plan entirely tailored to you.

And if you decide to go on and open an account, we'll then make the decisions for you.

In order to open a Plan & Invest account, you must have a Barclays current account and at least £5,000 to invest.

Now you can find out more about Plan & Invest and Smart Investor on our website, including information about charges.

So if you think investing is the right thing to help you achieve your financial goals, get started and your knowledge and confidence will naturally build over time.

And remember, with investing, you are not tied in forever.

While we talk about investing being for the longer term, your money isn't locked away.

So if your circumstances change and you unexpectedly need to access it, you can sell your investments at any time.

To find out more about the basics of investing explore our six step guide.

Smart Investor doesn't offer personal advice, so if you're not sure about investing, please speak to a financial adviser.

Ways to invest

Always remember that investments can fall in value. You may get back less than you invest.

Smart Investor

To choose and manage your own investments from a range of funds, shares, ETFs and bonds, get started today by simply opening up an investment (stocks-and-shares) ISA, Investment Account or SIPP account with Smart Investor.

Already have an account?

If you already have an account, log in to continue.

Call us

If you have any questions, you can give us a call on 0800 279 36671

You may also be interested in

Make money work for you

Take control of your finances

We understand that money can be overwhelming, so we’ve put together helpful articles and easy-to-follow guides to help you feel financially confident.