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The traits of a successful investor

Clare interviews Dr. Peter Brooks, Barclays’ Head of Behavioural Finance, to find out why some of the things we do in our everyday lives are connected with the traits associated with successful investing.

The value of investments can fall as well as rise; you may not get back what you invest. If you’re not sure about investing, seek independent advice.

Clare: Hello, I'm Clare, and welcome back to Smart Investor the series that helps you get to grips with investing. When it comes to investing, many people think it isn't for them, it's too complicated too risky, only for the rich. However, there are many personality traits that we display in other areas of our lives that are the behaviours needed when it comes to investing. For example, do you spend hours researching a holiday before booking? Are you focused on training for an event, such as a 10k run or even a marathon? And, if you're a parent like me you'll understand all about patience. Peter Brooks, who's head of Barclays Behavioural Finance and also a parent, is with me to explain why you might have what it takes to be a successful investor Thanks for joining us, Pete. So, can you explain why so many of the personality traits that we display in our everyday lives are also the behaviours needed to be a successful investor?

Peter: Of course, let me use that example that you mentioned before, of somebody booking their holiday and spending a lot of time researching it. If it's anybody like my wife she'll spend a lot of time looking for the hotels, how good they are, where they are. All of those things show a really important sense of research and discipline and patience, to actually carry out that work and, actually those are the same things you do use in investing, whether you're just thinking about how easy it is to get the money back out of your investments when you might need that in the future or even understanding what it is you're investing in the ideas of research and discipline and patience are really important things to keep in mind.

Clare: So, if you've decided that you want to give it a go, how do you start?

Peter: I think the most important thing for most people is to realise that, actually, it isn't just for the rich. You don't have to have a massive pot of money in order to become an investor. Often, drip feeding your money in over time can be a really sensible and easy way to get into being an investor. And don't forget that, actually when you start doing that, that regular of investment mounts up quite a lot over time and the amounts can be quite small. So, for instance, in our own regular investing service you can start from as little as £50 a month.

Clare: And where do you start? I mean we obviously can't give financial advice but how do people get started?

Peter: So I think the way that we build the tools on the site is actually really helpful for most people.
Some people will jump straight in and know what it is that they want to buy and do their own research, others a little bit like looking at the review sites will go for some of the things like the Barclay's Funds List where our own experts have filtered the list of things that we think can add value over time. Or, even if they were going to take it a step a bit easier than that the Ready-made Investments, where you get a fully diversified portfolio just by buying one fund.

Clare: And have you got any final thoughts for people thinking of investing for the first time?

Peter: Yes, so the guidance we tend to give people is to make sure you stay focused on the long term. Markets will go up and down as you're staying invested but setting yourself a goal, and keeping that focus upon what it is your investments are doing for your future, can help you ride out any ups and downs that the markets may throw at you. And, importantly that's the discipline that you need to succeed as an investor.

Clare: But that's often easier said than done.

Peter: Absolutely.

Clare: Thanks very much for that, Pete, that was great. If you've already got some cash savings and have money you can put away towards longer-term financial goals investing may be worth considering and we have loads of information on our website to help you get started. Thanks for watching and we hope to see you again soon. Bye for now.

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