If you are lucky enough to have a bit of disposable income, you are doing the right thing by researching ways of saving or investing your money. By reading about the different options available to you, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and make the best possible choice for you and your money. How you decide to save and/or invest your money will depend on many variables. Some of these include how much money you’ve got to work with, how much time you’ve got to work with and your all-important tolerance to risk. After reading the brief overview of mutual funds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GIC) and savings accounts below, it is advisable to discuss all your options with a personal finance advisor who can assess your situation on an individual basis.
A mutual fund is an investment where the money invested by many investors is pooled and then invested in a wide range of investments. The investments typically included in mutual funds include stocks, bonds, securities, short-term money instruments and others. Mutual funds are generally considered to be pretty safe as they are highly diversified. Each mutual fund will have a manger that is charged with trading the fund’s assets regularly. This person’s job is to maximize the rate of return for all the investor’s whose money is invested in the fund. The benefit of investing your money in mutual funds is that you can start with as little as $25 dollars and contribute to your fund on a regular basis. This is a great way to get started in investments and to grow your money even when you do not have access to a lump sum.
Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GIC)
A Guaranteed Investment Certificate, or GIC is a type of Canadian investment in which the rate of return is guaranteed over a fixed period of time. Guaranteed Investment Certificates are relatively low-risk investments, and thus yield smaller returns than that of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Within the category of GIC’s, there are lower-risk options and higher-risk options; however, GIC’s in general are considered low risk because even if you earn less interest or jeapordize your access to interest earned by withdrawing early your initial investment is guaranteed. These safe and secure Canadian investments earn interest at a fixed rate, variable rate, or based on a market-based index.
Savings accounts are very safe and flexible places in which to basically store your money. You can open a savings account at any bank and with as little as $25. You will have access to your money at all times, and depending on how much you keep in your savings account at any given time, may not even have to pay any bank fees. The downside of keeping money in a savings account is that your cash will earn little to no interest. Interest-bearing savings accounts earn very little interest compared to Guaranteed Investment Certificates or mutual funds. However, if you feel that you will (or may) need access to your cash during the short term, this is a great and safe place in which to keep your savings. Many people start saving with this type of account then transfer lump sums to other investments such as GIC’s or mutual funds.
Now that you know a bit more about GIC’s, mutual funds and savings accounts, you are better prepared to talk to your financial advisor about what’s best for you. If you don’t currently work with a financial advisor, speak with a customer service representative at your bank.