Have the Brass to Cast a Wider Net; in the Second and Concluding Part of a Feature about Pre-Retirement Financial Planning, Special Correspondent Peter Axon Looks at Investments
Axon, Peter, The Birmingham Post (England)
The crux is not to put all your eggs into one basket. Indeed, for most conservative savers the safe haven of the building society, bank deposit account or National Savings becomes the only resting place for the lump sum.
Yet the outcome for applying the "ultra-safety technique" is a strictly limited income, both on a monthly and yearly basis.
By having the confidence to cast your net wider, the annual haul on your investment portfolio will be far more rewarding.
In broad terms a portfolio will fall into three asset classes - cash, bonds and equity-based investments.
Instant access accounts and one-year guaranteed income bonds are the safest option for cautious investors.
With-profits bonds, property bonds and property bond unit trusts are a little more risky, as are corporate bond Peps.
Distribution bonds, high income bonds, European unit trusts and Peps and "fund of fund" unit trusts and Peps are slightly higher on the risk scale. International Peps are probably the most riskiest of the available options.
Ready access to your cash on a rainy day is essential. Rather than looking towards the more familiar High Street building societies and banks, small local building societies and cash unit trusts can provide higher rates of interest.
The latter schemes are run by leading investment companies, such as Fidelity and Legal and General, offering favourable terms by pooling the total sum of savings within the trust.
Of course, the recent availability of instant saver accounts held at the new banks operated by supermarket chains and insurance firms has also proved an instant winner.
When casting one's eye on medium-term investments, with-profits bonds are currently the flavour of the month and an obvious port of call for part of a retirement lump sum.
They have the near perfect product profile for safety-first investors.
Then there is the well-advertised alternative of National Savings, particularly its pensioners' bonds.
However, although a safe form of savings, the fixed-rate offers are not that generous and so one must seriously consider having money locked in on a term basis.
The temptation for cautious savers has also been to place a portion of their retirement funds into what are called either high or extra income bonds.
The mass of glossy literature which accompanies these investment vehicles, extols substantial returns, but there is a definite downside.
Many high income bonds stress that no stock market growth is required to return your original capital outlay in full.
However, it must be realised that because this product is geared to the money market, the capital return does depend upon the performance of several stock market indices over the specific period the bond is held. …