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7 steps to set your investment goals in 2023

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Developing a consistent approach to saving and investing will help you stick to your plans in 2023.

Over the last few years, Australians have shown a growing interest in investing, fuelled by the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, natural calamities such as bushfires and floods as well as the growth of digital and social channels.

With inflation now surging to a 32-year high, rising interest rates and energy bills soaring, millions of Australians will be hoping to get on top of their finances. The latest survey by Finder shows that a whopping 83% of respondents have made a New Year's resolution to set financial goals for 2023.

Experts believe financial markets remain the best avenue to invest for long-term goals despite the heightened volatility last year.

Here is a guide for beginners to set up sustainable investment goals in 2023.

  • Review your finances

The beginning of the year is an ideal time to assess your personal financial health. Evaluate your income, expenses and savings. The amount of money you should invest totally depends on the income you generate, how much you are able to save and what kind of risk appetite you have.

  • Define your financial goals

Before starting on your investment journey, it's important to know what it is you're hoping to achieve. Short-term goals could be reducing your credit card debt load, starting an emergency fund or wanting to buy a car next year. Longer-term goals could include saving to buy a house or planning for retirement.

  • Get realistic about saving

The initial step towards achieving your financial goals is figuring out how much money you can realistically save in the first place. Work out whether you can boost your income or cut down on expenses. If you're starting out, a realistic goal could be to save a certain dollar amount each month so you get into a habit.

  • Match your risk tolerance and investment time frame

Generally, the longer your money is invested, the more opportunities it has to grow in value. Your age, capacity to recover from financial loss, financial goals and health are factors that influence your risk tolerance. For example, your 20s can be a great time to take on higher investment risks because you have a long time to make up for losses, whereas in your 50s, risk appetite may be lower.

  • Research your investment options

Once your financial goals, risk appetite and investing time frame are clear, you need to identify suitable investment opportunities. Generally, it's best to start with low-risk, fixed-interest options such as term deposits and bonds. If you can accept higher volatility or have a longer time frame, growth investments such as shares, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) or property can be added.

  • Build a diversified portfolio

Factors such as politics, conflicts, weather events or interest rates affect investments. The best way to protect against the ups and downs of the market is to create a balanced, diversified portfolio with various risk-return profiles and a number of assets catering to different time frames. For example, investors looking for steady income can allocate more towards fixed-return instruments. Those chasing high returns can give preference to riskier stocks that can yield capital growth over the longer term.

  • Monitor your portfolio

It's important to track the progress of your investments to ensure you're on the right track. This will ensure consistency even when markets go up and down or if there are changes to your investment goals. It allows you to change strategy if what you're doing isn't working, sell assets in a timely manner, increase asset allocation or increase diversification from time to time.

Looking for a low-cost online broker to invest in the stock market? Compare share trading platforms to start investing in stocks and ETFs.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involve substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances and obtain your own advice before making any trades.

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