Your capital is at risk. Your investments are not guaranteed; they can decrease in value as well as increase and you may not get back the full amount you put in.
If you want to decide how your money is invested, you can buy shares yourself and create your own portfolio.
You should only try this if you understand the risks, and know how the stock markets work.
You can open a share dealing account with a broker to buy shares in companies you want to invest in, e.g. BP or Vodafone.
It is up to you how much control you have. You can:
Get advice on which shares to buy or sell
Have no guidance from the broker
Let the broker make all trades for you
When you buy shares, you could make a profit through the dividends paid by the companies you invest in, or by selling your shares for more than you bought them for*.
If you want to leave your money in the hands of a professional, you could invest in a grouped investment. Your money is added to other people's cash and invested on your behalf by a fund manager. Here are the different types of grouped investments you could choose:
An OEIC (open ended investment company) lets you invest in the shares of companies.
Open ended means there is no limit to the number of shares you can buy in a company.
Your money is added to one large pot with other investors' cash, which means the fund manager can invest in a wider range of assets.
This spreads the risk, because it means your money will be invested in several different assets.
It also means the fund manager can make investments you could not make on your own.
This is an open ended investment, that let you buy units in the trust.
You can either invest a lump sum in a unit trust, or save at set amount each month.
An Investment trust is a listed company you can invest in. The company then use your money to buy assets and shares in other companies.
It is closed ended which means there is a limited number of shares that you can buy in an investment trust.
Managed ISAs: You choose how much risk you want to take and what the aim of your investment is, e.g. growth or income, and your money will be invested for you by a fund manager.
Self invested ISAs: You choose where your money is invested, including funds, shares, bonds or investment trusts.
You could start a private pension to grow your money and give you an income when you retire.
There are two types of private pension you can invest in:
Peer to peer savings is a way of lending your money to potential borrowers for a fixed return.
You add your money to a peer to peer provider's platform, and it is lent out to borrowers who pay it back with interest.
There is a risk you may not get your money back if the borrowers do not repay their loans.
Putting your money in a savings account or bond will not earn you much interest, but it is the safest place for your money.
The type of account you choose will depend on:
How much you want to save
What access you need
How long you can tie your cash up for
If you want to save tax free