What is Investing?

Investing, particularly in the Basics of Investing, means buying something (real estate, precious metal products) to reap capital gain later. This process involves buying an asset at a lower price and, when price appreciation takes place, selling it at a higher price with the purpose of making a profit. Investing also means holding onto assets that generate regular income. One example is stocks that pay dividends and profits. Or investing in precious metals to hedge against inflation.

Instead of selling, income investing focuses on owning assets that produce regular cash flow over time. So, what is investing in simple words? Investing is earning money through selling assets for a profit or holding onto income-generating assets. People are investing their money for generations to gain short- or long-term profits. And, of course, understanding the Basics of Investing is crucial for making informed financial decisions.

Importance of Investing

While saving money is essential, it’s just one aspect of financial planning. At the outset, wise investors primarily focus on creating a solid emergency fund. They start by stashing cash in a savings account. Some even choose to invest in a money market account. Once you’ve set aside three to six months’ worth of easily accessible savings, here comes the importance of investing. Venturing into the financial markets opens up numerous potential benefits. 

Investing optimizes your money growth potential for wealth accumulation. Through intelligent investing, your money has the potential to outpace inflation and grow in value. The substantial growth opportunity in investing stems from the compounding effect and the balance between risk and return.

Saving vs Investing

Saving simply means accumulating money, while investing is multiplying it. Here’s a quick brief on saving vs investing:

Saving involves setting aside money for short-term goals, typically within the next five years. That money belongs in an account where it’s liquid and safe. For example, a high-yield savings account.

On the other hand, investing is reserving money for long-term goals like retirement. With a lengthy time horizon, the focus shifts to prioritizing growth over liquidity.

What is an Asset Class?

Asset classes are categories of comparable investment products. These investment vehicles show similar market behavior and are governed by similar rules and regulations. Diversifying your portfolio by investing in various asset classes is a strategy known as asset allocation equities, precious metals like gold and silver bullion bars and coins, real estate, etc. 
The purpose of asset allocation is risk reduction. These can be included in a diversified portfolio or held independently, tailored to an investor’s risk tolerance. Investors must comprehend asset class relationships to manage their portfolios and adjust risk and performance. Asset classes bundle assets with comparable features and are regulated similarly. Still not clear about what an asset class is? Check these primary asset classes.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

They are generally low or no-risk investments because the capital is guaranteed. It gives quick access to your funds with minimal upfront costs. However, they offer lower returns compared to other asset classes. Some cash equivalents are categorized as fixed-income investments. Examples include:

  1. Money in your bank account
  2. High-interest savings accounts
  3. Federal and provincial treasury bills
  4. Guaranteed investment certificates (GICs)
  5. Money market funds

Fixed-Income Securities

Bonds, for example, are a sort of fixed-income security in which you effectively lend money to a firm or government. In this case, you agree to loan them a specific amount for a defined period, known as the term. In return, they commit to repaying you the principal amount along with regular interest payments. Terms to maturity can vary, ranging from as short as one day to as long as 30 years.

Stocks and Equities

When you buy a stock or equity, you are a stakeholder in the business. You become eligible to partake in its profits, losses, and any dividend distributions. Despite being a risky vehicle, this asset class ensures the potential for high returns. 

  • Common Stock: Investors holding common stock have voting rights at shareholders’ meetings and can benefit from increasing dividend payments. There are also restricted voting shares, a subtype of common stock that lacks voting rights.
  • Preferred Stock: Preferred stock provides shareholders with fixed dividend payments. It allows you a priority claim on company assets over common shareholders if the company faces bankruptcy.

Investment Funds

An investment fund is an alternative option for investors who prefer not to select or trade individual stocks. These funds are basically investment baskets made up of stocks, bonds, or a mix of the two, with a concentration on one or more asset classes. Investors join together in an investment fund, and a professional fund manager takes charge of the portfolio. Fund managers make investment choices for all the investors and oversee how the fund’s money is used. These funds often come with management fees or other charges and may require a minimum investment amount. There are various types of investment funds: 

  • Mutual funds
  • Index funds
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)

Precious Metals

Precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, copper, and palladium have been preferred for a long time for utilization in hedging against inflation.  And so they are part of asset allocation. They are less correlated with market volatility and against various risks. Whether you buy physical bullion bars or coins, financial experts recommend 10 to 20% of them in your overall portfolio, considering your personal goals and investment capacity.

Relationship Between Risks and Returns

Understanding why people make certain investment choices comes down to the relationship between risk and return in the Basics of Investing.

Firstly, more risk in an investment means there’s a chance for higher returns. Less risk means smaller potential returns. Yet, it is essential to note that this is not the fixed rule in the market. You can take advice from your financial expert from a clearer perspective on the Basics of Investing.

Secondly, some investors choose to avoid higher risk by earning less, even though they have the option of reaping higher returns. For example, investors often move their funds from riskier stocks to safer bonds for more protection, especially when interest rates go up. They choose security over profit, even if it means giving up some potential gain. This decision-making process is integral to understanding the Basics of Investing.

The third principle highlights the importance of balancing risk and returns across your portfolio. You create a balanced approach by diversifying your investments along the risk spectrum from higher to lower risk. This diversified strategy aims to optimize your overall risk-return profile in the realm of the Basics of Investing.

Why is Diversification a Recommended Investment Strategy?

Diversifying your investments across various vehicles is essential to managing risk and maximizing opportunities. By spreading your money across different assets and reducing exposure to the potential downturn of any single security or sector, you minimize exposure to the potential downturn of any single security or sector.

For instance, if your investments are solely in stocks and the stock market experiences a downturn, your entire portfolio value may be significantly impacted. However, with a diversified portfolio that includes bonds, real estate, stocks, tangible precious metals, and perhaps some cash, there is a lesser chance of all these investments losing value simultaneously. Investment diversification helps mitigate risk by creating a more resilient investment strategy.


Given the unpredictability of the market and the absence of guarantees about its direction, it’s prudent to spread your investments over time. This way, when one asset class experiences growth, you already have some investments. This ensures your portfolio is prepared for various market conditions, including growth, stagnation, or decline.