MONEY
20/11/2017 16:19 SAST | Updated 22/11/2017 14:25 SAST

Before You Invest, Educate Yourself -- And Other Investment Tips From Financial Experts

Never put your money in anything you do not understand.

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The word investment can be intimidating -- but it doesn't have to be. It turns out you don't have to be an expert to start investing.

HuffPost SA spoke to Deon Katz, the head of award-winning Investec Private Bank, and Henry Blumenthal, the bank's head of wealth and investment. They gave us their three top tips for anyone looking to invest, or start building an investment portfolio.

1. Reading and watching

Educating yourself is paramount. "I was encouraged [as a young person] to read and talk and read and talk and read and talk some more," said Katz.

There are plenty of websites and internet videos that simplify investment jargon -- familiarise yourself with them. Commendable local financial platforms can also give you a good idea of what's happening in the markets.

The financial experts caution against investing without a solid understanding of what one is investing in.

2. Are you investing online yourself or seeking professional assistance?

If you decide to opt for a financial advisor, an investment manager or a stock broker, "you must have someone who understands you or your needs", advised Blumenthal.

And if you're investing online by yourself, do as much research as possible first. Your investments can make you money only if you make good investment decisions.

Note from the HuffPost team: Familiarising yourself with a range of local platforms if you're planning to invest online is crucial. Do your research properly and make sure you're investing with legitimate, registered providers (and not scammers).

3. The principle of compound

"What you will learn along the way as an investor is that the most important principle is the principle of compound growth," said Blumenthal.

Compound interest is when you earn interest on both the money you've saved and the interest you earn. This is the best way for your money to grow over the long term, for example for school or university fees for your children.

"Adding every week, every month, every year has a compound effect that yields results," said Katz. Provided that the interest you earn is above inflation.

*Investec has won the Global Finance Awardfor the Best Digital Bank in South Africa, and the award for the most Innovative Digital Bank in Africa.