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Should you invest in stocks and shares – is it too risky?

Are stocks and shares worth investing in?

Please be aware that in this article I only talk about the UK stock market and not any other country. 

Simple explanation about stocks and shares

Just to give a brief and simple explanation on what they are all about. There was a time that they were only something that could be bought by people with a lot of money. That has not been the case in recent years, where anybody can buy them.

A stock is what the company is worth on the market, this is then split up into individual shares. Shares can be bought off other people or on share dealing platforms. Each share you buy, is another little fraction of that company that you own. You are able to recieve dividends if offered and vote on decisions that need to be made like possible takeovers. It is a lot better for companies to offer shares to raise money than to go to banks because of high interest rates when repaying that money back.

There are different markets that companies get split into in the UK, depending on how much they are worth. Big succesfull companies can be found on the FTSE 100, which are the top 100. Then you go down to the FTSE 200.

Should I invest?

So you are thinking of being the Wolf of wall street, well maybe thinking of investing a little money into stocks and shares. Why not? loads of people are investing around the world, but it can be risky. There can be many ups as well as downs, its all about proper research reading books and on the internet. Thinking carefully at what companies you are going to invest in. It usually is a good idea to go for companies that are usually generous with how much in dividends they give to shareholders, which makes it more worth it because you are getting a decent income over the year.

Remember to split up your investment into more than one company, as you could loose all of your money if that one company goes bust. Do look into stocks and shares ISAs in the UK as they do all of the work for you, but sometimes for a more sizeable fee, but there are experts that invest for you in the best performing companies.

Pros and cons of investing in the stock market

Pros:

  • Gain some good profit
  • Could have some recurring income from dividends
  • May get more than if your money was in a savings account

Cons:

  • Make consiberable losses
  • Very up and down at times
  • Big gains and income can be taxable in the UK

Share dealing platforms

There are some great websites to use to start off in buying and selling stocks and shares. One of them that I use is AJBellYouInvest based in the UK and they don’t charge a lot to buy and sell. It is an easy website to use and gives great informational videos on what is going on in the markets.

Here is the link to all the charges which are very reasonable

 

Thank you for reading my article, please feel free to leave any comments below and I will reply back as soon as possible.

Source: https://www.moneyobserver.com/guides/stocks-and-shares

 

Bitcoin gold
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Should I invest in Bitcoins?

Bitcoin digital chipShould I invest in Bitcoins? that is a good question that I want to cover in this article.

You may remember back in late 2017, when Bitcoin went up to high levels and then shot back down again. Cryptocurrency has been around for many years, but its only the past year or so that more and more people are finding about it. It is said to be an alternative to putting your money into banks, digital currency so to speak. But whether it will ever be a common place currency or not, I could not say.

Many banks and the current Bank of England Governor Mark Carney advises people to not invest into Bitcoin, simply because of how up and down it can be, even more volatile than stocks and shares. Now when I invested in 2017, it was just too late, I had made a £50 profit and all of a sudden it had dropped when it was said that the other currency Ethureum was a better and secure alternative. I had lost money, which was disappointing and it hit home just how really risky investing in bitcoin is. If you had invested in 2013, you would be very well off, if you had sold in late 2017 in the biggest boom ever, in its short history. It has not reached those high levels since then, although in the future you never know what may happen.

Fair enough if you want to invest a little money, having your eggs in more than one basket is a good idea. It could be a possibility that bitcoin may rise again, but don’t put money in that you cannot afford to lose. Keep researching and make a considered decision, if you want to invest. I am actually still signed up to coinbase, one of the popular sites where you can invest in digital currencies. This year they have now enabled deposits and withdrawals for UK bank accounts which is good.

So what exactly is bitcoin?

Technology called Blockchain is used, where everything can be seen by the public, which are the transactions. Computers communicate with each other to create the digital bitcoins. They can be paid for using real money and sold to pay for products/services that accept them. There is a process called mining, which creates the bitcoins, this can take various amounts of time, depending on the performance of your computer.

Bitcoins are stored in digital wallets, but you have to be careful because these can be deleted or they can be stolen. Once they are deleted or you can’t remember the password to the wallet, then they are gone forever. The great thing is that unlike the stock market in the UK, bitcoin and crypto markets are open all the time 24/7.

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History of Bitcoins

Bitcoin was first used in early 2009 and invented by a man called Satoshi Nakamoto. He wanted to bring out a digital currency that could one day replace our modern day coins and note currency. Where it would be more secure and couldn’t be forged. It wouldn’t require personal details to be handed over to banks. He saw bitcoin as a future currency fitting in with the digital age. But it has had mixed results from the very first transaction in January 2009.

In 2010, the cryptocurrency actually had a value associated with it. The famous first sale was completed, exchanging an incredible 10,000 bitcoins for two yummy pizzas. I bet he wishes he hadn’t of sold them, because at last years prices they would have been worth over a whopping $100 million.

2011 saw others trying to jump on the bandwagon and create other digital currencies like Namecoin and Litecoin, these are meant to be improved versions of Bitcoin. There are currently over a thousand others now in the competition.

2013 saw a big increase to $1000 per bitcoin, but it soon came right back down to earth to $300. Investors lost large amounts of money.

At the beginning of 2014, saw a large theft of Bitcoins from a bitcoin exchange called Mt.Gox. An incredible 850,000 coins were gone just like that and sadly have never been recovered. Because there were only a certain number of bitcoins in the whole world, this amount accounted for 10 per cent. There is still an investigation on the matter and at the time the coins were worth $450 million and last year would have been billions of dollars more in the boom. There is no doubt that Bitcoins became a big target for scams, because it was designed with no control in place.

2016 was almost Ethureums year, as it almost overtook Bitcoin. There are actually websites where you could invest in them. But Ethereum was eventually banned in China.

2017 saw a fantastic record-breaking year for Bitcoin, as it was beginning to be accepted more in the modern day world, with companies accepting them as payment for products/services. This obviously gave a massive rocket in value for cryptocurruncies in general from $11 billion to a massive $300 billion. Banks like Barclays and HSBC were very interested in working with Bitcoin.

Later on last year saw big drops in value of Bitcoin and it spooked many people investing in them. There are concerns over countries banning them because of them being not so secure and maybe other cryptos like Ethereum being better. It did recover and into 2018 it hasn’t got anywhere near the heights of 2017, currently at over 4000 dollars per bitcoin. The highest was December last year at $13,320 per bitcoin, so there has been large decreases this year but considering people thought bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general wouldn’t take off, it still is high.

To conclude

Its talked about as a bubble, but who knows where bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are going in the future, way up or down. But take the time and research to decide with caution in mind, when looking to invest, it may have had its time. Maybe investing a little money is the sensible thing to do, because of the risk. It would be great if Bitcoin did go way up, but I would be wary investing large amounts even then.

Thank you for reading my article, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will reply back as soon as possible.

Sources: https://www.statista.com/statistics/326707/bitcoin-price-index/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2017/12/06/a-short-history-of-bitcoin-and-crypto-currency-everyone-should-read/

https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-is-bitcoin