Investing for beginners

Ever thought about investing? And then realised that you’re only an investment beginner and have no idea how to go about it? In recent years, investing has become one of the most interesting ways to potentially make your savings earn more. That’s why we explain below how to invest by investing in shares, for example, or other products.

Investing money for beginners

Investing money involves buying company shares, bonds, ETFs or other investment products. The goal over the long term is to have more money, or assets with a higher value, than the money you spent. We sometimes call this a ‘positive return’: your investment increases in value or you receive income from it (such as interest or a dividend).

Investment beginners need to have a long-term view of a year or more. We recommend at least 5 years. If, instead, you buy and sell quickly to take advantage of a potential increase in value, it’s called ‘speculating’. But no matter how you approach it, always remember that you can also lose your investment.

Why should you start investing?

There are many good reasons to start. If you can spare some of your savings and put them to work, you will be able to:

  • offset inflation
  • grow your capital
  • build your wealth
  • earn additional income
  • contribute to economic growth

How much money do you need? You can start investing from as little as 10 euros per month! So, it really is for everyone, whether you want to invest a large amount right now or small amounts regularly. But, of course, make sure you keep a buffer in your savings account to cover any unforeseen circumstances. If you have any money left over that you can spare, you can get started.

ING offers three ways to invest: invest by yourself, invest by receiving investment advice, or make things easy for yourself by leaving the investment decisions to our experts.

How to invest…

When you invest, you invest your money for a certain period of time in, for example, shares or bonds in order to achieve a specific financial goal. The potential return varies depending on how long you invest, how much you invest and what product you invest in.

Investing in shares means that you buy a piece of a company. If that company does well, the value of your share will increase. If things don’t go so well, the value will drop. If you invest in a bond, in simple terms this means that you give a part of a loan to a company or government. You then usually receive interest on that. Investing in bonds is less risky than investing in shares, but the expected return is usually also lower. Investing in a mix of products can spread the risk and give you a better chance of a positive result over the long term.

Saving or investing: Which is actually more important?

No doubt you’ve heard this said multiple times: ‘Saving isn’t profitable anymore.’ But is that still true? When and why should you save? Is investing a better alternative? Philippe Ledent, Senior Economist, explains the different mechanisms involved.

Philippe Ledent, Senior Economist, explain how saving and investing work. (5:20 minutes)

What products can you invest in?

We have already mentioned a few investment products above, but there are more, of course:

  • share: as a holder, you own a percentage (proportional to your shares) of the company concerned.
  • bond: a recognition of a particular entity’s debt, with a fixed term and an interest rate.
  • fund: an “undertaking for collective investment” (= UCI). UCI is a general term which refers to institutions that obtain their financial resources from the public and whose business consists in managing a portfolio of financial instruments. The term “funds” therefore includes both ICVC (variable capital) and ICFC (fixed capital) investment companies and mutual funds as well as their sub-funds.
  • tracker: (or ETF) an exchange-traded investment fund that is managed passively and follows the performance of an index or basket of shares as closely as possible.
  • branch 23 investment insurance: a life insurance product whose value depends on how the investment instruments in which it invests are doing.
  • structured note: a debt instrument issued by a financial institution for which the interest rate is not fixed. 

How to get started?

For beginners, how to invest is often a huge unknown. You know that there are risks involved, but also that it offers an opportunity to make your capital earn more. If you follow this step-by step beginners guide to investing, you’ll go a long way:

More than 300,000 people in Belgium already invest with ING…

Would you like to hear from someone else what it is like to invest with ING? We have collated some of our customers’ experiences for you.

Is there a sustainable and responsible way to invest?

Of course! With your investments you can have a positive impact on society. You can make sure that the companies you invest in are businesses that are mindful of sustainable development in their activities, e.g. limiting their ecological footprint, not avoiding taxes, etc.

Frédéric Degembe, Fund Management Expert, discusses sustainable investments.

You’re ready to start investing!

It’s completely up to you to choose how you want to start – whether you prefer to invest by yourself, to receive personal help from an advisor or to let our experts do the work. Whichever solution you choose, know that at ING you are never alone and we are always here to help you.