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REVIEW of Money 04
The Perfect Investment

Although it tends to be low on the to-do list, investing in the future is the best way to ensure a continuing level of comfort, and the ultimate rewards can be considerable. The earlier it is begun, the better. Savings accounts with the usual banks and societies are arguably the safest option, but interest earned these days is very low and barely keeps abreast of inflation. There are, however, plenty of alternatives to invest in that can see even a modest outlay grow into a tidy nest-egg.

Having a cash surplus is the best way to invest in any venture; although, sometimes it may be necessary to secure a loan to actually "get in". The property market is one such case. An owner with sufficient equity in their home might use this as surety to negotiate a second loan with a view to buying another dwelling that can then be rented out. Anyone fancying the prospect should bear in mind the cost of maintaining both properties; and would also be advised to consider engaging a reliable managing agent.

Investment prospects requiring a large outlay, especially when only a part-share is purchased, need careful thought before jumping in. Examples might be: a new holiday resort, a shopping precinct, tree plantations, or an Indonesian cultured-pearl farm. If they are merely proposals supported by an artist's impression of a construction that hasn't yet begun, be mistrusting. People have lost their life's savings on projects that were never built; some were never meant to be because they were simply money-grabbing scams.

By all means consider the opportunities, but apply commonsense before committing. Do your own research - check credentials and track-records of individuals and companies involved. Beware of the professional-looking prospectus, the glossy brochure received in the mail, and especially proposals outlined on a flashy website. And don't be swayed by promises of high returns which may never be realised - get-rich-quick schemes that actually work are few and far between.

If you do find something that sounds like a good bet, think twice before sinking everything you have into it. And always resist borrowing from another source to make up the odds - it isn't a good idea. If you can't come up with sufficient, resist being bullied and just walk away. So, do the math, check and double-check, and seek advice from a respected professional financial consultant. Then you have a better than even chance of finding that perfect investment.

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