We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

An introduction to investments

Why invest?

Investing can be a good way to give your money a real chance to grow over the long term. If you put your money in a savings account, you’ll only earn the amount added by interest. With investing, you can put your money in a variety of assets, each with the potential to increase in value at a level higher than the current interest rate.

Remember the old saying “speculate to accumulate”? That’s very true of investing. You may need to take chances with your money to be in with a chance of getting a real return above the rate of inflation. You should be aware though, that investing does carry risks and you could lose some or all of your money.

But investments carry different levels of risk, so you can pitch your investment at a level that you’re comfortable with. Generally, the more you want to get back, the higher the risk to your original investment.

The key to investing is to make sure you spread the risk to your money by investing in a number of different assets. The chances are that if one asset isn’t performing all that well, another may be doing better than expected, which could offset the poor performance. If you’re not comfortable taking risks with your money, you might want to consider saving instead.

Unlike investing, with most savings accounts your money is generally safe, accessible and any interest added cannot be taken away.

Remember, investment values can go down as well as up and you might get back less than you paid in.

Which investments are generally available to me?

There are a number of different types of investments out there. Here’s a rundown of what’s generally available to you:

Type of investment What is it? How do I invest?
Stocks and shares ISA This is a tax-efficient investment plan where the money you invest goes into assets like shares and collective investment funds. You can buy these through a bank, an online provider or through a financial adviser. The overall annual ISA allowance for the 2014/15 tax year is £15,000. You’ll be able to invest all of that allowance in a stocks and shares ISA, or split it between a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA as you wish. A bank, building society, National Savings and Investments at the Post Office, some supermarkets and retailers, friendly societies, insurance companies, unit and investment trust, companies, financial advisers, fund supermarkets and stockbrokers.
Investment bond This is a lump sum investment where the money you invest goes into a fund or range of funds. It gives you the chance to invest for growth, income or both. Through a financial adviser or an online provider.
Collective investment This could be a Unit Trust or ICVC (Investment Company with Variable Capital). Funds within an ICVC or a Unit Trust Fund pool the money of a large number of investors who choose to invest in the same fund. You can invest for growth, income or both. A bank, building society, some supermarkets and retailers, friendly societies, insurance companies, unit and investment trust companies, financial advisers, fund supermarkets and stockbrokers
Endowment This is a combination of an investment and a life insurance policy. It pays out the final value of the investment when the policy matures. It will pay out a fixed amount if the person covered by the policy dies before it matures. Through a financial adviser.
Personal pension This helps you invest money for your retirement. You normally can’t access the money in your pension until you retire. Through your employer or a financial adviser.

Why choose Aviva for investments?

We’re one of the leading providers of life, pensions and long-term financial services in the UK.

We’re a financially strong company, which is reassuring in these difficult economic times. Financial strength can go down as well as up, but we’re managing our business to remain strong. We also have the experience and expertise to match our size.

Take a look at our range of investment products.

How useful was this information?

Thank you for your rating.

Please help us improve our service by leaving a comment below (Max 255 chars):

< View all help and information

WC02219 07/2014