/ Stock market: what to invest in?

Stock Market Investment Envelope

While the economic climate is not always rosy, there are still a number of investments that allow many investors to capitalize on their investment opportunities and generate welcome additional income. Most of these are well known, but how they work and how they can be utilized is not always understood by the general public.

So here are the most attractive investments for individual investors in 2024.

Equities: potentially high returns

Buying shares means owning a share of a company's capital in the hope that it will grow and generate profits from which you will receive dividends. The yield on some shares can exceed 10%, well above Livret A's current rate of 3%.

There are several ways to buy shares.

More experienced investors will place direct stock purchase orders with their financial intermediary, while novices will rely on professionals to help them grow their money.

Investors can open a securities account, a share savings plan (PEA) or a unit-linked life insurance policy, allowing them to invest in a variety of financial products.

Their funds can then be under the control of the financial institution responsible for purchasing shares for their clients (discretionary management). Investing in equities means betting on the long-term performance of companies and the economic situation.

Bonds: fixed and reliable income

Bonds are another historical financial product that allows you to lend money to a company.

The company agrees to repay the invested capital within a certain period of time (usually 5 to 30 years) and to pay you a fixed or variable interest rate monthly or annually through a "coupon" payment.

Unlike stocks, you know exactly how much income a bond will yield. The capital loss is usually zero unless the company is bought out or goes bankrupt along the way.

You can invest in bonds directly or through a financial advisor or bank. Unit-linked life insurance policies can contain bonds as well as mutual funds (FCPs) and open-end investment companies (SICAVs).

Bonds, considered safer than stocks, can be a solution for investors who care most about safety.

Real estate: specific long-term investments

For those with funds, investing in rental real estate is a way to build a sustainable long-term asset base. This "safe haven" is much more resilient to economic cycles and meets the housing needs of many, especially in areas where rents are high.

Once a tenant moves in, the rental income is stable and will help recoup the investment if the purchase was made on credit.

Another positive is that when the owner retires, he or she will receive additional income. Returns can be as high as 7%, compared to around 2% on Eurofund life insurance.

Finally, thanks to tax incentives introduced by the government, investors can benefit from tax reductions that can exceed 20%. Real estate investment is a project that needs to be carefully considered, preferably with the help of a financial advisor.

Life insurance: a long-term investment

Life insurance has two objectives. First, to accumulate funds for the medium to long term for yourself or designated beneficiaries in the event of your death. And second, to take advantage of favorable tax treatment after an 8-year period.

If the money is withdrawn after this date (so-called surrender), all the investor has to pay to the tax authorities is a mandatory flat fee of 7,5% on the interest earned on the policy, plus social security contributions of 17,2%.

In general, tax rules depend on the age of the contract and the date of payout.

There are several types of life insurance policies, varying in terms of security and interest. Choosing one type or another should be made after determining your priorities with your financial advisor.

Conclusion

Investing is a complex process that requires careful planning and an understanding of the risks involved. Before investing, it is important to do your research and understand what type of investment is best for you.

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