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Looking for shares to buy? Here’s what investors can do with a £1,000 lump sum

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With the ISA deadline approaching, many investors are on the prowl, hunting the best shares to buy now. And this year demand may even be stronger than usual, given the upcoming tax allowance cuts for regular trading accounts.

So, with £1,000 to spare, what can a long-term investor do?

Exploring the options

There are many different ways to invest in the stock market. But not every method is necessarily appropriate for each individual. After all, investing has a lot of nuances. Financial position, time horizon, and risk tolerance are just a few personal factors that must be considered. And they’re almost always different depending on the individual.

As such, there’s no single best way to invest £1k. But let’s explore the two main options for investors with a long time horizon of 10+ years.

Index investing

Diversification plays a vital role in portfolio risk management. And that’s especially true during times of economic uncertainty. Unfortunately, even with trading costs dropping significantly over the last decade, £1,000 is insufficient to build a diversified portfolio by picking individual stocks.

As such, suppose an investor who’s just getting started and doesn’t expect more capital to emerge in the near future? In that case, they may be better off focusing on low-cost index funds instead of trying to find the best individual shares to buy today.

These specialised investment vehicles replicate the performance of an underlying index such as the FTSE 100 or FTSE 250. Buying shares in an index fund is the equivalent of buying a small stake in every business within the underlying index in a single transaction. This keeps trading costs at a minimum as well as instantly results in a diversified portfolio. And since index funds run themselves, it also puts investments on autopilot requiring minimal effort.

Picking shares to buy

Of course, index investing has a downside – it’s impossible to achieve market-beating returns. That’s where stock picking comes into play.

For an investor with an existing diversified portfolio or a steady income that can supply additional capital each month, picking individual stocks may be the better option. By selecting companies instead of an index, there’s a significantly higher level of control and concentration that can yield superior returns. And when executed well, stock-picking strategies can generate enormous amounts of wealth. Just look at billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

However, there’s a giant caveat. Stock picking is harder. Beyond the knowledge requirements, a hand-picked portfolio can often be significantly more volatile than an index fund. And investors lacking patience, confidence, and emotional discipline could destroy wealth even if they manage to pick the best shares to buy.

The bottom line

Regardless of how an individual chooses to invest £1k, it’s important to remember that investing is never risk-free. Even diversified portfolios can suffer large dips under the right conditions. But when taking a disciplined approach to the stock market, it’s possible to unlock a mountain of wealth in the long run.

The post Looking for shares to buy? Here’s what investors can do with a £1,000 lump sum appeared first on The Motley Fool UK.

Like buying £1 for 51p

This seems ridiculous, but we almost never see shares looking this cheap. Yet this recent ‘Best Buy Now’ has a price/book ratio of 0.51. In plain English, this means that investors effectively get in on a business that holds £1 of assets for every 51p they invest!

Of course, this is the stock market where money is always at risk — these valuations can change and there are no guarantees. But some risks are a LOT more interesting than others, and at The Motley Fool we believe this company is amongst them.

What’s more, it currently boasts a stellar dividend yield of around 8.5%, and right now it’s possible for investors to jump aboard at near-historic lows. Want to get the name for yourself?

See the full investment case

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Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.