Taking control of your finances

By Audrey SomnardLex Kleren Switch to French for original article

It has been possible to become an investor with a few clicks for several years now. If the bank adviser is relegated to the wardrobe, the investment platforms still look like a jungle where it is not good to venture without preparation. Here is an explanation.

All financial advisers will tell you that the basis for any investment is to build up so-called "emergency" savings, the equivalent of three to six months' expenses to cover any unexpected eventuality (unemployment, unexpected large expenses, moving house, separation, etc.). For the lucky ones who still have enough to save at the end of the month, it is wise to invest this sum in a context where savings accounts with low returns are below inflation. The simplest solution so far has been to go to your retail bank and let a financial adviser guide you through the process of investing this money for you. Without too much risk, but above all without asking too many questions about the costs involved.

Not because advisers are unwilling to respond, but because for many, finance remains an opaque and complicated world, where trying to understand something about it would be opening a Pandora's box: "Financial services are far too complex. Finance is not an end in itself, it's a means to an end, whether it's buying a house or something else, whether it's tomorrow or in the longer term", explained Nasir Zubairi, CEO of the Luxembourg House of Financial Technology (LHoFT), in a previous article. "Going to the bank is often because you want to invest your money but you don't want to deal with it, so the banker manages it. Very often clients don't take the time to ask questions", explains Grégory Guilmin, author of the book Bien débuter en Bourse (Getting Started in the Stock Market), who has made financial education his hobbyhorse.

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