The world of investment is a constantly changing entity, one that continues to evolve according to global economy shifts, political events, and social upheaval. This has been particularly true in recent times, as there have been a number of significant trend investment reversals within both developed and emerging markets.

Despite this changeable and unpredictable nature, however, there are a series of fundamental rules that all investors must abide by if they are to succeed. These are based on the philosophic principle of determinism, which dictates that investors must adhere to their philosophy at all times and understand the underlying laws that govern change.

With this in mind, what are the key tips that investors should follow when looking to commit their capital in 2014? Consider the following:

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1. Never invest more than you are prepared to lose

As a starting point, you should never commit more than you are prepared to lose when investing capital. It is therefore important to fully appraise your financial circumstances before making a commitment, paying careful attention to: the chosen vehicle for investment, your disposable income levels, and any potential returns. Failing to adhere to this rule will create a debilitating cycle of debt and loss, and may eventually force you to take ill-advised risks in the quest to recoup your capital.

2. Build a contingency fund

On a similar note, the most experienced investors tend to operate within their financial means while also developing a viable contingency fund. This is a must for anyone with an appreciation of risk management, as this capital can be used to offset losses, balance your trading account, and provide security in the event of an economic downturn. A contingency fund can serve alternative purposes that suit your exact need, and generally afford you flexibility in the quest to maximize your profitability.

3. Develop your investment portfolio over time

Another fundamental rule of successful investment revolves around timing, as you need to pace yourself and develop your portfolio over time. Whether you wish to deal predominantly in derivatives, such as currency, or if you want to invest in physical commodities, such as shares or property, you must start slowly and look to expand your portfolio in line with the return that it generates. Patience is the key to accessing long-term gains, especially in a volatile or unpredictable economic climate.

4. Diversify your portfolio

As your financial returns begin to grow, you should look to diversify your portfolio and invest in a wider range of market sectors. This not only helps to offset the potential risk posed by economic decline and sudden market shifts, but it also affords you the opportunity to maximize your earnings over a prolonged period of time. Diversification also brings great responsibility, however, as you must adopt a proactive approach towards managing your portfolio and changing it to suit prevailing economic trends.

5. Automate your investments and offset risk

One of the ways through which you can streamline the diversification process is to automate your accounts, using online trading platforms and software to implement risk management measures. Online trading accounts feature a host of automated tools that have been designed to minimize your risk as an investor, including stop losses. You could even take this principle further by embracing the concept of automated trading, which uses predetermined algorithms to execute trades in real-time across a range of financial markets.

6. Take advantage of tax-free growth and investment options

From bank accounts to financial markets and derivatives, there are numerous investment options that remain free from capital gains tax. In terms of the former, you should consider investing your idle capital into cash ISAs. Any interest that you accumulate on these accounts is completely tax free in the current economy. With regards to the latter, there are also tax-free stocks and share ISAs, which are far higher risk but also capable of delivering inflated returns over time.

7. Look to reinvest any interest that you generate from your income

It is extremely difficult to maximize your financial returns without encountering risk, so it is important to strike a balance between being risk-averse and conscientious as an investor. One of the best ways of achieving this is by looking to reinvest any interest that you generate from the income that you have invested, whether it is withdrawn from a standard savings account or an online trading portfolio. This enables you to invest more into your portfolio without placing existing capital at risk, while it is also an excellent way of maximizing both your short and long-term returns.

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