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What should I do to make sure I have the right types of investments?

Start by figuring out what your investment objectives are before you start investing. This will guide you to the general investment types that will meet your needs.

Here are the three key investment objectives:

Growth -- equity-type investments such as common stocks offer this; Fixed-income - bonds and preferred shares are examples; Preservation of capital - short-term investments such as government treasury bills and GICs.

Your investment objectives will probably include a mixture of the three.

If you are investing for your retirement 20 or 30 years from now, growth will probably be your main investment objective. You would want to build up your capital. Equity investments, over the long term, have historically generated the highest returns and have kept investors ahead of inflation. But they are best suited as a long-term investment since they can also lose money, particularly over the short-term. This is why people at or near retirement generally start to scale back their equity investments in favor of more fixed-income and short-term investments. Preserving their capital and having income become priorities. The actual proportion of your money devoted to each of growth, fixed-income and preservation of capital will depend on which of those objectives is your priority. This proportion is called your asset mix. Your asset mix must also take into account how much risk you are comfortable taking. Loading up on equity-type investments like stocks won't be appropriate if you aren't comfortable with the ups and downs that go with equity investments. Your asset mix has to let you sleep at night. Whatever you invest in, it should be consistent with your investment objectives. If you have decided the equity portion of your portfolio will be stocks, you would start looking at what specific stocks to put your money into. Consider getting professional advice. Investments that suit one investor may not meet your needs.