Are you prepared for your financial future? That’s the question the Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is asking investors. To help investors get started with creating their own saving and investing plan, OIEA developed an investor preparedness checklist to empower them.
In addition to encouraging investors to start early and go to Investor.gov before they invest, the checklist reminds investors to: identify goals and create a financial plan; pay off high-interest debt; participate in company retirement plans and take full advantage of employer matching; do a background check on any investment professional; understand risk tolerance; understand fees; research investments; maintain a diverse portfolio; and avoid investment opportunities that sound too good to be true.
Also today, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton released the first of several videos in a new series, “Notes from the Chairman.” These videos are based on SEC investor town halls and feature Jay Clayton’s top tips for Main Street investors. Further videos highlighting additional investing basics will be released soon. The Chairman’s personal notes from the town halls are also available to the public on SEC.gov.
“As we’ve traveled the country, I have met many, many people who wished they had started investing earlier and not a person who wished they had started later,” said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. “Get started, get any high interest rate debt under control, diversify, take advantage of employer matching, keep fees and costs down and ask questions are my key messages.”
April is National Financial Capability Month, and OIEA and SEC regional office staff across the country are supporting this effort by participating in education programs and activities with military service members, students, seniors and the general public. The SEC staff is committed to empowering Main Street investors and enhancing their understanding of financial principles and practices.
“Getting practical and unbiased saving and investing information into the hands of Main Street investors is our top priority and something we do everyday in the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy,” said Lori J. Schock, Director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. “National Financial Capability Month is a perfect time to call attention to the excellent resources we have on Investor.gov to help investors navigate their way to a successful financial future.”
Among the themes the SEC's investor education staff will convey to investors this month:
- Start Early and Create a Financial Plan to Reach Your Goals – Use our roadmap to saving and investing. Understand the basics of investing and how to research public companies before making an investment.
- Pay Off High Interest Rate Debt – No investment strategy pays off as well as, or with less risk than, eliminating high interest debt.
- Empower Yourself by Using the Free Tools and Resources on Investor.gov – Check the background of any investment professional before investing. See how your money can grow over time by using the power of compound interest.
- Understand Investment Fees and Their Impact on Returns – Fees and expenses can have a real effect on your investments, including mutual funds and ETFs, variable annuities, and 529 college savings plans.
- Discover an Easy Way to Boost Your Retirement Savings – Take full advantage of company matching and the “free money” many employer-sponsored retirement plans offer.
- Avoid Investment Opportunities that Sound Too Good to Be True – Be alert that claims of high returns with little to no risk are a common red flag for potential investment fraud. Learn more about how to avoid investment scams, take steps to protect your online investment accounts from fraud and look out for potential scams involving public companies making ICO-related claims.
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