Key Messages from World Investor Week 2019
An Investor Bulletin message issued by the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) highlights three key messages from the 2019 World Investor Week campaign.
What is World Investor Week?
World Investor Week (WIW) is a week-long global campaign promoted by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) to raise awareness about the importance of investor education and protection and highlight the various initiatives of securities regulators in these two critical areas.
Securities regulators on six continents provide a range of activities, such as launching investor-focused communications and services, promote contests to increase awareness of investor education initiatives, organize workshops and conferences, and conduct local/national campaigns in their own jurisdictions.
Here are the three key messages for Main Street investors from the 2019 World Investor Week.
Start Investing Early
One of the best ways to build wealth is by saving and investing over a long period of time. The earlier you start, the easier it is for your money to grow. If you have a workplace retirement plan, consider enrolling and maximizing your contribution—there are tax advantages, and you may even be eligible for a match from your employer (free money!). Set up regular, automatic contributions. Investing early is especially important for millennials. To learn more, visit NASAA’s new Millennial Money Mission. If you want a preview of how your investments can grow, check out Investor.gov’s Compound Interest Calculator to run some scenarios based on your contributions, and assumed interest rates.
Diversification is a good way to reduce risk. All investments have some risk, but that risk can be heightened when you only invest in a single, or even just a few, stocks, bonds, or other securities. One way to minimize investment risk is to spread your investments around. That way, market downturns affecting any one company or sector can be potentially offset by growth in another. Products like mutual funds and ETFs may help you diversify and are often offered through workplace retirement plans. You can also choose Target Date Funds that automatically change your overall investment mix from aggressive growth-seeking early in your career to more conservative assets as you approach retirement age. It’s also important to understand the impact of fees on your investments over time. Compare fund fees and expenses using FINRA’s Fund Analyzer.
Make Sure Your Investment Professional Is Licensed
Are you thinking about using an investment professional? Investor.gov can help you research and select an investment professional and, importantly, confirm that they are licensed and registered. You can also contact your state or provincial securities regulator to make sure an investment product and the person selling it are properly licensed or registered and to learn more about your investment professional’s background. Unlicensed, unregistered persons commit much of the investment fraud in the United States and Canada, so this is an important first step if you are considering an investment professional. Different types of investment professionals offer a range of products and investment services—from providing low-cost platforms for do-it-yourself investors to comprehensive portfolio management and everything in between. When choosing an investment professional, consider which products and services the professional offers, how those can help you best achieve your goals, and how and how much you will pay.
The SEC has produced videos that highlight the difference between brokers and investment advisers, including how they are paid for their services. Don’t be shy when it comes to asking questions about the fees and expenses that come with your investments. After all, it is your money!
- Check out Brokers with FINRA’s BrokerCheck
- Check the Registration of Commodity Futures and Derivatives Professionals
- CFTC Fraud Prevention Resources
- CFTC Resources on Virtual Currencies
- CFTC Customer Advisory: There’s Nothing to Like about Scammers on Social Media
- NASAA Investor Education Resources
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article was published by FINRA on October 1, 2019. This information is provided to our clients and other friends for educational purposes only. CrowdEngine is not guaranteeing any information as reliable or accurate, and that it’s subject to change at any time. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. Please contact your lawyer with respect to any of the matters discussed here.