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Before You Invest

Whether or not you work with a financial professional, there are several things to know before investing to help you make informed choices and protect yourself against fraud.

Investment education

One of the most important things you can do prior to investing is to educate yourself. Learning basic financial industry terminology is a good place to start, along with understanding various investment products and the risks associated with them.

You can take advantage of the many educational resources available online to increase your understanding of financial planning and investing. One in particular is the Financial Literacy Resource Directory from the US Department of Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Keep in mind that investing differs greatly from depositing money in bank. Federal deposit insurance guarantees bank deposits up to a certain amount. The value of stocks, bonds, and other securities, however, fluctuates with market conditions. There’s no guarantee you’ll make money from your investments. They could lose value.

That’s why it’s also important to learn how the stock market works. A good resource is the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) website where you can learn how stocks are traded, the types of orders, how to execute an order, and more.

You’ll also find information about various investment products ranging from annuities to money market funds. Every saving and investment product has different potential risks and returns.

Know the value of a financial professional

Both investing and financial planning can be intimidating for “first-timers.” Even experienced investors sometimes struggle with changing industry regulations and making investments without emotions getting in the way. If you’re not comfortable investing on your own, consider working with a financial professional.  

The following articles provide information on why you may want to work with a financial professional, and how to choose one that is best for you.

Find a financial professional

Once you’re ready to seek out a financial professional, use our financial professional search tool to find one that can help you through the investing and/or financial planning processes.