Investment Savings

More and more people who take the America Saves pledge are choosing investment savings as their goal. Making investments can build wealth over time more reliably than using a savings account, but it also involves risk. So, it’s important to educate yourself. Here are some resources to help.

Before You Invest

Before you start comparing investment options, learning about some basics like asset allocation, diversification, and risk tolerance will help you decide which to choose. Check out the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) time-tested rules and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) guiding principles. This glossary is useful, too.

Investment Options

According to the SEC, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are the most common types of investments. Other options include annuities, exchange-traded funds, money market funds, and U.S. Treasury securities. The SEC provides details about various investments. FINRA, an independent organization that also regulates the securities industry, provides a helpful overview of different types of investments. 

Making Your Investment

After learning some basics, it’s time to decide how you want to invest your money. The SEC can help you decide whether to invest on your own, or hire a broker or adviser. If you decide to use a professional, you should make sure that your broker or adviser is a fiduciary, which means they owe you legal duties to serve your best interest. Not all financial professionals are legally required to be a fiduciary. If the financial professional you work with is not already legally required to be a fiduciary, make sure they sign this fiduciary oath, agreeing to act as a fiduciary under the law. You can find fiduciary financial professionals at CFP Board, Financial Planning Association, and National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). FINRA and NAPFA offer step-by-step guides for evaluating financial professionals.

Protecting Yourself from Investment Pitfalls

Fees

To get the most out of the money you invest, it’s important to understand the fees. The more you pay in fees, the lower the return on your investment. Find out what you need to know from the SEC.

Fraud

Unfortunately, investment fraud like Ponzi schemes and advance fee scams are a fact of life. You may stumble across some fraudulent investment offers as you research your options. Make sure you know how to avoid losing your hard-earned money to fraud by following the advice of the BBB, FINRA, and the SEC.

 

Tip of the Day

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Saver Tips and Stories View all »

Live Like a College Student

Nohemi found out about America Saves a few years ago as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She remembers attending a University of Illinois Saves event where she decorated a piggy bank and took the Pledge, but college life made her put the thought of saving at the back of her mind. Those thrifty thoughts resurfaced when she graduated with a degree in public health.

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Don’t Laugh at Saving Spare Change

Virginia Saves saver, Brittany, decided to start saving again when she became a single mother. She thinks many women, and men, can relate. According to Brittany, “You work out a financial plan with a significant other, you get married and/or have children, you live together and pay bills. However, for one reason or another, life throws you a curve ball and changes the whole scenario. It is so important for a single person, especially a single parent, to have control over their own finances. We have to learn to use what we currently have, and make our paycheck last, to ensure our children and ourselves, are healthy and in a good place. America Saves emails have served as that voice, whispering to me, "It's okay! Day by day, you CAN save and you CAN take care of yourself and your children.”

Brittany’s #1 savings tip: Don't laugh at saving spare change, or an extra dollar from a paycheck. These small efforts are like all of the streams into a sea of water.

Taking Steps Toward Financial Fitness

Nicky Vasquez learned about Virginia Saves when she attended her first class with Bank On Virginia Beach. The instructor shared how important it was to have a written savings goal, and the entire class joined Virginia Saves as the first step toward financial fitness.

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