Putting it all together
Have a financial plan that includes:
- Your financial goals. Why do you want to invest? Are
you saving for a home, education, or comfortable retirement?
- Your current financial status, including your assets
and liabilities. Examples of assets are income, bank accounts, retirement
plans such as a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA), annuities,
life insurance, etc.
- Liabilities include your home mortgage balance, any
outstanding debt, etc.
- Your risk tolerance.
- Financial measurements how will you know when
you have accomplished your goals?
- An emergency fund. Before you invest, make sure you
set aside money for emergencies such as possible unemployment or car
or appliance repair or replacement.
Get the Facts: The SEC's Roadmap to Saving and Investing
If you feel confident in investing on your own, do
your research. Understand the stock market and the many investment
products available. Talk to those you trust who invest on their own.
Read reputable national financial publications either in print or online.
on your own U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Investments Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
Investing - Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
Working with a financial professional
Financial professionals who help you with your investments
fall into three categories: broker/dealers, investment advisers, and
financial planners. An individual professional can hold any of these
three credentials, among others. This chart
will help you decide whom to work with.
Saving Money Helpful Tips and Budget Calculators
Calculators, budgeting worksheets, and checklists
a Budget (PDF)
A fillable PDF from the Federal Trade Commission
to Plan a Personal Budget
Tips from eHow
You Need an Emergency Fund (PDF)
Eight great tips to start an emergency fund
How it works
Helpful information from bankrate.com on direct depositing your paycheck
Go Direct Federal benefits
switch to electronic payments March 1
Get information on the required switch from paper checks to electronic
payments (Social Security, Veterans Affairs, and other federal benefits)
from the Social Security Administration
Planning for Your Retirement
Information from the North American Securities Administrators Association
Questions and answers from the U.S. Department of Labor
Resources for employers and employees