Today’s investments are steps toward tomorrow’s dreams. Whether it’s real estate, stocks, bonds, or another financial product, we buy in hopes that our investments will prosper and help us reach our financial goals. But all investments carry risk. It’s risk that provides the opportunity for money to grow.
We as consumers have rights and responsibilities to make that risk work for us in the best possible way. Decide how much risk is comfortable for you. Then begin to exercise your investor’s rights:
- Expect honesty in advertising
Investment opportunities often come to our attention through ads. Although false advertising is against the law, the burden is on the investor to get complete details before buying any investment product.
- Seek full and accurate information
You have the right to all the information available on the investment you are considering. What company or individual will you be doing business with? What is the rate of return? How is that return calculated? Is there an annual report or prospectus for you to study?
- Question and consider the risks
Find out all you can about the risks involved in your potential investment. Understand clearly not only how you can make money but also how you might lose money on any given investment. Is the risk acceptable to you?
- Take the time you need to study the facts
You have the right to take enough time to make an informed and well-considered investment decision. Pressure to buy “now or never” suggests that “never” is probably the best choice.
- Expect responsible investment advice
Many investors rely on professional financial advisors. Professionals have a responsibility to find out enough about your financial goals to give sound advice. Investors must make sure their advisors receive the information needed to tailor advice to each unique situation.
- Expect responsible money management
All companies and individuals that accept money from investors have the obligation to manage that money with their best efforts. Investors have the right to expect personal attention and sound money management.
- Keep informed about your investments
Investors have the right to timely and accurate information on the status of their money. Know where your money is and how and when you can gain access to it if necessary.
Exercising your investment rights begins with self-knowledge. Take time to develop a clear picture of your financial goals and dreams. If you seek help from a professional advisor, contribute to your investment plan by offering good information about your situation and your goals. Look for an advisor who makes a point of getting to know you and works to create an investment plan that matches your needs.