Investor Highlights

Close up of button on business white calculator ©iStockphoto.com/Pattanaphong Khuankaew Capital Gains Explained
You bought a stock. That stock then surged 20 percent in value. Hooray! You now have 20 percent more cash in your pocket, right? Not so fast. Here’s a look at what the capital gains tax is and how it works.
Road Closure Signage As Water Covers The Road ©iStockphoto.com/djperry Beware of Stock Fraud in the Wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
After a major hurricane like Harvey or Irma, one thing you can count on is that scammers will try to take advantage of the situation. This article explains how to spot and protect yourself from potential investment scams in the wake of Harvey and Irma.

 

Retirement Savings ©iStockphoto.com/zimmytws 5 Things to Do In Your 50s and 60s to Boost Retirement Savings
When you're young, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking there's no rush to save for retirement. But before you know it, you may find yourself in your 50s or 60s, and nowhere near your retirement savings goal. These tips can help you catch up.
Business Team Investment Entrepreneur Trading Concept ©iStockphoto.com/Rawpixel T+2 is Here
A new era in securities settlement has arrived. T+2—the new, and shorter, standard settlement cycle for securities transactions in the U.S.—is now a reality.

 

Disaster Planning—5 Things to Put in Your Financial Emergency Kit ©iStockphoto.com/Spectral-Design Disaster Planning—5 Things to Put in Your Financial Emergency Kit
Hurricane Harvey’s destruction is a forceful reminder that you rarely have very much advance warning to prepare for natural disasters. For this reason, it's important to assemble a financial emergency kit now, ahead of a crisis. Here are 5 things your kit should include.

 

Family with spyglass looking toward ocean ©iStockphoto.com/Bill Oxford Planning Ahead—Have You Chosen Your Beneficiaries?
It’s tempting to put off until tomorrow some of the important decisions about what happens to your retirement assets when you die. But it pays to plan ahead, especially for accounts that aren’t transferred by will or trust. Start here: Make sure there are designated beneficiaries for any retirement savings plans and pensions you own or may be entitled to.

 

Young boy in tie with phone, notebook and money ©iStockphoto.com/tatyana_tomsickova 6 Tips for Parents Looking To Improve Financial Literacy in Kids
Some students heading back to school this fall will see at least a bit of their classroom time devoted to personal finance, but that doesn’t mean the lessons should stop there. Here are six tips for parents looking to guide their kids toward wise money management at an early age.

 

Group of Senior Retirement Friends Happiness ©iStockphoto.com/Rawpixel 4 Financial Resources for Senior Investors
Senior Citizen’s Day, which is August 21, gives us the opportunity to pay tribute to the many contributions seniors make to their communities—and to bring awareness to issues of particular importance to America’s older citizens. One of those issues is investor protection. Here are four resources from FINRA that seniors can use every day of the year.

 

Mature Woman Helping Senior Neighbor With Home Finances ©iStockphoto.com/Highwaystarz-Photography How to Talk to Aging Parents About Money
When you were a kid, your parents probably talked to you about the value of a buck or how you might spend your allowance. As you and your parents age, you may find the situation reversed—and that it’s time for you to have the “money talk” with your parents.

 

Money and Flag ©iStockphoto.com/William_Potter Real Analysis or Paid Promotion? Beware of Investment Research Stock Scams
Fraudsters seeking to convince you of "hot" new investment opportunities may try an array of tactics. Beware of this new tactic that may fool even sophisticated investors: posting stock recommendations on stock research websites that investors may turn to for securities news and analysis.

 

Money and Flag ©iStockphoto.com/Bill Oxford Here's How America Saves For Retirement. How Do You Save?
Americans have changed the way they save for retirement. Gone are the days where a company pension served as the cornerstone of retirement assets for many Americans. Here are six trends. How do your retirement saving practices stack up?

 

Woman in a Library ©iStockphoto.com/4FR The Native American Experience: Understanding Financial Capability
Many Native Americans—more so than other minority populations—face difficult financial circumstances and undergo high levels of financial fragility, with one in four Native Americans living in poverty, according to a recent study.

 

Excited African American college graduate ©iStockphoto.com/Steve Debenport ABLE Accounts Can Help Americans With Disabilities Save
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 provided Americans with disabilities the opportunity to save in a tax-deferred account similar to a 529 college savings plan, as a supplement to their government benefits. Here are six things you should know about ABLE accounts, which are also called 529 A accounts.

 

When the Trading Stops—Part 2: Delays and Suspensions ©iStockphoto.com/AndreyPopov When the Trading Stops—Part 2: Delays and Suspensions
Stock trading in U.S. markets usually proceeds smoothly throughout the trading day, but in this article, we’ll look at a two scenarios that can cause trading intermissions—trading delays and suspensions.

 

When the Trading Stops—Part I: Trading Halts ©iStockphoto.com/Maximkostenko When the Trading Stops—Part I: Trading Halts
These days many investors are trading online, whether through the Internet or through other electronic means, such as a mobile app. This may sound pretty straight forward, but there continues to be some common misconceptions about online trading. Here are four myths in need of busting.

 

Fake Online Job Interviews: Terminate Before It's Too Late ©iStockphoto.com/Szepy Fake Online Job Interviews: Terminate Before It's Too Late
These days many investors are trading online, whether through the Internet or through other electronic means, such as a mobile app. This may sound pretty straight forward, but there continues to be some common misconceptions about online trading. Here are four myths in need of busting.

 

4 Actions to Build Financial Independence This July 4th ©iStockphoto.com/Nikada 4 Actions to Build Financial Independence This July 4th
These days many investors are trading online, whether through the Internet or through other electronic means, such as a mobile app. This may sound pretty straight forward, but there continues to be some common misconceptions about online trading. Here are four myths in need of busting.

 

4 Myths About Online Trading ©iStockphoto.com/xijian 4 Myths About Online Trading
These days many investors are trading online, whether through the Internet or through other electronic means, such as a mobile app. This may sound pretty straight forward, but there continues to be some common misconceptions about online trading. Here are four myths in need of busting.

 

Start Your Financial Road Trip With an Emergency Fund ©iStockphoto.com/blueclue Start Your Financial Road Trip With an Emergency Fund
It’s an annual rite for many families—the summer road trip. Travel experts offer road-trip survival tips, from tuning up the car to keeping your cell phone charged. Good preparation is also essential to a successful financial road trip. For this journey, one of the best places to begin is with an emergency fund.

 

Be Safe—5 Things You Need to Know About SAFE Securities and Crowdfunding ©iStockphoto.com/VMasterArt Be Safe—5 Things You Need to Know About SAFE Securities and Crowdfunding
Some issuers have been offering a new type of security as part of some crowdfunding offerings—which they have called a SAFE. The acronym stands for Simple Agreement for Future Equity. SAFE accounts come with risks, and are very different from traditional common stock.

 

5 Ways Moms (and All Women) Can Take Charge of Their Financial Futures ©iStockphoto.com/DragonImages 5 Ways Moms (and All Women) Can Take Charge of Their Financial Futures
This year, you may have a few more reasons to celebrate Mom. The impact of women’s earnings, and the financial contributions they make to their families, continues to grow. Here are five ways women can take charge of their financial futures.

 

Put the 'You' in Your Employer's Automatic Retirement Plan ©iStockphoto.com/payphoto Put the "You" in Your Employer's Automatic Retirement Plan
Automatic features make saving simple, but auto-saving isn’t the same as putting things on autopilot. These tips will help you make the most of your company’s automatic retirement savings features.

 

You Can Protect Yourself from Fake Check Scams ©iStockphoto.com/stanley45 You Can Protect Yourself from Fake Check Scams
FINRA has received numerous calls recently from individuals who have received unexpected checks, some from organizations whose names are household words. To those callers, we offer a concise response: Don’t cash the check, it’s almost certainly counterfeit.

 

Retirement Isn't Free—But Your 401(k) Match Is ©iStockphoto.com/plherrera Retirement Isn't Free—But Your 401(k) Match Is
Retirement savers, are you making the most of your company's 401(k) match? Even though a quarter of the year has gone by, you can take steps to make the most of your company's 401(k) match. Each year, Americans leave billions of dollars in 401(k) company matches on the table. Here's how to avoid becoming one of the estimated one-of-four employees who misses out on free money.

 

Treasury Securities—3 Ways to Lend to Uncle Sam ©iStockphoto.com/mj0007 Treasury Securities—3 Ways to Lend to Uncle Sam
Did you know Uncle Sam is one of the world's biggest borrowers? To help finance its operations, the U.S. government borrows money by selling investors a variety of debt securities known collectively as Treasury securities, or simply, Treasuries. These securities have a special place in the investment world, since they are the benchmark by which most other debt securities are measured.

 

A Recovery Checklist for Victims of Investment Fraud ©iStockphoto.com/alexskopje A Recovery Checklist for Victims of Investment Fraud
Sadly, most of us know someone who has been a victim of a crime, or we may have been ourselves a target. During this year's annual observances of National Crime Victims' Rights Week (April 2-8), FINRA is sharing some steps you can take to help recover from the emotional and financial aftershocks of investment fraud if you or someone you know lost money in a scam.

 

AARP Bulletin Features Gerri Walsh in 'The Fraud Squad'  ©AARP AARP Bulletin Features Gerri Walsh in "The Fraud Squad"
Scammers wasted no time in 2017 redoubling their efforts to bilk investors, according to Gerri Walsh, Senior Vice President for Investor Education at FINRA and President of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. Walsh, who is featured on the cover of the April 2017 issue of the AARP Bulletin as a member of the “Fraud Squad,” discusses the latest developments in investment fraud alongside other fraud experts.

 

Don't Be an April Fool—Required Minimum Distribution Deadline is April 1 ©iStockphoto.com/faustasyan Don't Be an April Fool—Required Minimum Distribution Deadline is April 1
If you turned age 70½ during 2016, the IRS wants to remind you that in most cases you must start taking required minimum distributions from your Individual Retirement Accounts and workplace retirement plans by Saturday, April 1, 2017.

 

Duration—What an Interest Rate Hike Could Do to Your Bond Portfoli ©iStockphoto.com/bjdlzx Binary Options Follow-Up Schemes: Don't Lose Money Twice
FINRA is issuing this alert to warn anyone involved in binary options trading—specifically through unregistered non-U.S. companies offering binary options trading platforms or services—to be on guard for potential follow-up frauds.

 

Duration—What an Interest Rate Hike Could Do to Your Bond Portfoli ©iStockphoto.com/G0d4ather Duration—What an Interest Rate Hike Could Do to Your Bond Portfolio
If you own bonds or have money in a bond fund, there is a number you should know. It is called duration. Although stated in years, duration is not simply a measure of time. Instead, duration signals how much the price of your bond investment is likely to fluctuate when there is an up or down movement in interest rates. The higher the duration number, the more sensitive your bond investment will be to changes in interest rates.

 

America, It's Time to Save Pledge-to-save-for-your-future! ©Copyright Military Saves America, It's Time to Save
February 27 – March 4 is America Saves Week and Military Saves Week, a time when the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) joins forces with participating organizations and military installations to encourage Americans, including service members and their families, to take action to save money.

 

Mutual Funds and Fees: What You Should Know ©iStockphoto.com/RonFullHD Mutual Funds and Fees: What You Should Know
All mutual funds charge fees. Because small percentage differences can add up to a big dollar difference in the returns on your mutual funds, it's important to be aware of all the fees associated with any fund you invest in.

 

Love and Money: Talking About Finances With Your Significant Other  ©iStockphoto.com/filadendron Love and Money: Talking About Finances With Your Significant Other
When you think about your sweetheart, you probably don't think about finances. But according to a recent study, one in three couples argued about finances, and one in 10 lied to their significant other about money. That's not exactly a recipe for romance.

 

Day Traders: Mind Your Margin  ©iStockphoto.com/solarseven Day Traders: Mind Your Margin
If you're going to day trade—and it's very risky to do so—you must abide by the rules, particularly those that deal with margin. If brokerage firm designates you as a "pattern day trader," then FINRA margin rules require that broker-dealer to impose special margin requirements on your day-trading account.

 

This Groundhog Day, Don't Repeat the Same Financial Mistakes  ©iStockphoto.com/evgenymelnikov This Groundhog Day, Don't Repeat the Same Financial Mistakes
In the movie "Groundhog Day," a small-town weatherman is fated to relive over and over again a day he would just as soon forget. Unlike the film, which ends happily, some of us wake up and find ourselves repeating the same financial mistakes time and again, with no happy ending in sight. Here are four common financial mistakes many of us make—but we don't have to repeat them again this year.

 

4 Financial Goals to Set Now and Why ©iStockphoto.com/abluecup 4 Financial Goals to Set Now and Why
Much is said and written about the need to set financial goals. But what if you are just starting out? Which goals should you set—and why? Here are four specific goals for those who are new to saving and investing. They are sound (we’ll explain why), and can help you lay a strong financial foundation for the rest of your life.

 

Key Concepts: Return and Rate of Return ©iStockphoto.com/ferrantraite Key Concepts: Return and Rate of Return
Investment return is the money you make or lose on an investment. Ideally, your return will be positive: your initial investment will remain intact and you’ll end up with more money than you invested. But your rate of return—which you figure out by dividing the gain by the amount you invest—is different.

 

Cost Basis Basics—Here's What You Need to Know ©iStockphoto.com/Violka08 Cost Basis Basics—Here's What You Need to Know
Selling an investment typically has tax consequences. To figure out whether you need to report a gain—or can claim a loss—after you sell, you need to know the cost basis for that investment.

 

Are Your Investments Ready for the New Year? FINRA Offers 7 Tips for 2017 ©iStockphoto.com/honglouwawa Are Your Investments Ready for the New Year? FINRA Offers 7 Tips for 2017
These 7 tips from FINRA can help you plan, stay abreast of changes in the market and their impact on your portfolio, and protect your investments in 2017.

 

Set a Timeframe for Your Financial Goals ©iStockphoto.com/FangXiaNuo Set a Timeframe for Your Financial Goals
It’s almost the end of another year—a good time to reflect on the accomplishments of the previous months, and start setting goals for the new year, including financial ones. To be successful, it's important to know the "when" of your financial goals. Most fit into one of these three categories: short-, medium- or long-term goals.

 

A New Investor Study: Ask Yourself These Questions ©iStockphoto.com/kali9 A New Investor Study: Ask Yourself These Questions
If you invest outside of a retirement plan, there are important findings in a new FINRA Foundation study that you should be aware of. The findings are interesting—but what’s really valuable is to ask some blunt questions about your own investment knowledge and behavior. Here are five key findings, and some questions you should ask yourself in light of the report’s findings.

 

Saving for Retirement if You Work for a Small Business ©iStockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages Saving for Retirement if You Work for a Small Business
Many small businesses offer their employees ways to save for retirement. If you work for a small business, there are some plans that the government has created specifically for these employers. Employers may choose to offer one of them, though they are not required to do so. Here is a small biz retirement plan rundown.

 

Keep Up With Recordkeeping ©iStockphoto.com/Devonyu Keep Up With Recordkeeping
If you shopped on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, chances are you did what smart shoppers are supposed to do around the holidays. You saved your receipt, just in case. When it comes to investing, the equivalent to "saving your receipt" is keeping good records of your transactions, statements and other account information.

 

How to Stay Out of the Red on Black Friday ©iStockphoto.com/svetikd How to Stay Out of the Red on Black Friday
When it comes to taking control of holiday spending this year, a recent survey offers insight on where to start if you want to stay in the black on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond. Just look in the mirror.

 

Regulators Warn Investors of Binary Options Risks ©iStockphoto.com/David Clark Regulators Warn Investors of Binary Options Risks
Trading binary options can be an extremely risky proposition. Unlike other types of options contracts, binary options are all-or-nothing propositions. Trading binary options is made even riskier by fraudulent schemes, many of which originate outside the United States.

 

The Basics of Selecting Investments ©iStockphoto.com/cacaroot The Basics of Selecting Investments
Whether you decide to use an investment professional or not, it's important to understand what your investment choices are and how different types of investments put your money to work. Some factors that make a difference in your investment selection are your goals, or what you want to accomplish by investing, and the time frames for meeting those goals. It's also important to have a handle on your attitude toward risk, or what's called your risk tolerance.

 

What You Need to Know About 401(k) Loans ©iStockphoto.com/Kameleon007 What You Need to Know About 401(k) Loans
In a financial emergency, you may be able to tap into your 401(k) plan assets in the form of a loan. But while taking a loan may help solve an immediate financial need, there can be consequences that may reduce your long-term financial security.

 

During Open Enrollment, Be Open to Retirement Saving Opportunities ©iStockphoto.com/James Brey During Open Enrollment, Be Open to Retirement Saving Opportunities
Open enrollment is an employee's annual opportunity to choose a medical, dental or vision plan; change or start flexible spending accounts; or add or drop dependents to insurance coverage. It's also a time to take stock of retirement savings plans.

 

Steps to Plan for Diminished Financial Capacity and Illness ©iStockphoto.com/Pamela Moore Steps to Plan for Diminished Financial Capacity and Illness
Aging can change many things in a person's life, including the ability to manage one's own money. Given this sobering reality, here are some important steps to plan for diminished financial capacity and illness.

 

When Was the Last Time You Read Your Brokerage Account Statement? ©iStockphoto.com/faizzaki When Was the Last Time You Read Your Brokerage Account Statement?
Recently, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) took action against a firm that failed to properly supervise one of its employees who took more than $370,000 from five customer brokerage accounts. Looking out for suspicious transactions is just one reason investors should always open and review their account statements.

 

Tick Size Pilot Program – What Investors Need To Know ©iStockphoto.com/blackred Tick Size Pilot Program – What Investors Need To Know
FINRA and the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) are issuing this investor advisory to explain the pilot and how it might affect certain orders you place with your full-service or online brokerage firm. We also provide some background on the pilot and why it is being implemented.

 

Legitimate Avenues for Recovering Investment Losses ©iStockphoto.com/zest_marina Legitimate Avenues for Recovering Investment Losses
It can be difficult to recover assets lost to fraud or other scenarios in which an investor has experienced a problem with an investment. But there are legitimate ways to attempt recovery. In most cases, you can do so on your own—at little or no cost.

 

It Can Be Hard to Recover from 'Recovery' Scams ©iStockphoto.com/bjdlzx It Can Be Hard to Recover from "Recovery" Scams
It's an alluring offer. You hear from someone who claims to be able to help you recover money you lost from a previous investment. The catch? They want you to pay money upfront for the recovery "services," which in some cases are purely fraudulent. FINRA is alerting investors, particularly those who live outside the U.S., that offers to recover money lost from securities investments may be fraudulent.

 

When a Brokerage Account Holder Dies—What Comes Next? ©iStockphoto.com/Jodi Jacobson When a Brokerage Account Holder Dies—What Comes Next?
Many firms have trained staff and resources to help the living address brokerage account estate matters. While specific procedures vary, brokerage firms tend to follow a fairly similar process of transitioning accounts to heirs and beneficiaries when a brokerage account owner dies. Once a firm has been notified of the death of an account holder, which should be done in a timely manner, here are some things you can expect.

 

Beware of Fake Check Scams ©iStockphoto.com/AndreyPopov Beware of Fake Check Scams
This Alert provides information and tips about "mystery shopper," "modeling" and other job-search scams in which individuals receive checks that appear to be from legitimate companies—including FINRA.

 

Tapping Your 529 Plan for the First Time—Tips for Freshman Parents ©iStockphoto.com/Rawpixel Ltd Tapping Your 529 Plan for the First Time—Tips for Freshman Parents
You've been saving for your child's higher education for a long time, and now it's time to start tapping it to pay for college costs. We all learn by doing, but when it comes to tax-advantaged savings such as a 529 College Savings Plan (where the IRS is looking over your shoulder), it's best not to make any rookie mistakes. Keep these tips in mind as you make your freshman withdrawals from your 529 savings account.

 

Three Resources for Senior Investors ©iStockphoto.com/vitranc Three Resources for Senior Investors
In case you missed it, Senior Citizen's Day was August 21. Designated by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, the day offers a time to pay tribute to the many contributions seniors make to their communities, and to bring awareness to issues of particular importance to America's older citizens. One of those issues is investor protection. FINRA offers three helpful resources for seniors that they can use year round.

 

A Millennials' Guide to Financial Capability ©iStockphoto.com/PBNJ Productions A Millennials' Guide to Financial Capability
Millennials have their financial work cut out for them. Compared to older generations, America's younger adults (those aged 18 - 34) are more financially vulnerable and face greater financial challenges. That's the less-than-rosy picture painted by findings from the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), released in July by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

 

Understanding Order Types Can Save Time and Money ©iStockphoto.com/ismagilov Understanding Order Types Can Save Time and Money
When you place an order to buy or sell securities, you may get more—or less—than you bargained for. Understanding the benefits and risks of various types of orders can help you avoid unintended losses and better ensure your trades are executed in a timely manner and at a price with which you are comfortable.

 

Planning for Retirement? These Numbers Really Matter  ©iStockphoto.com/monkeybusinessimages Planning for Retirement? These Numbers Really Matter
Age may be "nothing but a number," but when it comes to retirement planning some of those numbers are very important. Here are a few age milestones that it pays to be aware of, whether you are already retired, or charting your retirement course.

 

Can You Ace This Quiz? Test Your Financial Literacy ©iStockphoto.com/maurusone Can You Ace This Quiz? Test Your Financial Literacy
Findings from the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), released this month by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation), reveal that many Americans demonstrate relatively low levels of financial literacy and have difficulty applying financial decision-making skills to real-life situations.

 

The Many Faces of America's Financial Capability ©iStockphoto.com/Rawpixel Ltd The Many Faces of America's Financial Capability
The financial circumstances of Americans have improved over the last several years—but some groups, including woman, millennials, African-Americans and Hispanics—are struggling. These findings come from the National Financial Capability Study, released this month by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

 

Online Dating and Investment Fraud: Always Check Your Sources ©iStockphoto.com/Zerbor Online Dating and Investment Fraud: Always Check Your Sources
There are certain risks that go along with online dating. But did you know that investment fraud is one of them? Do some checking before you trust someone with your heart—or your money.

 

Brexit and Market Risk: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You ©iStockphoto.com/altamira83 Brexit and Market Risk: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
The vote by Britain to leave the European Union was quickly felt the world over, creating market uncertainty and spiking volatility. In our investor alert, we outline the different types of market risks your investments may be exposed to and to describe steps you can take to minimize or manage those risks.

 

Summer Study: Understanding 529 College Savings Plans ©iStockphoto.com/Melpomenem Summer Study: Understanding 529 College Savings Plans
Another school year has come to an end. For many parents, it’s a time when they realize that their child is one year closer to going to college, which, in turn, means it is a year closer to having to pay for higher education expenses. One way to save for college is to open and fund a 529 College Savings Plan.

 

Single-Payment Car-Title Loans Can Take You for a Ride ©iStockphoto.com/GrashAlex Single-Payment Car-Title Loans Can Take You for a Ride
According to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), one in five borrowers of single-payment car-title loans have their vehicles seized when they fall behind on repayment of their loans. The CFPB report illustrates just how difficult it is for many borrowers to avoid getting caught in the title-loan trap.

 

5 Tips for Avoiding Viral Disease Stock Scams ©iStockphoto.com/4x6 5 Tips for Avoiding Viral Disease Stock Scams
Dramatic news coverage of viral outbreaks often catch the interest of stock scammers looking to capitalize on fears of a potential pandemic. Investors should be wary of promotions touting stocks that claim to protect against the spread of viruses or other harmful diseases.

 

5 Questions to Ask When Your Broker Changes Firms ©iStockphoto.com/diego_cervo 5 Questions to Ask When Your Broker Changes Firms
Brokers, like many of us, move on to new job and career opportunities for a number of reasons. If you're thinking about whether to follow your broker or stay with your current firm, it's a good idea to examine the key issues that will help you make an informed decision.

 

Should You Exchange Your Variable Annuity? ©iStockphoto.com/PashaIgnatov Should You Exchange Your Variable Annuity?
FINRA fined MetLife Securities, Inc. (MSI) $20 million and ordered it to pay $5 million to eligible customers for making negligent material misrepresentations and omissions on variable annuity (VA) replacement applications. FINRA’s enforcement action offers an opportunity to take a closer look at the VA exchange decision process.

 

Emotions Increase Susceptibility to Fraud in Older Adults ©iStockphoto.com/Ljupco Emotions Increase Susceptibility to Fraud in Older Adults
New research suggests that seniors may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of heightened emotions on decision making. Researchers at the Stanford Center on Longevity, FINRA Foundation and AARP found that inducing emotions, such as excitement and anger, in older adults increased their intention to buy falsely advertised items.

 

Managing the Financial Impact of Unexpected Job Loss ©iStockphoto.com/Hans Laubel Managing the Financial Impact of Unexpected Job Loss
Rarely a day goes by that you don't hear about some company that has down-sized or closed its doors. It's a sober economic reality. You may not be able to control if or when your company decides to make some cuts—but you can plan ahead and take steps to manage the financial impact of those events.

 

How Confident Are You About Retiring Comfortably? ©iStockphoto.com/ChristopherFutcher How Confident Are You About Retiring Comfortably?
Chances are, you're more confident about your prospects for a comfortable retirement today than you were between 2009 and 2013, when retirement confidence was in the doldrums. According the recently released Retirement Confidence Survey, published annually by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the percentage of workers very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement increased from 13 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2015, and leveled off at 21 percent in 2016.

 

How Investors Can Avoid Getting Fooled ©iStockphoto.com/Ximagination How Investors Can Avoid Getting Fooled
April 1st is a day to indulge in silly hoaxes and pranks. But there's nothing funny about a fraudster carrying out a scam, and no one will yell 'April Fools' to make the harm melt away. So as April begins—and with it Financial Literacy Month—instead of offering practical jokes, here are five practical tips for becoming a smarter investor.

 

3 Things to Know About Financial Planners ©iStockphoto.com/AlexRaths What You Need to Know About Financial Planners
As you seek out a financial professional, you are apt to come across individuals who call themselves financial planners. It’s a phrase that encompasses many types of services and skills. Here’s what you need to know about financial planners.

 

Filing an Investor Complaint ©iStockphoto.com/filmfoto Filing an Investor Complaint
Most business in the securities industry is conducted fairly, efficiently and in a manner that satisfies everyone involved. But problems can arise. If you believe that a sales person, brokerage firm or other industry professional has treated you unfairly, you can file a complaint with FINRA.

 

5 Things to Know About Transferring a Brokerage Account ©iStockphoto.com/ismagilov 5 Things to Know About Transferring a Brokerage Account
When investors transfer securities account assets between broker-dealers, the process runs smoothly for the vast majority of the thousands of accounts transferred each year. But there are times when delays occur and investors have questions.

 

5 Ways to Buy a Muni Bond ©iStockphoto.com/G0d4ather 5 Ways to Buy a Muni Bond
If you're thinking about buying a municipal bond, the organization that regulates munis wants you to know that you have choices in how you do so. A helpful new resource from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, or MSRB, lays out a number of ways you can participate in the municipal bond market.

 

Stock Market Got You Down? Tips for a Turbulent Market ©iStockphoto.com/alexmak72427 Stock Market Got You Down? Tips for a Turbulent Market
The stock market is off to a rocky start this year. But focusing on your overall financial picture, combined with sound planning, can pay dividends regardless of market conditions. These 5 steps can help steady your pulse during market downturns and elevate your financial security.

 

Lessons for All Investors from FINRA's Senior Hotline ©iStockphoto.com/wragg Lessons for All Investors from FINRA's Senior Hotline
The FINRA Securities Helpline for SeniorsTM (1-844-57-HELPS (1-844-574-3577)) has fielded more than 2,500 calls and helped investors recover nearly $750,000 in voluntary reimbursements from firms since its launch in April 2015. In its year-end report, FINRA highlights important lessons for investors of any age.

 

You've Decided to Hire a Financial Professional. Now What? ©iStockphoto.com/Szepy You've Decided to Hire a Financial Professional. Now What?
It’s a brand new year, and maybe somewhere in your resolutions you've decided to start working with an investment professional. Be prepared to ask your potential investment professional some questions. Here are five things you'll want to find out.

 

3 Things to Keep in Mind if the Fed Raises Rates ©iStockphoto.com/orgnmaster 3 Things to Keep in Mind if the Fed Raises Rates
As media stories report on a potential hike in the federal funds rate by the Federal Reserve, here are three things to keep in mind.

 

What You Should Know About Bitcoin ©iStockphoto.com/Arda Guldogan What You Should Know About Bitcoin
Bitcoin and other digital currencies continue to garner attention in media reports and elsewhere. Government hearings have been held on virtual currencies, and media reports have focused not only on virtual currency's potential promise, but also on very real abuses and criminal activity associated with it.

 

Don't Go Holiday Shopping With Your 401(k) ©iStockphoto.com/Catherine Lane Don't Go Holiday Shopping With Your 401(k)
When you're shopping for the holidays, it can be tempting to abandon your budget and buy more than you planned for your family and friends—or for yourself. But what happens when the credit card bills start coming in? Or you realize that you don't have enough cash to cover your everyday costs? If you find yourself thinking about tapping your 401(k) for extra funds, you may want to think again.

 

Wake Up and Smell the Pump and Dump ©iStockphoto.com/vintagerobot Wake Up and Smell the Pump and Dump
Pumping a few squirts of vanilla hazelnut syrup into your latte—nothing wrong with that. Pumping up a coffee stock with hype and false statements? That's illegal, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently announced fraud charges against alleged perpetrators of just such a scheme: a $78 million pump-and-dump stock fraud involving the stock of Jammin' Java.

 

Military Ties Can Be Used to Commit Financial Fraud ©iStockphoto.com/Catherine Lane Military Ties Can Be Used to Commit Financial Fraud
Unfortunately, military ties can be used to commit financial fraud. In some cases, by fellow veterans. No matter how you know the promoter, and even if you served with them, you still need to make sure the professional is licensed and the product registered. This is a lesson that James Gonedes and other veterans learned the hard way.

 

3 Things to Know About Financial Planners ©iStockphoto.com/AlexRaths Where Do I Start? How to Find and Work With an Investment Professional
Are you approaching retirement, or recently retired? Have you experienced a major event in your life that has changed your financial situation? Are you just beginning to invest? Here are six steps to help you find, and successfully work with, an investment professional.

 

3 Things to Know About Financial Planners ©iStockphoto.com/zoranm What to Expect When You Open a Brokerage Account
Planning to open a brokerage account? Perhaps you want to invest for your retirement or a child's education, or simply to try to grow some cash you have set aside. Here’s what to expect if you decide to open a brokerage account.

 

3 Things to Know About Financial Planners ©iStockphoto.com/laflor 3 Things to Know About Financial Planners
As you seek out a financial professional, you are apt to come across individuals who call themselves financial planners. It's a phrase that encompasses many types of services and skills. Here are three things you need to know about financial planners.

 

Is It Time to Rebalance Your Portfolio? ©iStockphoto.com/hh5800 Is It Time to Rebalance Your Portfolio?
As market performance alters the values of your asset classes, you may find that your asset allocation no longer provides the balance of growth and return that you want. In that case, you may want to consider adjusting your holdings and rebalancing your portfolio.

 

Stock prices fluctuate—sometimes significantly. ©iStockphoto.com/G0d4ather Your One-Minute Guide to Stock Volatility
If you've seen the jagged lines on charts tracking stock prices lately, you know that prices fluctuate throughout the day and week, sometimes significantly. The size and frequency of these short-term fluctuations are known as the stock's volatility.

 

Market Risk: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You ©iStockphoto.com/Craig McCausland Market Risk: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You
The recent decline in the Chinese stock market was quickly felt the world over, sending other markets tumbling and spiking volatility. While it is important to consider risk in the context of a specific investment or asset class, it is equally critical that investors consider market risk.

 

Custodial Accounts Are Another Way to Save for College ©iStockPhoto.com/olgakr Custodial Accounts Are Another Way to Save for College
There are many ways to save for college, from relatively recent products such as 529 plans to putting money away the old-fashioned way with U.S. Savings Bonds. There's another option to consider: custodial accounts, which include Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) accounts and Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts.

 

5 Tips to Educate Yourself About Education Savings Accounts ©iStockPhoto.com/tovfla 5 Tips to Educate Yourself About Education Savings Accounts
People who want to save for a child’s college education have a wide array of choices. Among these are Coverdell Education Saving Accounts (ESAs).

 

Unregistered Penny Stocks Can Spell Big Problems ©iStockphoto.com/jodiecoston Unregistered Penny Stocks Can Spell Big Problems
A recent regulatory action by FINRA reveals that even in the risky world of "penny" stocks some investments are riskier than others. Among the riskiest of these stocks are those that are not registered.

 

Video: Managing Financial Products Video: Managing Financial Products
About a third of Americans with credit cards only paid the minimum due at least once in the preceding year. Learn how to manage credit cards and other financial products. Watch our video or view the infographic to learn more.

 

Take a Deeper Dive: How Mutual Funds Are Structured ©iStockphoto.com/SerrNovik Take a Deeper Dive: How Mutual Funds Are Structured
Sometimes it's valuable to break the surface of a common investment. Let's dive deeper into the structure of mutual funds. A mutual fund is an investment company that pools money from many investors and invests it based on specific investment goals.

 

Start Planning Today With "my Social Security" ©iStockphoto.com/Kameleon007 Start Planning Today With "my Social Security"
National my Social Security Week makes it the perfect time to plan for—and reach—your retirement goals by setting up your account on my Social Security. It's a free and secure account that lets you access and manage your personal Social Security information online.

 

What You Should Know About Reverse Mortgages ©iStockphoto.com/dra_schwartz What You Should Know About Reverse Mortgages
Ads for reverse mortgages can give the false impression that they are an easy, cost-free way for retirees to finance vacations and leisurely lifestyles. But reverse mortgages aren't free money. Misusing them—or misunderstanding how they work—can jeopardize your financial future.

 

Video: Making Ends Meet Video: Making Ends Meet
Almost one in five Americans struggle to make ends meet. The good news is that in most cases spending can be controlled. Watch our video or view the infographic to learn more.

 

Is Your Financial Professional Using a False Credential? ©iStockphoto.com/123ducu Is Your Financial Professional Using a False Credential?
A recent Securities and Exchange Commission investor alert recommends that investors thoroughly check the claimed credentials of people soliciting their investments to ensure they are not falsifying, exaggerating or hiding facts about their backgrounds. The agency has brought several recent enforcement cases along these lines.

 

What Do Con Artists Know? What Do Con Artists Know?
When it comes to investment and financial fraud, we're all at risk. But that doesn't mean you can't learn to spot and avoid a scam—and even have fun doing it. That's where Con 'Em If You Can comes in. It's a new interactive game developed by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and D2D Fund.

 

Take Action to Recover From Financial Fraud ©iStockphoto.com/AndreyPopov Take Action to Recover From Financial Fraud
Financial fraud is real and can be devastating. If you are a victim, you may be coping with the aftermath of a compromised identity, damaged credit and financial loss as well as a range of emotions, including anger, fear and frustration. These steps can help you reclaim power from the fraudsters and move forward.

 

The One-Minute Guide to Zero Coupon Bonds ©iStockphoto.com/blackred The One-Minute Guide to Zero Coupon Bonds
Most bonds make regular interest or "coupon" payments—but not zero-coupon bonds. Zeros, as they are sometimes called, are bonds that pay no coupon or interest payment. Instead of getting interest payments, you buy the bond at a discount from the face value of the bond, and are paid the face amount when the bond matures.

 

Video: Prepare for a Rainy Day Video: Prepare for a Rainy Day
Many Americans do not have an emergency fund. Our video can help you start saving.

 

Take the Maximum 401(k) Match—Many Do Not ©iStockphoto.com/plherrera Take the Maximum Match—Many Do Not
According to a new report, Americans are leaving some $24 billion in 401(k) company matches on the table each year. This latest research estimates that one of four employees miss out on some portion of their company's 401(k) match. Simply put, they are passing up free money.

 

4 Ways ETFs Are NOT All Alike © iStockphoto.com/pichet_w 4 Ways ETFs Are NOT All Alike
All exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are not created equal. Before you invest in an ETF, it’s a good idea to know how ETFs can differ from each other. Here are four ways ETFs can vary.

 

FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors
A toll-free number that senior investors can call to get assistance from FINRA or raise concerns about issues with brokerage accounts and investments.

 

The Time to Plan for Retirement is Now ©iStockphoto.com/doockie The Time to Plan for Retirement is Now
It’s National Retirement Planning Week (April 13-17)—a perfect opportunity to focus on arguably the most important piece of the financial-planning pie. Bluntly stated, there is an urgent need for retirement planning.

 

The One-Minute Guide to Money Market Accounts ©iStockphoto.com/amnachphoto The One-Minute Guide to Money Market Accounts
Perhaps you have funds in a money market account. If you had to describe that account in 60 seconds, here are your cue cards.

 

You Better Shop Around (for Financial Products) ©iStockphoto.com/AndreyPopov You Better Shop Around (for Financial Products)
When it comes to choosing financial products—such as credit cards, auto loans or mutual funds—most Americans do limited, if any, comparison shopping of costs and terms.

 

5 Things You Should Know About Tax Refund Loans ©iStockphoto.com/_ba_ 5 Things You Should Know About Tax Refund Loans
Refund anticipation loans are a costly option thousands of taxpayers take, often without realizing just how expensive—and probably unnecessary—they really are.

 

5 Golden Rules for Avoiding Problems with Physical Precious Metals ©iStockphoto.com/270770 5 Golden Rules for Avoiding Problems with Physical Precious Metals
The IRS isn’t the only government agency sending out refund checks this time of year.

 

News Release: FINRA Foundation Research Reveals Fraud Victims Vulnerable to Severe Stress, Anxiety and Depression Financial Fraud Has Emotional Cost
The true cost of financial fraud goes beyond dollars lost and includes severe stress, anxiety, difficulty sleeping and depression.