Accounting for Your Lifestyle in “Retirement”

By Caleb L. Swiney, Spring 2019 IAC Student Intern

This Wednesday’s word may seem simple, but there really is no universal definition for “retirement.” The choices that you make throughout your life, as both an investor and as an individual, will have a profound impact on how secure you are in retirement. Recently, FINRA published an article titled, “Kids Will Turn Your Hair Gray,” noting that 66% of people with dependent children are worried about running out of money in retirements, but that only 54% of people without dependent are worried about running out of money in retirement.

On its face, this article would seem to be about managing retirement income in relation to childcare expenses. What this article discusses, however, are general retirement guidelines that will help any investor feel secure in retirement. Continue reading

On The Wisdom of the Cynic

By: Esmat Hanano, Spring 2019 Intern

The prevalence of social media in our everyday lives has led to a new type of financial services representative. For ease of reference, I’ve dubbed this new breed of financial services representative the “seize-your-moment representative,” or SYMR. Interesting name, right? Well that’s one of the main characteristics of these representatives: they pique your interest and arouse your natural sense of curiosity with an opportunity that begs you to “seize the moment!” Once they have your attention, it’s a full-court press to get you to sign up with them. Some other identifying features of SYMRs are a heavy reliance on social media to sell financial services and products, excessive use of inspirational quotes and memes, and dubious testimonials that claim to demonstrate the success awaiting anyone who joins their “downline.” Continue reading

Investor Ed Crosswords: Staying Informed and Evaluating Investment Performance

According to FINRA Rule 2340, general securities members must disburse account statements at least once every calendar quarter.   The account statements informs you as an investor because you can evaluate the quarterly performance of your investments.  Evaluating your investment performance requires you to consider your rate of return and your yield.  Continue reading

Investor Alert: Self-Directed IRAs Risky Diversity

By: Caitlyn Scofield, Spring 2019 IAC Student Intern

Everyone loves having options, whether it is choosing where to go to dinner or what shirt to wear for that big interview more options are better. This holds true in the realm of investments as well. IRAs, Individual Retirement Accounts, allow individuals to prepare for their future while affording several tax benefits. These types of accounts are usually limited by the custodians to conventional investments. For those sophisticated investors that want more options, a self-directed IRA allows investors to diversify their investments by allowing them to invest in a broader set of options including non-conventional or alternative asset investments such as cryptocurrencies and real estate. While these options allow for more options it also opens investors up to a lot of risk, so investors should be very aware of potential harm before they sign up.  Continue reading

The More the Merrier: Crowdfunding

By: Kevin Mathis, Spring 2019 IAC Student Intern

Sally the inventor has a novel idea that she wants to market.  The problem is that she can’t secure the small amount of capital he needs to jumpstart a business startup.  Banks will not loan Harry the amount of capital he needs because his invention seems too risky.  Harry, Harrie, Harrey, Harré, Harí, Hari, Hairy, and Harrold are investors with capital.  They want to invest in a small business startup.  These guys can’t find any startups accepting individuals only willing to invest a small amount of capital in the business.  What do they do? Continue reading

New Year, New Me?: Checking in on your Financial Resolutions for 2019

By: Brook Ptacek, Investor Advocacy Clinic Spring 2019 Student Intern

In mid-January, FINRA staff posted an Investor Alert about a 2019 Resolutions Reset. In the article, FINRA goes through six tips to make sure 2019 is “your strongest financial year yet.”  Those are some bold words, but the advice FINRA provides is valuable.

The six tips FINRA provides include: (1) evaluate your spending plan or budget; (2) set new goals; (3) check your credit report; (4) rebalance your portfolio; (5) zero in on fees; and (6) free yourself of financial clutter. 

To have the strongest financial year yet, FINRA suggests that you should first evaluate your spending plan or budget. According to FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation’s National Financial Capability Study, if you budget, you’re more likely to spend within your income. FINRA even gives you tips on how to create a budget. Continue reading

To Do List: Save for Retirement

By Caleb L. Swiney, Spring 2019 IAC Student Intern

Most people know that they need to save for retirement, but that’s the easy part. Actually beginning to save, knowing how much to save, and, most importantly, knowing who to trust your savings to are where the difficulties begin. Luckily, FINRA has outlined a checklist to help investors navigate those questions. Each of the following four tips are important to not only those investors who are starting to save for retirement, but also those who want to strengthen their savings plan. Continue reading