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Want to be a smarter investor? Here are nine guideposts

Are you a smart investor?

Investing in the capital markets offers an outstanding opportunity for building wealth over time. But investing also comes with risk.

We may like to think we’re better prepared and better informed than most people when it comes to managing our financial lives. But the reality is that learning how to save and invest effectively—a key benchmark of financial capability—are skills that need to be developed.

To promote the importance of investor education and protection for retail investors, the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), an association of 34 securities and futures regulatory agencies from around the world, is hosting its inaugural World Investor Week from October 2-8, 2017.

Participating IOSCO securities regulators and other IOSCO members and supporting organizations across the globe will provide a variety of activities, including launching investor-focused communications and services; promoting contests to increase awareness of investor education initiatives; organizing workshops and conferences; and conducting local and national awareness campaigns in their own jurisdictions.

Financial professionals who work with retail clients and financial educators who work with students may want to take advantage of this opportunity to highlight the IOSCO-identified nine characteristics of a “smart investor,” based upon key elements of investing knowledge and decision-making. According to IOSCO, a smart investor is one who 

  • Verifies that an investment professional is licensed;
  • Conducts research on a product before investing;
  • Assesses the impact of fees when choosing an investment;
  • Understands that risk exists in all investments;
  • Avoids “get rich quick” and “can’t lose” schemes;
  • Recognizes the power of compound interest;
  • Recognizes the importance of diversification;
  • Plans for and invests according to his/her future needs and goals; and
  • Recognizes the benefit of long-term, regular and diversified investment.

That’s a worthwhile checklist for all investors, whether you’re just getting started or if you’ve already built up a substantial portfolio on your way to reaching your financial goals.

And should you choose to work with a professional financial advisor to craft and implement your investing strategy, an understanding of the principles and behaviors of a smart investor will empower you to ask better questions, build a more constructive working relationship and get better results.

Promoting the importance of investor education is always a worthwhile undertaking. As more people join the investing ranks in an effort to save and build wealth for their futures, it’s vital that they develop a base of knowledge to help them understand both the risks and opportunities of a well-crafted investment strategy. World Investor Week 2017 is a good time to start working on building that knowledge. 

To learn more about how you can take part, check out IOSCO on Facebook and Twitter, or visit the World Investor Week website.