People sometimes tell me that they think investing is too hard to learn. They say they don’t know where to begin. We’re going to tackle that problem, together. Stick with us and you’ll learn about how to get started saving and investing, how to evaluate potential investments, and how to stay away from snake-oil salesmen.
If you can read a nutrition label or a baseball box score, you can learn to read basic financial disclosures. If you can follow a recipe or apply for a loan, you can learn how to evaluate investments. The basics aren’t difficult and they aren’t rocket science. By basics I mean things like asset classes, costs, asset allocation and diversification. I’m talking about how to find out if your financial professional has a disciplinary history, or if he or she will be paid more if you buy one financial product rather than another. Step by step, week by week, we’re going to go through the basics of how to go about investing in your future. Five minutes of your time is all we need.
This podcast isn’t for experienced investors (although they are certainly welcome), and it isn’t written for lawyers. Now don’t get me wrong – some of my good friends are lawyers. I work in a building full of them. But I’m sure you’ve heard the joke - What do you get when you cross a librarian with a lawyer? -- All the information you need - but you can't understand a word of it. And of course, you know the difference between lawyers and accountants – accountants at least know they’re boring. We’ll try not to be boring, and in the future we’ll keep the lawyer jokes to a minimum. Unless you like them, of course. I have a feeling they won’t be that popular with my lawyer friends.
But as I said, this podcast isn’t for the lawyers who don’t seem to talk or write in English, even when they try to be simple and explain about the “party of the first part.” This podcast is meant for the rest of us – those of us who are holding down a job, buying a house, saving for retirement and basically living our lives. It’s for people who think figuring out how to invest wisely is too hard, too time consuming, too intimidating to learn. It isn’t! And I know that you’re smart enough to learn. We’ll teach you a few key principles to keep in mind. Things like – how to evaluate how much an investment costs. How to check out your broker or financial adviser. And why you should think about asset allocation and diversification – and what those words mean.
Just as a CPR class teaches you how to perform the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, we will explain how to go about making smart investment decisions. We won’t train you to be an accountant or a lawyer (just as a CPR course won’t equip you to perform heart surgery), but we will give you the confidence you need to be able to look at an investment and make sense of it. We’re passionate about equipping you with the skills and knowledge you need to take control over your financial future. We hope you’ll stick with us as we take this journey together.
Please write us if you want to hear about any particular topic. Our e-mail address is Podcast@SEC.gov – that’s Podcast@SEC.gov. And if you’d like to get a head start, you can visit our website, at SEC.gov. You can use our website to read company financial statements, or to check out a financial professional. You can ask us a question or let us know about a problem. We want to hear from you, so please write us - Podcast@SEC.gov. And we’ll see you next time on Your Money.