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Beginners’ Guide to Investing

Dec. 2, 2009

Beginners' Guide to Investing: Online Publications at the SEC

Office of Investor Education and Advocacy

Investors-Educate Yourself

Get the Facts: The SEC's Roadmap to Saving and Investing. This is your roadmap to starting on a journey of financial security through saving and investing.

Ask Questions: Questions You Should Ask About Your Investments and What To Do If You Run Into Problems. Questions you should ask about investment products and the people who sell those products with tips on how to monitor your investments. ("Ask Questions" brochure in Spanish)

Taking Stock: Getting Your Fiscal Act Together. For Investors, this is a good time to take stock of where you are and where you want to be, and plan how best to get there.

The SEC Mutual Fund Cost Calculator: A Tool for Comparing Mutual Funds. The Mutual Fund Cost Calculator enables investors to easily estimate and compare costs of owning mutual funds.

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Check Out Your Broker or Adviser

Invest Wisely: Advice From Your Securities Industry Regulators. Before making a securities investment, you must decide which brokerage firm and sales representative-also referred to as a stockbroker, account executive, or registered representative-to use.

Protect Your Money: Check Out Brokers and Advisers. Before you invest, make sure your brokers, investment advisers, and investment advisers' representatives are licensed to sell securities.

View More Materials on Brokers

View More Materials on Advisers

Research Your Company's Stock

Beginners' Guide to Financial Statements. This brochure will help you gain a basic understanding of how to read financial statements.

Getting Info About Companies. Learn how to get information about companies from a variety of sources; this publication covers corporate reports, reference books, and commercial databases that provide information.

How Do I Use EDGAR? This is a tutorial to guide you through searching the SEC's online database of company reports.

Information Matters. This publication describes the information you should review before you invest, provides tips on how to find information about companies and lists several "red flags" to avoid.

Information About Some Companies Not Available From the SEC. The federal securities laws require most publicly traded companies to register their securities and file reports with the SEC. This document describes how investors can find information on privately held companies and companies that are exempt from the SEC's registration requirements.

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Help and How to File a Complaint at the SEC

SEC Center for Complaints and Enforcement Tips. Report suspicious activity, file a complaint about a financial professional or an investment product, or ask questions. The division of Enforcement and The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy created the SEC complaint center to address your concerns.

The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy. Our office acts as your gateway to the SEC. We cannot tell you what investments to make, but we can tell you how to invest wisely and protect your hard earned investment dollars from securities fraud and abuse. If you have suffered wrongdoing at the hands of a bad broker or investment adviser, we want to hear from you.

The Investor's Advocate: How the SEC Protects Investors and Maintains Market Integrity. The laws and rules that govern the securities industry in the United States derive from a simple and straightforward concept: all investors, whether large institutions or private individuals, should have access to certain basic facts about an investment prior to buying it.

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Questions and Comments

We have provided this information as a service to investors.  It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy.  If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.

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