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U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Financial Facts
Tool Kit

Welcome to the home page for the on-line Financial Facts Tool Kit!

Here you'll find a vast array of information to help you begin planning for a secure financial future. You don't have to be an expert to make money add up for you. You just need to know how to get started.

Tools to Get Started:

  1. Get the Facts: The SEC's Roadmap to Saving and Investing – A basic primer from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to get you started on the road to saving and investing wisely.

  2. Consumer's Almanac – A helpful calendar tool from the American Financial Services Association (AFSA) Education Foundation to help you organize your finances and manage your money.

  3. Top 10 Ways to Beat the Clock and Prepare for Retirement – Tips on planning for retirement from the U.S. Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration and a list of sources to call for more information.

  4. Ballpark Estimate – A one-page worksheet from the American Savings Education Council (ASEC) to help you quickly calculate how much you need to save for retirement. ASEC's website includes a sample form and instructions, a worksheet that you can print and complete off-line, and an interactive version that you can complete on-line.

  5. Investors' Bill of Rights – This publication from the National Futures Association gives an overview of your rights as an investor.

  6. Money 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative Extension System designed a nationwide education program to help you increase your net worth through better spending and saving habits. Go to this site to make your personal savings plan using the on-line interactive calculators, and to learn more about programs in your area.

Tools to Understanding Investment Choices:

  1. Invest Wisely: Advice from Securities Regulators – Basic information from the SEC and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to help you select a brokerage firm and sales representative, make an investment decision, and monitor your investments.

  2. Mutual Fund Cost CalculatorAn interactive tool from the SEC that lets you compare mutual fund costs (including sales charges and annual operating expenses) and assess their long-term impact on your investment returns.

  3. A Guide to Understanding Mutual Funds – A publication from the Investment Company Institute that explains mutual finds, describes how to establish realistic goals, and suggests questions to ask before you invest.

  4. Understanding Market Risks – A website from the Securities Industry Association (SIA) describing what every investor should know about the risks of investing, including market cycles, diversification, and risks with different securities.

  5. An Investor's Guide to Corporate Bonds – A brochure from the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association that explains corporate bonds and how you can make money by lending your money to corporations.

  6. An Investor's Guide to Municipal Bonds – Information the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association from on what you need to know about municipal bonds, including tax considerations, safety, and other basic information.

  7. Mutual Funds and ETFs A Guide for Investors – Advice from the SEC about mutual funds and ETFs and the impact of fees and commissions.

Tools to Manage Your Money & Investments:

  1. Ask Questions – Tips from the SEC on the questions you should ask about investments and the people who sell them, and what to do if you have a problem.

  2. 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner – Guidance from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards to help you identify a financial planner who's right for you, including a checklist to use when you interview financial professionals. Click on the graphic entitled "About Financial Planning," and then select "10 Questions."

  3. Form for Taking Notes – The SEC suggests that you use this form to keep a record of what your broker tells you about your investments.

  4. Cold Calling Alert – This brochure from the SEC tell you about your legal rights, how to deal with cold calls, how to stop them, and how to evaluate any investment opportunity that comes your way over the phone.

  5. Suggested Steps for Starting an Investment Club – Many investors have started investment clubs with a group of like-minded friends to learn more about investing as they earn money. The National Association of Investors (NAIC) has been helping people start investment clubs since 1951.

Getting More Information:

  1. Alliance for Investor Education – A partnership of organizations dedicated to educating investors, the Alliance features a website that will link you to other partners and sources of investor information.

  2. Best Sellers – A collection of consumer and business publications from the Federal Trade Commission.

  3. Consumer Information Catalog – Free or low cost publications from government agencies for consumers on a variety of topics, including money, saving, and investing.



The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has 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.

Modified: 01/07/2008