This article is presented in partnership with Missouri Secretary of State.

There are many different types of investments out there and with them comes risk. Missouri Secretary of State wants to protect Missourians from fraud by providing information on how to avoid it in order to have a thriving financial future. Below are three steps to take before deciding to invest.

1) Know Yourself & the Risks of Investing

To make wise investment decisions, you should think about your needs, as well as the risk you can tolerate. Here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding to invest: What do I want to receive from the investment?

Am I investing long-term or short-term?
How will this affect my future lifestyle and spending habits, and in terms of retirement, what will be left for my family and other plans?
How much loss can I tolerate?

Before you invest, you’ll want to decide just how much risk you are willing to take over time. Determining your financial goals, as well as current and future expenses is helpful so you can determine what type of investment you should go with.

2) Know Your Adviser

You’ll want to have a financial adviser whom you trust and is looking out for your best interest. Find out how long they have been in the industry. Check with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and call the Missouri Investor Protection Hotline at (800) 721-7996 to make sure your broker or investment adviser is properly registered, and to learn about complaint history, regulatory actions, civil suits, or criminal records.

Don’t settle for the first adviser you meet. Shop around for the best fit. Meet with several professional advisers and ask them each the same questions and find out what services they offer.

3) Know Your Investment

There are many different types of investments to consider, and you want to know the benefits and risks of each before determining the best fit for you. A few examples are stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and variable annuities. Each has advantages and disadvantages that you’ll want to weigh before deciding whether or not to invest. Here are some more questions to ask yourself before making a final decision.

  • What is my estimated return on the investment? Will it change over time?
  • What fees and costs are associated with making the investment?
  • How are you paid – in commission, a flat fee or both? How much of that commission and fee comes out of my investment

Once you know what kind of investor you are, know your adviser, and know the features of your investment, you’ll rest easier knowing you’ve taken steps to secure a comfortable financial future.

To learn more about protecting yourself and the different types of investment options out there, visit sos.mo.gov/. And contact The Missouri Investor Protection Center if you are unsure about what you are investing in.

Investor Protection Hotline
800-721-7996

Vulnerable Citizens Services Unit Hotline
855-653-7300

Commissioner of Securities
David M. Minnick, 573-751- 4136

Director of Investor Education
573-751-1862

Office of the Missouri Secretary of State
Securities Division
600 West Main Street, Room 229
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101-1276

General Inquiry: 573-751-4136
Facsimile: 573-526-3124
Email: securities@sos.mo.gov