Personal Investor: School’s in for DIY investors
There’s a term in the financial news media about pundits pushing views that enrich them personally. It’s called “talking your book.”
While it may seem sinister on the surface it’s common for money managers to use a media stage to sway investors to help drive up the price of stocks in their portfolios. Those with long positions will talk up their stocks, while short sellers often trash-talk a stock in their crosshairs so it goes down.
Even seemingly friendly advice from the big banks often serves the interest of their bottom lines ahead of their clients.
As children across Canada start their school year again it may be an opportune time for adult investors to improve their financial literacy by taking a closer look at their information sources.
A great place to start is a non-profit website provided by the Ontario Securities Commission called getsmarteraboutmoney.ca. It’s a perfect resource to keep handy in your bookmarks or mobile device to dig a little deeper when the jargon starts flying around.
The best feature on getsmarteraboutmoney.ca is probably a glossary that explain basic terms that often come up in the financial media. It also explains various investment products like annuities and segregated funds, tax tools like registered retirement savings plans (RRSP) and tax free savings accounts (TFSA), and how to plan and track the progress of an investment plan.
Perhaps, the most important feature of the website is how it explains fees – something industry-sponsored sources tend to play down, complicate or hide.
It also tells you how to register complaints if you feel you’ve been wronged by a financial services company.
Knowledge-seeking investors can take it to the next level by enrolling in a Canadian Securities Course offered by the Canadian Securities Institute. CSI is owned by Moody’s Analytics and provides courses and licencing required for working in the Canadian finance industry.
For an initial fee it’s a great way to work toward a career in finance or get the basics for your own investment knowledge. The introductory course covers just about every aspect of finance including how the economy works, the mechanics behind individual securities, analysis, portfolio management, and how investments are taxed.
Most CSI courses require assignments and exams, so be sure to wear your thinking cap.