Are Your Investments Ready for the New Year? FINRA Offers 6 Tips for 2016

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) wants investors to
start 2016 on the right financial foot and is offering several
suggestions to help investors step back and take stock – literally and
figuratively – of their investment portfolios.

“The dawn of a new year is an ideal time to assess your progress toward
your investment goals, and make adjustments as needed,” said Gerri
Walsh, FINRA’s Senior Vice President of Investor Education. “What has
worked in the past is not always what’s best for today and the future,
particularly as the interest-rate environment is changing. Whether you
are an experienced investor or just starting, it’s a smart New Year’s
resolution to periodically review your finances.”

FINRA’s suggestions focus on planning, staying abreast of changes in the
market and their impact on your portfolio, and protecting your
investments:

  1. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.
    Are your goals current, or have they changed? Setting clear,
    prioritized goals
    – each with steps to achieve the goal, a price
    tag and a time frame – will help guide your investment approach.
  2. Focus on your financial security. Take advantage of day-to-day
    opportunities
    to help build your finances for the long term, such
    as benefiting from tax breaks for college savings or retirement;
    paying your credit-card debt on time and in full; and setting aside
    some funds for the unexpected.
  3. Understand the impact of higher interest rates. Yes, the Fed
    raised the federal funds rate and might do so again, but that alone
    might not change your investment strategy. There are several
    factors to keep in mind
    as you consider what action, if any, you
    need to take regarding rates.
  4. Track and rebalance your investments. Whether you work with a
    broker or adviser, or you trade on your own, you should always monitor
    your investments
    to prevent minor mistakes from turning into big
    problems. In particular, evaluate whether it’s time
    to rebalance your portfolio
    in view of your current goals and the
    changing investment environment.
  5. Know your investment professional. Understand what the different
    types of investment professionals
    offer to help you achieve your
    goals. Whether you’re looking for a new broker or investment adviser
    or just want to re-check the credentials of your current financial pro
    you can use BrokerCheck
    to obtain registration, disciplinary history and more on brokers,
    investment advisers and the firms that employ them.
  6. Protect your money. Fraud is a growing threat, but can be
    avoided. Know the basic
    techniques of scammers
    and strategies to deal with them, such as
    how to end the conversation or ask questions and turn the tables on
    fraudsters.

And here’s a bonus tip: Be sure to check your retirement safety net.
Starting in 2016, new
rules
close loopholes that allowed married, two-income retirees to
use certain strategies to increase the amount they collect from Social
Security. Find out more about saving
for retirement
at FINRA.org.

Investors can obtain more information about, and the disciplinary record
of, any FINRA-registered broker or brokerage firm by using FINRA’s
BrokerCheck. FINRA makes BrokerCheck available at no charge. In 2014,
members of the public used this service to conduct 18.9 million reviews
of broker or firm records. Investors can access BrokerCheck at www.finra.org/brokercheck or
by calling (800) 289-9999. Investors may find copies of this
disciplinary action as well as other disciplinary documents in FINRA’s
Disciplinary Actions Online database. Investors can also call FINRA’s Securities
Helpline for Seniors
 at (844) 57-HELPS for
assistance or to raise concerns about issues they have with their
brokerage accounts and investments.

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest
independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the
United States. FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market
integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary
compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every
aspect of the securities business – from registering and educating all
industry participants to examining securities firms, writing rules,
enforcing those rules and the federal securities laws, and informing and
educating the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance
and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well
as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers
the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and firms. For more
information, please visit www.finra.org.

Contacts

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
Ray
Pellecchia
, 212-858-4387