Do you have big dreams of retiring in paradise? Or maybe you have your eye on a luxury car or a bigger house.

Achieving these goals may seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. You’ve probably heard the famous cliche that you need to “make your money work for you”, and it’s true! Letting your money sit in a bank won’t get you very far.

That’s why many people have decided to trade stocks in hopes of getting a nice side income. But navigating the stock market can be tricky. With every big win, there also seems to be a loss.

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As an investor, you want someone to protect you and maintain a fair and orderly stock market, right? That’s the role of the Securities and Exchange Commission or the SEC.

Whether it be your retirement savings, accounts to pay for college tuition, or investments just to build wealth, the SEC is there to make sure that investors are protected and that the market is fair.

Keep reading to learn more about the history of the SEC, their role, and why they are important. After reading this article, you’ll undoubtedly be able to answer the question “what does the SEC do?”.

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When you consider the financial toll of a hurricane or other natural disaster, losses due to investment fraud is most likely not something you would factor in. However investment fraud following a catastrophic natural event is quite prevalent.

Many investors have found themselves in hot water after getting involved in investment opportunities related to hurricanes or other natural disasters. Scammers love using natural disasters to leverage investment fraud, as they are able to prey on vulnerabilities of both those directly affected by the event as well as those who want to help disaster victims.

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, you may receive unsolicited investment offers purporting to provide some type of opportunity for returns. These offerings may be related to disaster relief, clean-up, or even storm prevention. While it’s possible some of these offerings may be legitimate, chances are high that they are either too good to be true or a flat-out scam.

Understanding Index Funds

There’s a lot of ways you can get involved in securities investing. Some of the most popular methods are through the use of what are called index funds. An index fund is a type of mutual fund that tracks the performance and returns of a market index.

You are probably familiar with stock and security market indexes like the S&P 500 or Russell 2000 index. Because a market index essentially acts as a barometer to track and project returns for a collection of similar securities, you are not able to directly invest in them. However, since index funds seek to track the returns of market indexes, you are able to use them as a sort of indirect investment channel.

As nearly half of all Americans own no stocks at all, one of the reasons for that is that there are so many complicated laws surrounding their finance.

If your stockbroker breaks securities law, you have the right to sue. However, if you don’t know the first thing about the law, you could end up not getting the money you deserve.

Here are the four main steps to suing your broker.

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market manipulationYou know that the factors affecting an investment’s valuation go behind standard data and metrics. Often, an investment’s value can hinge largely on highly subjective factors, like public perception. The “reputation” of an asset or security can either signal an attractive investment opportunity or drive away investors.

You’ve probably heard of pump and dump schemes; a form of stock manipulation wherein essential information about an asset may be misrepresented or misreported in order to artificially drive-up its value before the scammer dumps their shares. In these types of schemes, fraudsters create a buy frenzy by promoting a stock as a desirable investment.

Well there’s also an inverse to this type of investment fraud and it’s called a short and distort scam.

We’ve all seen the news stories. Stock market fraudsters get caught running a scheme where people lose millions.

The most recent of these was Bernard Madoff in 2008. He tricked investors out of 50 billion dollars.

Most people have no idea they’ve been tricked until it’s too late. This doesn’t have to be you.

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Regardless of your investing experience, nobody knows everything there is to know about stock and securities trading. That’s why you have probably enlisted the help of an investment professional, either as a sounding-board for investment decisions or to assist you in facilitating and completing transactions. An investment advisor or a broker-dealer can be a great asset as you build and diversify your portfolio.

However, for all the good they can do, an investment advisor who does not have your best investment interests at heart can pose a serious risk to the health and stability of your portfolio.

How well do you know your investment advisor?

Investing in your future financial security is one of the wisest decisions you can make. Planning for your retirement now can provide you with peace-of-mind for the future. There are many ways you can invest in retirement savings; one of the most popular being through an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). The great thing about IRAs is that there are several different types available, so you can find the one that suits your investment plan.

However, most traditional IRA savings accounts offer a limited selection of investment options. Typically, they offer a selection pre-approved by the firm or entity servicing your investment account. If you are looking for greater flexibility in terms of investment options, you may want to consider opening a self-directed IRA account.

Self-directed IRAs allow you to invest in a broader portfolio of assets than traditional IRAs. What’s important to understand, however, is that with greater flexibility in your investment options, you may be subject to additional risks.

Did you recently suffer from a big stock market loss?

Think it may have been due to negligence or fraud by your stock broker?

While losses are to be expected from time to time when investing in the stock market, there are times when your loss may be due to stockbroker negligence or fraud. In these cases, you may have no other choice but to take legal action against them in order to repair the damage that was done and get the compensation you deserve.

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