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Financial Literacy Month: The Importance of Investor Education

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March 22, 2018
Lee McAdoo, Managing Director, Investor Education, TD Ameritrade

Editor’s Note: Follow Lee on Twitter. During each week in April, she’ll be sharing education ideas and resources that focus on different aspects of financial literacy.

We all know it’s a good idea to regularly check in on our financial plans, making sure we’re on track to pursue  our goals. Throughout that process, you may also identify areas where you’d like to strengthen your knowledge. According to a recent TD Ameritrade Financial Literacy Survey, more than 3 in 4 investors say the more educated they are about investing, the better equipped they are to manage their money. While a statistic like this shows the positive outcomes that can come out of owning our financial wellness and acumen, finding the time to kick-start the process isn’t always on the top of our “to do” lists.

This is where having a yearly reminder comes in handy. In 2004, the U.S. Congress officially recognized April as National Financial Literacy Month as a way to improve knowledge and understanding of financial concepts such as budgeting, handling debt, and making the most of compound interest.

This may be a good time to ask yourself questions that will jump-start the process:

  • Are you on the right track with your savings, investing, and retirement planning?
  • Are there gaps in your investment knowledge, and do you know where to turn to fill those gaps in your education?
  • If you have children, are you teaching them the importance of financial literacy, and are you encouraging them to spend and save wisely?

Spending time answering questions like these will help you set goals for what you’d like to focus on, which is the first step to getting started with education. (We will talk more about the 3 steps to education in early April.)

Knowledge and Confidence

Financial knowledge is a powerful thing. Unfortunately, there’s a gap in the system when it comes to financial literacy. The good news is we’re attempting to fill that gap with an immersive curriculum to help investors stay confident as they make their investment decisions. Our award-winning education comes in a variety of formats including articles, videos, immersive courses, webcasts, and live in-person events. Behind each of these, our experienced education team and Education Coaches are there to help you learn in an engaging, and easy-to-understand way. 

I know getting started with something new can be overwhelming, especially when you’re not sure where to begin. So, with April being Financial Literacy Month, I thought it was a good time to connect you with all that we have available. 

We Take Education Seriously

Here's a sample of our offering:

  • Immersive Curriculum. Our industry professionals have designed and developed free online courses to help our customers become more informed investors. These in-depth courses are accessible to TD Ameritrade clients via tdameritrade.com and the thinkorswim platform, and feature lesson plans, quizzes, and even final exams. Their flexible design aims to fit into your schedule. Courses include Fundamental Analysis, Technical Analysis, Portfolio Management, Trading Options and more.
  • Articles and Videos. Have a question about a financial concept, strategy or product? Our clients can search our catalog of over 200 instructional videos, publications, and tutorials, covering investing basics to advanced strategies and pretty much everything in between.
  • Webcasts. Browse our schedule of more than 40 hours of weekly online webcasts for investors of all experience levels. Webcasts allow attendees to interact via live chat with Education Coaches and investors like you. Can’t make the live events? Most webcasts are available to watch on demand.
  • Streaming Video. Our network affiliate, TD Ameritrade Network, features live programming throughout the trading day, plus a selection of on-demand content. This programming doesn’t just bring you the news, but interprets it. So you understand how to apply what’s going on in the markets to your strategies—and have more confidence than ever to strike when the time is right according to your personal investment strategy and goals.
  • In-Person Events. While an online curriculum can be perfect for those who want to self-learn and self-pace, some people prefer the live experience, which offers the ability to learn, interact, and network with industry pros and Education Coaches, as well as with fellow investors. We are frequently on the road with live events, such as Market Drive, Investing Fundamentals, Strategies for Growth, and Advanced Concepts. Check our schedule and join us in a city near you.

Financial Literacy Month at a Glance

Follow me on Twitter. During each week in April, I’ll be featuring a different aspect of financial literacy, sharing education ideas and resources that I hope you find helpful.  

  • Week 1 (April 2-6): Getting Started with Education. Here we'll reinforce the importance of education. We’ll highlight concrete steps you can take to become a more confident and empowered investor. 
  • Week 2 (April 9-13): Retirement Planning. During National Retirement Planning Week, we'll look at the types of retirement savings plans and talk about setting goals. We’ll also highlight the importance of periodically reviewing your retirement portfolio and checking in to ensure you're on track with your retirement savings.
  • Week 3 (April 16-20): Family and Money. Ideally, financial literacy should start early, and be practiced and reinforced in the home. Many professionals  say it’s important to teach your children about the fundamentals of investing earlier in life. We'll share resources that can help you build a roadmap for family financial literacy—whether it’s talking to your kids about money, or reviewing best practices for estate planning.
  • Week 4 (April 23-27): Small Steps Add Up. In savings and investment, as well as education, a little can go a long way. Have an hour to kill? That can be enough time to complete a module in one of our online courses. Alternatively, if you’ve only got 5 minutes maybe you want to tune in to the TD Ameritrade Network and check out the live market action. By the same token, taking time to review your expenses to find ways to increase monthly contributions to a college savings or retirement plan can compound over time into significant assets. We will highlight ideas like these throughout week 4.

Throughout my career I’ve realized the importance of education and have been focused on closing the financial literacy gap. I look forward to connecting you with all our education offerings and supporting you along your financial education journey. 

Never stop learning.

Lee  

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