“Back to school” for investors
As a new school year begins and students return to class, in-person or virtually, take a moment to brush up on your own investor education and become an informed investor with these tips.
1. Hit the books
Informed investing starts with knowledge. Beginner and experienced investors alike can benefit from staying up to date on the latest investing topics, news and trends.
Investing may sometimes feel complex, especially if complicated language or unfamiliar terms are used. Keep a list of unbiased and independent financial resources to help you along the way.
Bookmark these websites
GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca has hundreds of articles, tools and calculators to help you with investing and managing your finances. If you want to share information with others to teach them about investing, our embeddable Fact Cards are another great resource.
InvestingIntroduction.ca helps newcomers to Canada understand their financial and investment options. It is available in 22 different languages.
2. Develop good habits
Successful investors have good investing habits, just like how successful students have good study habits.
- Invest early. You don’t need a lot of money to start investing. The earlier you start, the more you can benefit from the power of compoundingCompounding A way to grow your money faster. Instead of spending the money you make investing, you reinvest it so it can grow.+ read full definition: reinvesting returns to generate more returns.
- Have a financial planFinancial plan Your financial plan should cover every aspect of your finances: saving and investing, paying down debt, insurance, taxes, retirement planning and estate planning.+ read full definition. A plan can guide your investing decisions to help you stay on track. It can also instill financial discipline.
- Read disclosure statements and other fine print. Before investing, make sure you to read and understand how the investment product or service works.
- Check registration. Always check the registration of any person or business trying to sell you an investment or give you investment advice. Visit CheckBeforeYouInvest.ca.
3. Review fees and investment performance
While grades and report cards evaluate your progress at school, accountAccount An agreement you make with a financial institution to handle your money. You can set up an account for depositing and withdrawing, earning interest, borrowing, investing, etc.+ read full definition statements provide details about investment performance and fees.
As part of the cost and performance reporting rules, you should receive an annual performance report that explains how your investments have performed over time. Review your investments to see if you’re on track to meet your financial goals, including your personal rate of return and changes to the market valueMarket value The value of an investment on the statement date. The market value tells you what your investment is worth as at a certain date. Example: If you had 100 units and the price was $2 on the statement date, their market value would be $200.+ read full definition of investments.
You should also receive details of the charges and fees that you have paid to your investment firm at least once a year.
4. Save for post-secondary education
A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESPRESP See Registered Education Savings Plan.+ read full definition) can help you or your child save for post-secondary education. The account can stay open for up to 36 years.
Tuition, residence, books and transportation costs can be significant. An RESP has certain tax advantages as well as help qualify you for certain government grants, such as the Canada Education Savings Grant.
5. Ask questions
If you have questions about your investments or their performance, ask your advisor. A good advisor will want you to be informed and will welcome your input.
When your advisor recommends an investment, don’t forget to ask questions about how the investment works, the level of risk, why you should buy it and how will it help you reach your goals.
You can also ask questions on Re: Investing and get clear, unbiased answers from experts.