Spokane Journal of Business

Offering ways for investors to improve financial literacy

Create a plan, research well, control emotions, TD Ameritrade suggests

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TD Ameritrade, Inc., the broker-dealer subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp., is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Financial Literacy Month by offering 10 tips to encourage investors to take time to improve their financial knowledge.

Its tips include the following:

Make a plan. Identify your financial goals and objectives and use a free calculator such as WealthRuler to help you assess your financial situation and devise a plan to help you pursue those goals.

Know thyself. Do market swings make you uneasy? Or, do you seek opportunity in the daily swings? There are plenty of investing and trading approaches; be sure to consider your goals, risk tolerance, and time frame when you choose the one that makes sense for you.

Protect your assets. Understand your tolerance for risk and use it to determine the size of every investment you make. Position sizing and utilizing stop orders or trade triggers are tools you can use to help protect your investment capital.

Analyze from the top down. Learn how to identify current market trends and the stocks following them.

Search for additional opportunities. Build a list of securities to "watch" and to invest in when the time is right.

Get technical. After you've done your research but before you place your trade, be sure to review the security's past performance and identify when you might want to get in—and out.

Manage and monitor your positions. Use online tools to better understand your portfolio's exposure to different industries, geographic regions and sectors. You can also monitor on the go using mobile apps.

Keep emotions in check. Investing should be rational. Always refer back to your investing plan, especially during times of extreme volatility when you are tempted to respond to panic and fear.

Practice first. Using TD Ameritrade's online paper trading application called paperMoney is one way to get your feet wet with investing concepts before you dive in with real money. Test your investing plan and new trading strategies until you're comfortable.

Commit to learning. Make financial education an ongoing priority. Identify resources that can help, such as by following financial experts @TDANSherrod or @TDAJJKinahan on Twitter, or sign up for investing courses from Ameritrade affiliate Investools.

TD Ameritrade says it also provides a variety of free tools, resources and webinars—for the novice investor to the sophisticated trader—in its online education center.

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