resources

Learn the basics of fraud prevention, personal finance, and investing.


Before You Invest with an Advisor

Do a background check on your financial advisor to see if he has had any complaints by his clients, pled guilty to certain crimes, had any regulatory actions and settlements against him, liens that have not been satisfied, and review 10 years of his employment history. You can also review similar information about the firms your advisor has worked at to see if the firm is reputable based on their regulatory history.

 

PLEASE DO THIS.

  • Investment Advisor Public Disclosure Website - You can search by your advisor's name and/or the name of the firm. Registered Investment Advisers ("RIAs") also file Form ADV and Form ADV Brochures which provide an abundance of additional information like the firm's assets under management, number of clients, and potential conflicts of interest.
  • BrokerCheck Website - Although the Investment Advisor Public Disclosure website also searches BrokerCheck, it is still good for you to know this is available. Additionally, this user experience on this website is better than the SEC's. 

Fraud Prevention

BrightLights' blog post Where Is the Data on Fraud with Professional Athletes? detailed the similarities between pro athletes and corporations. Athletes should understand the anti-fraud controls and risk management techniques that corporations put in place to prevent fraud from occurring. The following are some resources explaining this in much more detail: 

The following websites provide basic guidelines and principles to follow to help prevent fraud from occurring in your accounts:


Personal Finance & Investment Education

All of these sites are completely free and no email or signup is required to access all the information you need to educate yourself about personal finance and investments.  

  • Khan Academy - One of the premiere free educational tools out there that offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning dashboard that empower learners to study at their own pace. Lessons include:
    • Stocks and bonds;
    • Taxes;
    • Investment vehicles, insurance, and retirement;
    • Interest and debt; 
    • Housing; and
    • Accounting and financial statements
  • Boglehead's Wiki - Boglehead's Wiki is an endless source of investment guidance, including:
    • The Bogleheads Investment Philosophy;
    • Identifying your investment objectives;
    • A simplified guide to learn to invest yourself;
    • Explanations of almost every investment product, such as mutual funds, ETFs, and bond funds; and
    • Preparing for retirement.
  • Road Map for Investing Success  by Paul Keck - This website will guide you to: 
    • Implement the six essentials of investing;
    • Understand and manage risk;
    • Evaluate and select mutual funds;
    • Recognize and control the devastating effects of cost;
    • Develop and write an Investment Policy Statement;
    • Recognize and avoid behavioral mistakes; and
    • Evaluate and choose an Investment Advisor.
  • Morningstar's Investing Classroom - These tutorials provide 172 different courses on stocks, bonds, funds (mutual funds, risk and return, benchmarks), and portfolios (asset allocation, risk tolerance, how to monitor your portfolio, ETFs, IPOs, and more). A really great resource!
  • Investopedia's Financial Investing Tutorials - Similar to Morningstar, these tutorials provide the basics of mutual funds, the basics of bonds, the basics of stocks, becoming your own financial advisor, and more.
  • FinancialLife.org - This is a non-profit foundation dedicated to having individuals achieve financial freedom by understanding investments and the markets. His FAQ page answers tons of questions, including:
    • Why invest?
    • What to invest?
    • What to buy?
    • Types of funds. 
    • This website also has a ton of videos, many of which are super corny yet more educational and fun because of it. Other videos are quick primers to get your mind focused, such as The ABCs of Investing Basics:

Financial Forums

You will almost always be able to find an answer to whatever question you may have through these forums because odds are that someone else has wondered the same thing. The advantage of a forum is that you can get involved and ask questions! Remember the cardinal rule of forums: Before you submit a question, make sure your question hasn't been asked and answered before! 

  • Boglehead's Forum - Boglehead's Forum is an amazing source of information on almost everything you could think of in finance. My go-to method of finding information is to Google "Bogleheads and [insert any financial topic here]" and you will be blown away with the amount and quality of information.
  • Morningstar's Forum - I prefer the Boglehead Forums above all else, but we Bogleheads do tend to stick together sometime, so it's certainly important to hear other points of view on topics. This site has forums on 401k and IRA planning, hands-on investing, investing basics, money saving tips, market insights, and much more. Tons of info at your fingertips! 
  • Reddit's Personal Finance and Reddit's Investing  - Although the quality of information can vary, this is another interesting forum to find information on a bevy of financial topics. 

Great Blogs on Investing and Personal Finance

These are the individuals revered within the personal finance community, the individuals who have given their time and efforts to educate us on the rights and wrongs of personal finance and investing. It is truly inspiring to see these amazing minds provide great advice for free.

  • Abnormal Returns - The best aggregator of financial articles each day and week sent right to your inbox.     
  • Alpha Architect - Blogs and podcasts on different forms of investing and free tools for individual investors. Wes Gray and Jack Vogel are very smart guys. 
  • Collaborative Fund - Morgan Housel is one of the best financial writers out there. He talks a lot about how our behaviors and mental abilities affect our abilities to make money. His post The Psychology of Money is a must read and the epitome of his talent to make the complicated sound simple.
  • Jack Bogle's eBlog - This is a aggregation of all of the articles, speeches, podcasts, books, etc., that involve Jack Bogle.     
  • Warren Buffet Website and Shareholder Letters - Buffet does not have his own website, but thanks to his legions of followers, this website is dedicated to all things Buffet, and his company's website has all of his must-read Letters to Shareholders as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the largest companies in the world. He's called The Oracle for a reason. 
  • Jason Zweig's The Intelligent Investor - Zweig's articles are informative and easy to read. The articles keep up with current trends and patterns of the market, keeping the intelligent investor informed. Jason Zweig has been The Wall Street Journal's personal finance columnist since 2008. Zweig is also the current editor of one of the greatest investment books ever written, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham.
  • Humble Dollar By long time personal finance Wall Street Journal columnist, Jonathan Clements. His goal is to provide you everything you need to know about money. The website features interesting blog posts typically centered on current events. Most importantly, the website has a great step-by-step guide that walks you from the beginning to the end, starting with The Big Picture (Economy and Markets, America's Personal Finances, Your Goals) then gets into Retirement, Housing, Safety Net, Saving, Spending, Investing, Financial Markets, Investment Math, Taxes, Borrowing, and Key Concepts.
  • A Wealth of Common Sense - The name of Ben Carlson's blog says it all. The blog focuses mainly on wealth management, investment, investor psychology, and the markets in general. His writing is simple and smart.

Regulators

The main regulators of the financial markets and financial advisors are the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Despite their lack of resources, their sites provide an abundance of information and education.