How to stick to those wise money habits

break bad habits, build good habits - motivational reminder on c

Some of us always had that intention to save more but never quite got around to planning how it’s all going to get done. Some of us actually start our ‘cutting back on expenses’ drive very admirably, but then eventually fall off the wagon and other things take priority. Often we tend to embark on an action without proper planning or set goals which help to guide and motivate our habits. The reality is, there are going to be obstacles that will prevent us from achieving our financial goals. It is therefore our responsibility to ensure we put the right measures in place to secure our financial future.

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Overcoming Obstacles to Saving

Obstacle - Man Jumping Over Word on Arrow

We’ve all said it, “tomorrow I’ll get to that”, or “maybe next week or next month when I’m not so busy and have a little extra cash”, but time passes on by and we never get to that one thing we’ve been avoiding – saving for our retirement. Here are some of the obstacles to saving that we may identify with:

  • Procrastinating – delaying savings or putting savings off for another time. Check
  • Poor Spending Habits – includes spending on unnecessary items; impulse buying and self-indulgent lifestyles. Check
  • Culture of Dependency – Being overly dependent on others for everything. Check
  • Lack of financial literacy – spending on liabilities or items that decrease in value over time; not knowing how to make your money grow or work for you. Check

Here are some ways by which you can overcome these obstacles:

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Investing in Challenging Times

Tips for investing in challenging economic times

Good Advice for Hard Times

An economic downturn usually makes people more aware of the importance of saving and spending their money wisely.  Here are a few tips you can adopt to help you manage your money wisely during such periods.

 Pay off your debt

The repayment of debt is the best investment you can ever make. A downturn in the economy means fewer job opportunities, wage cuts, and rising unemployment. In order to protect yourself, it is wise to repair your personal balance sheet. Reduce your spending and use the money you save to reduce personal debt first (credit cards, overdrafts, loans), then your mortgage. Build a cash cushion to help meet unexpected bills or to cover expenditure if your income falls.

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2016 Financial Resolutions

Life GoalsEvery year we make plans to start the New Year with a clean slate, or with new goals. Maybe you want to shed a few pounds, start a new course, or open a business; but have you ever thought about your long-term goals maybe a new car, house, a dream vacation, retirement. Planning for the future starts now and the New Year is a great time to overhaul your financial life for the better. One excellent place to start is by making sound resolutions that can help to get you closer to your financial goals.

Financial Resolution 1: Know What You Want

Have clear, concise financial goals for the year.

Unrealistic Goal – “I want to pay off my credit card and have more money in the bank”.

Instead, say, “I will keep the balance on my credit card down to $0 after every month, and ensure I have over $5,000 in my savings account.”

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Be Wary of Financial Fraud…

Be Wary of Financial Fraud this Christmas

financial fraud

‘Tis the season to be jolly, not depressed and shedding tears of frustration. Ensure you are guarded against financial fraud and scams. Did you know that many victims of investment fraud are people whom you would least expect? Among those who have been defrauded are professionals and persons who have some familiarity with financial products.

One of the most popular scams that is gaining traction in Trinidad and Tobago is identity fraud. Con artists target millions of victims on the internet by posing as alias businesses and names, and sending out emails aimed at coercing you into revealing your financial information. Another popular scam is the ‘Boiler Room Scam’ where you get a phone call from a random individual offering you a ‘chance of a lifetime’ to make lots of money.  As long as new people keep buying, the value of the stock goes up.  Eventually people stop buying and start selling and the stock price falls because it had no real value. You end up losing all of your money. I’m sure this is not how you would like to spend your holiday.

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10 ways you may be scammed

Be vigilant this Christmas, Fraudsters are out there! 10 ways to tell if you’re being scammed

Christmas scams

Many of us are looking to get cash quickly this Christmas, seeking out the best deals with great returns; or you may be looking forward to that end-of-year bonus and want to place your money, in investment instruments which you believe will help achieve your life-long goals. However in our quest to find great investment opportunities for our money, some of us tend to fall victim to fraudulent investment schemes.

The Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC) was established to regulate the securities industry and help investors and potential investors like you, make wise investment choices. We want you to exercise your due diligence by being aware of some of the tricks that fraudsters may try on you.

Here are some key phrases you can look out for:

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Investing 101 Part 2

Last time we discussed the basics for deciding what the best investment fit is for you and your objectives for investing. The following article will help guide your process for establishing an investment option.  It is now time to visit a registered financial advisor/broker.

The first question that you must ask yourself is “which investment product(s) should I use?” Warren Buffet, famous philanthropist and one of the world’s richest men always says “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and he is indeed right. We recommend using a multi-faceted approach to investing so that if something goes wrong with one product, you don’t lose all of your money.

The three major types of investment products which the TTSEC regulates and which you can consider are:

  • Equities (stocks/shares)
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds

Here is a simplified explanation of these investment products:

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The TTSEC : Regulating the securities industry so that you can invest with confidence

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Educate and empower yourself! If in doubt, contact the TTSEC!

The Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission remains dedicated to the promotion of investor confidence, fairness and the orderly growth of the local capital market. This is primarily achieved through the ongoing development of a regulatory system that is geared toward ensuring a high degree of investor protection as well as building enforcement capacity to ensure the preservation of market integrity. We have been, and will continue to be, guided by a concern for the protection of investors and the maintenance of investor confidence.

Here is a summary of how we protect you:

We ensure that all persons/entities desirous of dealing in securities are registered with us. A list of registrants is available on our website www.ttsec.org.tt: we advise you to check this list before engaging in any securities transactions. Both the seller and the security itself must be registered with the TTSEC.

We ensure that the market participant discloses in a document called the prospectus all of the information that an investor will need in order to make an informed decision.

We ensure that market actors comply with their continuous disclosure obligations. We conduct routine surveillance of stock market activity and conduct investigations of possible breaches of the Act and customer complaints against registered market actors.

We conduct on-site inspections in order to ensure that registrants are complying with the legislation, to identify compliance issues and areas of emerging risk which have the potential to adversely affect investors.

We promote market integrity by making and enforcing rules through the use of orders, guidelines and By-Laws as well as establishing and monitoring standards in the market which include codes of conduct, prudential criteria and corporate governance.

We coordinate and conduct an investor education programme designed to provide investors and potential investors with suitable information to guide informed decisions.