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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TTSEC conducts financial education sessions with the TTDF

The Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC) is fully aware that investors in 2013 have less disposable income, are more susceptible to risk, must be more prudent in their financial decision making and must become financial literate. It is against this backdrop that, the TTSEC partnered with the National Financial Literacy Programme of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago to conduct free investor/financial education sessions for various formations of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) during the month of June. Participants in these sessions, which numbered more than 600, included officers at all ranks from the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard and Trinidad and Tobago Reserves. These sessions were conducted at bases in both Trinidad and Tobago and aimed to demystify financial concepts and terms so that the officers can be equipped with the tools that they need in order to better understand and evaluate the risks and benefits of various financial products and to recognise, avoid and report illegal investment schemes.

According to the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ Principles of Securities Regulation, “regulators should play an active role in the education of investors and market participants.” The Commission adheres to the tenets of this principle and will continue employing existing and new strategies to educate and empower citizens to make wise financial choices. At one of the sessions, a female officer indicated that “in all my years in the TTDF, no one has ever come here to explain these terms to us and provide us with all this information.”

These outreach sessions are a key part of the Commission’s Investor Education Programme which uses print, electronic, digital and traditional methods to empower investors and potential investors and promote investor awareness.

This is the second interface that the Commission has had with the TTDF. In 2012, the Commission conducted eight (8) investor/financial education sessions for the various formations. Two additional sessions will be conducted with the TTDF bases at Galeota and Cedros during the week of July 15.


TTSEC attends IOSCO Board Meeting in Sydney, Australia

From March 21-22, the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission attended the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Board Meeting held in Sydney, Australia. Representing the Commission were Professor Patrick Watson, Chairman and Mr. Norton Jack, General Counsel/General Manager (Ag.). On return from the very important meeting, both Professor Watson and Mr Jack reiterated the point that attendance at these meetings is mandatory for the TTSEC since the TTSEC sits on the IOSCO Board until 2014 and is also the third representative of the Inter-American Regional Committee. Here are some of the highlights from the meeting:

New IOSCO Chairman of the Board

Mr. Greg Medcraft, Chair of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, took over as chair of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) Board at the March 21-22 Meeting.  He succeeds Mr. Masamichi Kono of the Japan FSA. The Board also elected Ontario Securities Commission Chairman, Mr. Howard I. Wetston as IOSCO Vice Chair following the retirement of Mr. Ethiopis Tafara. In his first statement as Chairman, Mr. Medcraft said “I am delighted to be appointed Chair of IOSCO and I salute and thank Masa Kono for his leadership of IOSCO. Under my stewardship, I want to build on Mr. Kono’s work and ensure IOSCO is proactive and forward-looking in delivering three objectives – working to ensure that globally investors are confident and informed, markets are fair and efficient and reducing systemic risk.” Mr. Medcraft said that during his term as chair IOSCO will work toward these objectives through:

  • Engagement with members and stakeholders;
  • Co-operation across its membership and with industry; and
  • Standard-setting.

The Sydney IOSCO Board meeting also covered the following areas:


The Board meeting underscored IOSCO’s commitment to improving engagement with industry and the broader IOSCO membership.

 Industry Round Table on Emerging Risks

The meeting was preceded by a Round Table attended by the Board and seven financial services executives from Australia, Asia, Europe and North America to discuss emerging risks. The discussions underscored IOSCO´s determination to engage with industry in developing early and forward-looking responses to the challenges that securities markets face in a rapidly evolving environment. Participants exchanged views on emerging risks in global financial markets and the possible unintended consequences of securities regulation and other policy measures, particularly on emerging markets. Some of the potential risks discussed included the global imbalances caused by capital flows, weaknesses in financial market infrastructure, high-frequency trading, market fragmentation and cyber-attacks

Board members expressed concern over the potential risks of the current low interest rate environment. Members generally agreed the search for yield could fuel the creation of new asset bubbles, particularly in emerging markets with largely undiversified economies. They noted that a sudden upward spike in interest rates could damage global economic growth.

The Emerging Markets Committee (EMC)

The Board discussed measures to enhance the inclusiveness of EMC members in IOSCO policy and implementation work. The EMC accounts for 75% of IOSCO membership, which gives it significant responsibility for the development and implementation of IOSCO standards on a global level. Board members agreed that the emerging markets would play an increasingly important role as a source of financing for the global economy.

Board membership and working procedures

The Meeting had preliminary discussions on changes to the composition of the IOSCO Board and its working procedures.  The aim of these changes is to ensure the Board is as inclusive and representative as possible of the IOSCO membership.  The Board was established in May 2012 through the merger of the Executive Committee, the Technical Committee and the Emerging Market Committee Advisory Board. The aim is to have in place a permanent basis for determining Board membership by the time of the Annual meeting in Rio de Janeiro in September 2014.

New IOSCO members

The Board approved and welcomed the following institutions as affiliate members of IOSCO:

  • Union of Arab Securities Authorities  (UASA)
  • Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)
  • Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE)
  • The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA)


IOSCO’s ongoing commitment to enhancing constructive co-operation across its members was reflected in a number of new initiatives agreed at the meeting.

Establishing the IOSCO Foundation

The Board discussed the governance framework for the Foundation and discussed the location of the Foundation.  Board members supported physically locating the Foundation in Madrid, as efforts continue to secure funding commitments. A final decision on all aspects of the Foundation will be made and the next steps for formally filing the Foundation documents will be taken after completion of the pre-commitment phase and thorough examination of all legal issues.

Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding on the exchange of information

The Board considered additional measures to encourage non-signatory members to sign the IOSCO Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation and exchange of information, the instrument used by securities regulators around the world to combat cross-border fraud and misconduct. It also reiterated IOSCO’s commitment to provide technical assistance and political support to those non-signatories that require it in order to sign the MMoU. Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank of Malawi signed the MMoU, bringing to 94 the total number of IOSCO member signatories. Together these members regulate about 95% of the world’s securities markets. However, 30 members have yet to become signatories.  As long as these jurisdictions remain outside the international enforcement regime, they offer potential safe havens for wrong doers and create gaps in IOSCO’s international enforcement network.

Financial Benchmarks

 The Board discussed the draft principles on financial benchmarks developed by the Task Force on Financial Market Benchmarks. The principles include high level principles that are applicable to all benchmarks and additional principles that are applied under specific circumstances. The Board agreed to issue a second consultation paper focusing primarily on the additional, more detailed principles.  The consultation paper is expected to be released for a four-week comment period during April.  The final report is expected to be published in June.

G20/FSB mandates to repair the financial system

 The Board discussed progress in reform work mandated by the G20 Leaders and coordinated by the Financial Stability Board. The meeting heard updates on OTC derivatives reform initiatives and implementation issues, progress on joint IOSCO-BCBS (Basel Committee on Banking Supervision) work on Margin Requirements for non-centrally cleared derivatives, the need for further work on credit rating agencies and on credit default swaps.

 Adapted from: http://lacartadelabolsa.com/leer/articulo/iosco_to_progress_reform_agenda_under_new_leadership