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Welcome to MoneyWise Matters

MoneyWise Matters is a weekly blog published each Wednesday by the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State. Here we discuss money related topics including; debt reduction, budgeting, saving strategies, scam alerts, investment fraud prevention and investor insights. You don’t want to miss out on this helpful information, hit subscribe for email updates (above) so you’ll be notified when we publish a new post.  


Holiday Scams to Avoid

Holiday Scams to Avoid

 

By Kylee Hale

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

We are only 41 days away from Christmas. Some of us have started our shopping and others will procrastinate until the eve before. No matter how you do your gift giving, you might be surprised to learn that older peoplMillennials fraud holidaye are not the most susceptible to falling for scams. While elders tend to lose more money, younger people are more frequently victims. 

In a recent Consumer Protection Data Spotlight by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), research shows that 20 and 30 year olds (aka millennials), are 25% more likely to report a loss of money via fraud than people in their 40s and older. The #1 type of fraud loss reported by millennials is online shopping, followed by fraud of business imposters, government imposters, fake check scams and romance scams. 

Scammers prey on consumers’ emotions and desires. They will take advantage of any opportunity, especially the season of giving. The holidays are a prime time for con artists to try to get ahold of your personal information and rob you of your holiday spirit. Don’t let a scammer steal your jingle, be on the lookout for these popular scams. 


Imitation sites – The amount of retailer marketing emails we receive during the holiday season seems to be triple compared to the rest of the year. Scammers are responsible for some of our inbox overload as they send out illegitimate emails made to look like the real ones that retailers produce. These replicated emails could contain malicious links built by scammers to gather your credit card information or ruin your machine by installing a virus. For example, consumers visiting wa1mart.com may mistakenly think that they're on the real Walmart website. In reality, the L in the URL was replaced by the number one -- and the site is fraudulent.

Similar to emails, fraudsters also target the younger generations through social media ads. Be cautious of social media promotions, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many of the shopping-related fraud experiences reported to the FTC were about items that were never delivered or weren’t as advertised.

To check links for legitimacy, hover over the link in an email or on social media to see where the link directs you. Check that the URL includes https: identifying that it is a secure page and be sure to avoid purchasing items on a site you have never heard of. Review emails and ads for typos and other mistakes that could indicate it’s inauthentic. When in doubt, your safest route is to directly search a website by typing in the web address yourself via a new browser window. 


Phony attempted delivery notifications – After you place an online order, your eager recipient excitement sets in, and con artists know this too. Similar to the imitation marketing emails and social media posts, scammers also send fake shipping notifications to try to get you to click their copycat links. The email might say your shipment is on the way but you need to update your delivery preferences. By following the link you risk downloading a keystroke virus that could track your keypad activity and compromise your credit card and personal information.  

Would you believe there is a low-tech version of this scam? Scammers try to pull a fast one by putting a note on your door or mailbox similar to the redelivery notifications that come from UPS and Fedex. However, the phone number provided goes to a fraudster who will try to get your bank account information. 

This seems like a fitting time to also mention keeping your packages out of the hands of “porch pirates”. Your online orders are just as susceptible to standard theft. Nearly 26 million Americans reported their holiday packages stolen last year, including this guy in the USA Today article, whose package contents were removed from the box within 5 minutes of Amazon’s delivery. 


Fake Charities - Holiday time is a common time of year for people to feel generous and to give to charities. If you donate you are likely aware of the tax benefits which may be your motive. Charities know this and typically reach out during this time, but so do scammers. 

With the increased request for donations, be sure to double check the authenticity of the charity. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org) is a great resource offering reports and ratings on how organizations spend donations and conduct business, you don’t want to give to a fake cause or end up funding someone’s personal gain. 


Virtual Gift Exchange – A scam that is recycled year after year, but continues to get new victims. Watch out for this seasonal pyramid scheme on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The scam begins when a friend posts about inviting you to a gift exchange, often it’s titled Secret Sister Gift Exchange. It’s advertised that if you buy a gift valued at $10 and send it to one person, you will in return receive 36 gifts in the mail. Not only does this seem too good to be true, it’s actually illegal. According to the Better Business Bureau, any chain letter of this kind is considered illegal gambling by the United States Postal Service, and that includes postal mail, email and social media. 

 

The holiday season brings out a lot of cheer and goodwill, but it’s also a time when scammers see more opportunity to prowl for easy victims. Stay alert and don’t risk being separated from your hard earned money. Recognizing when deals are unrealistic and paying close attention to links and phony websites will help protect you.  

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Holiday Scams to Avoid

Holiday Scams to Avoid

 

By Kylee Hale

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

We are only 41 days away from Christmas. Some of us have started our shopping and others will procrastinate until the eve before. No matter how you do your gift giving, you might be surprised to learn that older peoplMillennials fraud holidaye are not the most susceptible to falling for scams. While elders tend to lose more money, younger people are more frequently victims. 

In a recent Consumer Protection Data Spotlight by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), research shows that 20 and 30 year olds (aka millennials), are 25% more likely to report a loss of money via fraud than people in their 40s and older. The #1 type of fraud loss reported by millennials is online shopping, followed by fraud of business imposters, government imposters, fake check scams and romance scams. 

Scammers prey on consumers’ emotions and desires. They will take advantage of any opportunity, especially the season of giving. The holidays are a prime time for con artists to try to get ahold of your personal information and rob you of your holiday spirit. Don’t let a scammer steal your jingle, be on the lookout for these popular scams. 


Imitation sites – The amount of retailer marketing emails we receive during the holiday season seems to be triple compared to the rest of the year. Scammers are responsible for some of our inbox overload as they send out illegitimate emails made to look like the real ones that retailers produce. These replicated emails could contain malicious links built by scammers to gather your credit card information or ruin your machine by installing a virus. For example, consumers visiting wa1mart.com may mistakenly think that they're on the real Walmart website. In reality, the L in the URL was replaced by the number one -- and the site is fraudulent.

Similar to emails, fraudsters also target the younger generations through social media ads. Be cautious of social media promotions, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many of the shopping-related fraud experiences reported to the FTC were about items that were never delivered or weren’t as advertised.

To check links for legitimacy, hover over the link in an email or on social media to see where the link directs you. Check that the URL includes https: identifying that it is a secure page and be sure to avoid purchasing items on a site you have never heard of. Review emails and ads for typos and other mistakes that could indicate it’s inauthentic. When in doubt, your safest route is to directly search a website by typing in the web address yourself via a new browser window. 


Phony attempted delivery notifications – After you place an online order, your eager recipient excitement sets in, and con artists know this too. Similar to the imitation marketing emails and social media posts, scammers also send fake shipping notifications to try to get you to click their copycat links. The email might say your shipment is on the way but you need to update your delivery preferences. By following the link you risk downloading a keystroke virus that could track your keypad activity and compromise your credit card and personal information.  

Would you believe there is a low-tech version of this scam? Scammers try to pull a fast one by putting a note on your door or mailbox similar to the redelivery notifications that come from UPS and Fedex. However, the phone number provided goes to a fraudster who will try to get your bank account information. 

This seems like a fitting time to also mention keeping your packages out of the hands of “porch pirates”. Your online orders are just as susceptible to standard theft. Nearly 26 million Americans reported their holiday packages stolen last year, including this guy in the USA Today article, whose package contents were removed from the box within 5 minutes of Amazon’s delivery. 


Fake Charities - Holiday time is a common time of year for people to feel generous and to give to charities. If you donate you are likely aware of the tax benefits which may be your motive. Charities know this and typically reach out during this time, but so do scammers. 

With the increased request for donations, be sure to double check the authenticity of the charity. The Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (Give.org) is a great resource offering reports and ratings on how organizations spend donations and conduct business, you don’t want to give to a fake cause or end up funding someone’s personal gain. 


Virtual Gift Exchange – A scam that is recycled year after year, but continues to get new victims. Watch out for this seasonal pyramid scheme on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The scam begins when a friend posts about inviting you to a gift exchange, often it’s titled Secret Sister Gift Exchange. It’s advertised that if you buy a gift valued at $10 and send it to one person, you will in return receive 36 gifts in the mail. Not only does this seem too good to be true, it’s actually illegal. According to the Better Business Bureau, any chain letter of this kind is considered illegal gambling by the United States Postal Service, and that includes postal mail, email and social media. 

 

The holiday season brings out a lot of cheer and goodwill, but it’s also a time when scammers see more opportunity to prowl for easy victims. Stay alert and don’t risk being separated from your hard earned money. Recognizing when deals are unrealistic and paying close attention to links and phony websites will help protect you.  

5 Tips for Celebrating Veterans Day

5 Tips for Celebrating Veterans Day

 

By Kylee Hale

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

If you’re like me, you recognize Veterans Day as a holiday in November, which means you don’t have to come to work. This is a great benefit even to those of us who are not veterans. While we are enjoying time away from our cubicles, here are a few tips to make sure you truly know what this day is all about.

#1 Veterans Day and Memorial Day are not the same.

I will admit, I did not know the difference, except that one is in May and one in November. But, I know I am not alone due to the number of articles written to explain the differences between these two holidays. According to Military.com, Memorial Day is for reflecting, remembering and honoring. In other words, Memorial Day is a way of appreciating those who gave their lives for our country, while Veterans Day honors all who have served – dead or alive – yet it seems to mostly be intended to thank living veterans for their service.

#2 “The end of all wars”

Veterans Days was originally Armistice Day, named for the end of the fighting of World War I. On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1919, the Allies and Germany put into effect an armistice or a truce. Congress did not establish this day as a holiday until 1938, and then World War II happened and the Korean War. In 1954, congress changed the holiday to “veterans” day to honor all American war vets.

#3 Veterans Day, not Veteran’s Day.

Just like Daylight Saving Time is commonly misspelled with an added “s” to be Daylight Savings Time, Veterans Day often gets an apostrophe added which does not belong. There is no possession of Veterans Day, just plural, as is celebrating all veterans as a group.

#4 Always on November 11th

From 1971 to 1977, Veterans Day was observed on the fourth Monday in October. This was part of the Uniform Holiday Bill, which pinned down a few federal holidays to be celebrated on a Monday. Officials hoped this would stimulate the economy with travel and family activities over the long weekends. Americans did not like Veterans Day being celebrated this way. In 1978, President Ford signed a bill that return Veterans Day to November 11th. Ever since, we have always observed this holiday on November 11th and sometimes we get lucky enough that it falls on a day next to the weekend. 

#5 Celebrate HomecomingMilitary Homecoming

Civilian life can be very different than time spent while on active duty. For those transitioning their way into life at home with family and friends, there are many resources to help. Some challenges include obtaining a job, repaying debt, going back to school and preparing for financial emergencies. The links to several assistance resources are listed below:

Veteran Jobs: Military.com, USAJobs
Continued Education: GI Bill 
Hardship Support: USA Cares, The American Legion, Operation First Response, Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes and Disable American Veterans

Bitcoin and Beyond: What Do You Know About Crypto?

Bitcoin and Beyond: What Do You Know About Crypto?

 

By Kelly Griese

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Bitcoin This week marks the 11th anniversary of Bitcoin. It’s one of the most talked about brand names in the fintech world, and for many people, it’s as synonymous with cryptocurrency. Think using Coke in place of soda, Kleenex in place of facial tissue, Chapstick in place of lip balm. There are even terms to define this phenomenon: genericized trademark or proprietary eponym. Essentially, the brand name becomes the common name we use to describe all similar products. In the case of Bitcoin, we often use it in place cryptocurrency, even though there are more than 2,900 different cryptocurrencies in existence. 

 

So what is cryptocurrency anBitcoind how does it apply to investing? 

First, let’s define cryptocurrencies with some help from the North American Securities Administrators Association, or NASAA

“Cryptocurrencies are digital assets created by companies or individuals that take the form of a virtual coin or token. Anyone can create a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are intangible and exist only on the internet. Central banks and other governmental authorities do not insure or control cryptocurrencies. You cannot always exchange them for other fiat currencies (i.e., currencies declared “legal tender” by governments), such as the U.S. or Canadian dollar or Mexican peso. Cryptocurrencies trade on unregulated, opaque exchanges on which there may be little or no opportunity to independently verify their true market value. And given the newness and uniqueness of cryptocurrencies and related instruments, they do not yet have a clear place in the existing framework of financial regulation.”

BitcoinFor some investors, the decentralized, unregulated nature of cryptocurrencies makes them MORE appealing, and fraudsters agree.

Fraudsters all too eager to exploit investors’ interest in the crypto craze. Here are some common schemes associated with cryptocurrencies: 

Fake digital wallets – A digital wallet is used to store, send, and receive cryptocurrencies. Scammers design a fake digital wallet to lure users into providing their private key or code that enables the wallet to open. Once a scammer receives the private key, he or she can steal all the cryptocurrency from the owner’s digital wallet.

Pump-and-dumps – Groups of individuals coordinate to buy a thinly-traded cryptocurrency, promote the cryptocurrency on social media to push up demand and price, and then sell it in a coordinated sale. The price plummets and those unaware of the scheme are left with the devalued cryptocurrency. 

Multi-level marketing platforms – Companies lure investors through the promise of high interest with low risk. These investors are then incentivized to recruit more members. 

In an effort to combat cryptocurrency scams, the Indiana Securities Division joined forces with NASAA to investigate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency-related investment products. “Operation Cryptosweep” involves more than 40 NASAA members, including the Indiana Securities Division.  To date, the operation has resulted in more than 330 inquiries and investigations and at least 85 enforcement actions. As part of the the sweep, the Indiana Securities Division filed a cease and desist order against Bionic for registration violations.

Bitcoin

Before investing in crypto-related products, here are some common concerns you should consider: 

Volatility - Cryptocurrency markets are highly volatile, making them unsuitable for most investors looking to meet long-term savings or retirement goals. To understand this volatility, just look to the Bitcoin crash of 2018. It was valued at $6,447 on October 31, 2017 before spiking to an all-time high of $19,068 on December 17, 2017 and returning to $6,283 as of October 30, 2018. Other cryptocurrencies experienced similar volatility.

No recourse - Cryptocurrency and many crypto-related investments are subject to minimal regulatory oversight, and there may be no recourse should the cryptocurrency disappear due to a cybersecurity breach or hack.

Untraceable - Cryptocurrency or crypto-related investments only exist on the internet. Issuers can be located anywhere in the world, so it may be impossible to trace and recover lost funds through the courts.

Uninsured - Cryptocurrency accounts are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. 

Unregulated - Cryptocurrency investors rely upon unregulated exchanges that may lack appropriate internal controls, making them susceptible to fraud, theft and hacking.

Hackable - Creating a digital wallet to store cryptocurrency involves installing software on an investor’s computer. As with any software download, hackers may include malicious code.

Vulnerable - Purchasers of cryptocurrencies rely on the strength of their own computer systems as well as systems provided by third parties to protect purchased cryptocurrencies from theft.

Last year, ahead of the 10th anniversary of Bitcoin, the Securities Division of the Indiana Secretary of State’s office released an investor advisory on the subject of cryptocurrencies. You can read it here.  Additionally, NASAA created a short, animated video to help investors better understand cryptocurrency-related investing and the risks involved. You can view the video here
 

How to Start Investing

How to Start Investing

 

By Kylee Hale

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Young adults today face one of the most uncertain economic futures of any generation since the Great Depression. Specifically for us Millennials, born in the 80’s and early 90’s, most of us came of age and entered the workforce during the Great Recession. As a result some of us started careers with lower salaries than desired or not in our preferred field of work. Fuse this with the amount of debt we carry in the form of school loans, and it’s easy to see why some (not all) of us might be nervous about putting our hard earned money into an investment option that carries any degree of risk. Aside from questioning how to begin investing, you may be wondering when to begin. Let's address that first.
 

If you remember any of the following, you need to be investing for your future:

Oregon Trail when Facebook required a college email address.N*Sync & Limp Bizkit.Total Request LiveBeanie BabiesBlockbuster VideoAIM AOL instant messengerMixed CDsFloppy DisksNETFLIX DVDs VIA MAILDial-up InternetTwilight

Hopefully, you have deduced that you should start investing today. Not investing while time is on your side could make for a difficult road to retirement. But many times, we run away from things that seem challenging or when we don't know where the starting line is. Investing can seem overwhelming and full of uncertain outcomes, yet most of these emotions are built up by myths or fictional roadblocks. Here are the top three myths you need to stop believing about investing and the encouragement you need to get going. 

3 Investing myths you should ignore

Myth 1: I don’t have enough money to start investing.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” - Lao Tsu, Chinese Philosopher

Can you put aside $5 a week? $10 a week? Then congratulations! You have enough money to start investing for your future goals, whether that includes a home, wedding, or more flexible lifestyle. You might be able to find even more to invest by taking a look at your budget. (Don’t have a budget? Check out our free budgeting worksheet and instruction guide here.) You can make this choice effortless with automatic deductions. If you’re paid bi-weekly and have $20 taken out from your paycheck before it hits your bank account, you’ll have over $500 to invest over the course of the year, and you won’t miss it because you won’t see it.

Many brokerage firms and trading platforms offer no minimum deposit required investment options, just be sure to check the commissions or management fees. Many young adults are curious about investing apps, you can check out some guidelines for using smart phone investing apps here. Remember, before placing your money with any broker-dealer, to make sure they are registered by checking the Indiana Securities Portal.

Myth 2: I don’t know enough about investing – I have no idea which stock to pick.
“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ.” - Warren Buffett

You don’t have to pick stocks if you don’t feel comfortable researching the financial health and history of individual companies. There are many investment products that enable you to invest in broad sectors of the market for not much cost at all. These products allow you to diversify and spread your risk out over several different companies and economic sectors, rather than putting all your money in one company’s stock. If you need help building a portfolio, you can also enlist the assistance of a robo-adviser or consult a registered financial professional. Many financial planners, investment advisers, and brokers are willing to work with clients who are just starting out on their investing journey and may not have accumulated many investable assets yet. In a way, time is on the financial professional’s side by working with younger clients whose investments will enjoy the benefit of compounding value over time.

Start educating yourself by using Google or check out our Investing 101 page for educational materials on investing. You may also start by researching lower cost financial professionals in your area or who are willing to work with you remotely on your investment goals. For more information, see this overview of the different types of financial professionals.

Myth 3: I’m afraid of losing all my money.
“When you invest, you are buying a day that you don’t have to work.” - Aya Laraya

It's undeniable how scary it was when the US stock market lost half of its value in 2008. However, that’s not the end of the story – by 2012, the market was back on track and trending upward. How many millionaires can you name that became wealthy by investing in savings accounts? The answer to that question is likely, none. While there is always a risk of losing money when investing, leaving your money in a savings account is almost a guarantee that you will lose some of the value of your money to inflation.

Take a look at the data on market performance over the long term (10, 20, and 30 years), while there are fluctuations, in general, the market has trended up over the long term. Don’t get hung up on social media trends or 24-hour news shows. It’s important not to make your investment decisions based on sources that offer dramatized information on the latest market dip or the hottest new IPO. 

I can't say it enough, right now time is on your side, but with each day that passes, it’s a little less on your side.


Through my membership with the North American Securities Administration Association (NASAA), Alerts and Advisories project group, we created NASAA's Millennial Money Mission. For more investor insights and advisories visit NASAA.org

Scary Spending: Halloween by the Numbers

Scary Spending: Halloween by the Numbers

 

By Kelly Griese

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

We spend a scary amount of money on Halloween. Americans in particular love the holiday and can’t seem to get enough of the candy, decorations, and costumes that have come to define October 31st (and the month or so before it). The National Retail Federation, or NRF, has been conducting a survey of Halloween since 2003 to see how Americans celebrate this spooky holiday. This year, shoppers say they will spend an average of $86.27 per household. That means Halloween spending in 2019 is expected to reach $8.8 billion (that’s down from 2018’s projected spending of $9 billion).  

So where’s the money go? The bulk of the money, $3.2 billion, is expected to be spent on costumes. 47% of consumers say they plan to dress in costumes – and 17%, or 29 million people, say they will buy costumes for their pets as well. It seems social media, Instagram in particular, could be driving the pet costume trend. According to the NRF, the most popular pet costumes include pumpkins, hot dogs, superheroes, bumblebees, devils, and sharks. 

Decorations are the second biggest spending category, with consumers expected to spend $2.7 billion making their homes look seasonally spooky. 49% of folks say they plan to decorate their homes for the Halloween holiday. Then there’s the candy. Consumers are expected to spend $2.6 billion on sweets for themselves and trick-or-treaters. 69% of shoppers say they will hand out candy this year. 

Despite our love of Halloween spending, we still can’t say no to a good deal. Most Halloween shoppers (47 percent) get their goodies at discount stores. 38 percent visit specialty Halloween stores, and 25 percent shop at grocery stores. 
     
To learn more about Halloween spending, check out the NRF’s report. And if you're trying to get control over your spending, consider creating a budget. We can help you. Check out the Basics of Budgeting page of the Indiana MoneyWise website. You'll find it under Personal Finance 101
 

Investing via Smartphone Apps

Investing via Smartphone Apps

 

By Kylee Hale

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Smartphones offer easy and instant access to apps that can help you navigate the complex world of investing. However, the variety of financial apps offered to investors can be daunting, especially if you are new to investing. This information will help you understand some options when investing via smartphone apps and highlight things to consider before committing to app-based investing.

investing app

 

Thinking of using a smartphone app for investing?

You may already use smartphone apps to do your banking, make purchases, transfer money to your friends, or find deals on products and services. With so much of your financial life tied to your phone, it makes sense that you might also consider an app (or two) to help you invest. Since investing can help you reach short- and long-term financial goals, there are many things to consider when choosing an investment-focused app.

 


What kinds of apps are available?

Financial services companies that offer smartphone apps take various approaches to help people invest their money and monitor their portfolios. These apps range in focus and cost. Here are some examples: 
 
  • Buying and selling investments: Trade stocks, bonds, and other investment products.
 
  • Turning daily spending into investing: “Round-up” your daily purchases and take the “spare change” to automatically buy investments for a predetermined portfolio.
 
  • Investing through automatic allocation: Direct a certain percentage of your income to an investment or retirement account.
 
  • Assigning a portion of spending to invest: Monitor your spending and saving habits and assign a percentage of your overall spending to an investment account.
 

How can using investing apps be helpful?

Investing is a life-long pursuit that can help you meet your financial goals. If you’re just getting started, an app may help you take more control of your finances or better understand the investing world. For example, if you have trouble making yourself save money to invest, you may favor an app that does it for you. However, once you build a small investment portfolio, you should reevaluate if you still need the app and if there are better options for you. This should become a habit as your needs and expectations change.

How can investing apps be problematic?

Smartphone apps give instant access to trading and portfolio management services, with market access at your fingertips. If you are fairly new to investing, jumping right into trading stocks, bonds, and other complex financial products may not be in your best interest. For example, if you are an emotional person who is swayed by market gyrations, you may end up buying investments at high prices and selling at low prices. Even if you are paying low, or no, trading fees, frequent buying and selling can cost you in the long run. You may also end up with a portfolio that isn’t balanced or diversified. 

Things to think about when using investing apps:

  • Investing on autopilot: Putting an investment portfolio on cruise control may be attractive to people who think investing is difficult and complex. However, if you don’t pay attention to your investments or the services you are using, you may not be happy in the long run. Also, if you use several different apps, you risk over-complicating your finances. 

 

  • Cyber and data security: Read the terms of service and understand how the company will protect your financial data. With any online application, there’s a risk of being hacked. Check consumer reviews and internet searches for information about any data breach the app may have experienced.  

 

  • Customer service and access: If you have an issue with your account or the app, you’ll want to be sure that you have access to someone (a live human!) who can help you fix the problem. Be sure you are comfortable with the level of service the app provides, and read customer reviews. 

 

  • Fees: People are attracted to these types of services because they offer low-fee alternatives to traditional financial service firms. Being fee conscious is good, but a lower fee structure could mean less service and information. Read the fine print to determine what the total fees are for an account. Over time, these add up and impact your overall returns. 

 

  • Investment offerings: If the app is allocating money to investments for you, understand the investment products and track record of the investment management firm overseeing the products. You want to be comfortable with the types of investments an app is putting you into, the risk you are taking, and the fees being charged. 

 


What can I do to avoid possible pitfalls of using financial services apps?

Be cautious, do your research and stay engaged.

Don’t use a smartphone app just because a friend suggests it to you. If you are new to investing, you may find yourself using an app that isn’t suitable for your needs or is fraudulent. Technology can make your investing life easier, but you should monitor and check in on your portfolio regularly. Being an informed investor will help you build the skills and knowledge you need to meet your long-term financial goals.


Your takeaway

Technology is rapidly changing the way we invest and manage our finances. When using online services or apps, be sure to use smartphone apps that you understand and fit your financial needs. 

Through my membership with the North American Securities Administration Association (NASAA), Alerts and Advisories project group, we created NASAA's Millennial Money Mission. For more investor insights and advisories visit NASAA.org

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