Introduction to Investing

Many people just like you turn to the markets to help buy a home, send children to college, or build a retirement nest egg. But unlike the banking world, where deposits are guaranteed by federal deposit insurance, the value of stocks, bonds, and other securities fluctuates with market conditions. No one can guarantee that you’ll make money from your investments, and they may lose value.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforces the laws on how investments are offered and sold to you. Protecting investors is an important part of our mission. We cannot tell you what investments to make, but this website provides unbiased information to help you evaluate your choices and protect yourself against fraud.

Visit the Roadmap to Saving and Investing

A few people may stumble into financial security. But for most people, the only way to attain financial security is to save and invest over a long period of time. You just need to have your money work for you. That’s investing.

Knowing how to secure your financial well-being is one of the most important things you’ll ever need in life. You don’t have to be a genius to do it. You just need to know a few basics, form a plan, and be ready to stick to it. There is no guarantee that you’ll make money from investments you make. But if you get the facts about saving and investing and follow through with an intelligent plan, you should be able to gain financial security over the years and enjoy the benefits of managing your money. For more information, SEC’s publication Saving and Investing: A Roadmap To Your Financial Security Through Saving and Investing.

How the Markets Work

The stock market is where buyers and sellers meet to decide on the price to buy or sell securities, usually with the assistance of a broker: Let's take a closer look at what you need to know about how stocks are traded.

The Role of the SEC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission enforces the laws on how investments are offered and sold to you. Protecting investors is an important part of our mission.

Retirement and Retirement Plans

For most Americans, a retirement savings plan, which you build over time during your working years, is an essential part of securing your retirement. Learn what you can do, while employed and once retired, to make the most of your investments.

Retirement Plans

Learn about retirement plans and how to maximize your benefits.

Employer-Sponsored Plans

  • 401(k)
  • 403(b)
  • Pension Plans
  • ESOPs

Federal Government Plans

  • FERS
  • CSRS
  • TSP

Self-Directed Plans

  • IRAs -  traditional
  • Roth
  • SEP
  • SIMPLE

Switching Jobs

Understand the investment implications that come with a job change and related terminology such as lump sum distributions and rollovers.

Retirement

Find out how to manage your life's savings.

Retirement Resources

Info for new retirees and seniors

Managing Lifetime Income

Senior Specialist Designations

What do they really mean?

Social Security

How the Social Security system works

Avoiding Retirement Fraud

Avoid becoming a victim and help others