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SEC site offers financial information

October 29, 2009|By BOB POOR

Q: We are recently retired and feeling the effects of our "deflated" financial assets. Since we are not prepared to revise our financial plans yet, can you recommend an adult financial primer to get us started?

A: Your computer can lead you to innumerable sites that offer various kinds of financial information and education.

One of my favorites is the Web site for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Google it, go to the home page, then to "For Seniors." You also can call 1-888-SEC-6585 and ask for the free Investor Care Package of education materials.

Online, you will find sections including "About the SEC," "Investor Information," "News and Statements," "Litigation" and several supporting sections.

The "Investing Wisely" segment includes items such as "Senior Investing Video," "Avoiding Investment Scams," "Quick Answers to Common Questions" (with an alphabetized directory), "What You Need to Know About Managing Risk," "How to Deal with Cold Calling to Your Home Phone," "How to Deal with Lump Sum Payouts" and "What You Need to Know About All Those Professional Designations That We Professionals Have After Our Names."

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The product section has excellent introductory information, including "Variable Annuities," "Equity-Indexed Annuities," "Equity-Linked CDs," "Promissory Notes," "Callable CDs," "Ultra-Short Bond Funds" and "Viatical Settlements."

The "Investing Wisely" segment offers "An Introduction to Mutual Funds." The Investor Information segment includes such topics as "Online Publications," "Check Out Brokers and Dealers" (before doing business with them), "Education Links," "Tips and Complaints," "Teachers and Students" and "Investors Claims Funds."

The last section of the home page gives you an opportunity for a mental workout. You can try your hand at getting a ballpark estimate on the Retirement Calculator and on the Mutual Fund Cost Calculator. Try your luck on the Scam Meter and the Risk Meter.

Additional segments cover the National Do Not Call Registry and allow contact with Your State Securities Regulator.

As a bonus, you can download a free copy of the 64-page retirement planning booklet "Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning." Go to www.sec.gov/investor/seniors/addmaterials.htm and click on "Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement Planning." You can also call 1-866-444-3272 to order copies of the planning booklet.

Hopefully, the information will provide a beginning for your recovery efforts from those "deflated" financial assets.

Hagerstown resident Robert A. "Bob" Poor is a member of the Society of Senior Advisers and provides senior professional services for reverse mortgages and personal insurance. He also is a member of the Senior Referral Center of Hagerstown. Questions are welcomed at r.poor@myactv.net or by mail c/o The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741, ATTN: Robert A. Poor column.

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