Investment Basics and Products General Information

Millions of Americans invest in securities and every one of them had to make the same basic decisions to get started: determining their investment goals, selecting what products to invest in, and deciding how to manage those investments. You may be starting small, but there may come a time when your total investments will represent a sizable amount of money.

You should be clear about your investment goals and take at least as much, if not more, care investigating and choosing investment products and professionals as you would when making a significant purchase such as buying a home or an automobile. When determining your investment goals, remember that the more money you want to make, the more risk you must be willing to take with your investment dollars. When evaluating risk, you should also consider the length of time you can afford to leave the funds invested, the proportion of your assets you commit to securities investments and how much you can afford to lose.

The Division of Securities can tell you when a firm and/or financial professional were registered in Wisconsin, how long they have been in the securities business, if any complaints have been filed with the division by Wisconsin investors, and if any state or federal regulator or agency has taken any disciplinary action against them. To check on a firm or a financial professional, call (608) 266-2139 and ask for a registration background check. The division cannot, however, tell you if any firm or financial professional is “reputable” nor can it make any recommendations. You can also search registrations online at Financial Industry Regulatory Authority BrokerCheck.

Above all, the most important thing to remember is to investigate before you invest!

The Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions created this easy-to-use resource packed with strategies for investing wisely and avoiding financial fraud. The guide also contains information on selecting a financial professional, setting your investing goals and objectives, diversification of investments, choosing the right investments and different types of retirement accounts.

​Additional Resources:

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

Contact Us

Phone: (608) 266-2139