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Investing Fundamentals

March 14, 2012 - Brandon Twp.- Investing, the stock market, IRAs, 401ks, bonds, CDs—it can all seem overwhelming.

How much will you need to retire? What about your child's college education?

A new, free series being offered at the township library, 304 South St., can help you sort through the confusion and assist you in making sound financial decisions. The educational program is not a sales pitch.

From 7-8:30pm, on March 19, "Investing Fundamentals" explores an introductory-level overview of some of the more popular elements that make up the financial markets: exchanges, primary and secondary markets, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. It is the first workshop in the Investor Education in Your Community program, developed by Mark Robinson.

Robinson was chosen by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) to lead the program in various locations around the state as a free public service. No tax dollars are used for the program. Funds come from a grant from the Investor Protection Trust in Washington, D.C.

"This is non-commercial, objective, very robust, quality financial education at no cost," said Kelly Masters, coordinator of the program. "We've all been invited to free lunch seminars, and at the end of the day, someone tries to sell you something. That does not happen here."

Instead, Robinson will offer common sense concepts to avoid common investing pitfalls and help participants make better, more-informed investment decisions. The courses have been in place for six years, helping 17,000 Michigan residents to date. Robinson is a certified investment management analyst (CIMA), and accredited investment fiduciary analyst (AIFA).

Masters said many people don't think of themselves as investors.

"You don't have to be a big roller or extremely wealthy person," she said. "This program is for anyone who wants a basic understanding of the world of investing."

The vast majority of people at the workshops are people over 40, she said, "because that's when life gets serious," but she notes that many parents bring their high school students, too. The workshop is also for people who have not taken steps to saving for retirement, college, a home, etc.

Attendees can inquire about a one-on-one portfolio review with Robinson when they call to register, and bring financial statements for a private 15-minute session.

Following the "Investment Fundamentals" course on March 19, other programs will be: "Your Money in the Balance" (managing debt while investing in the future) at 7 p.m., March 26; "7 Steps to Manage Your Investments," 7 p.m., April 4; "Your Retirement: Boom or Bust," 7 p.m., April 16; "How to Invest in a Complex and Agenda-Driven World," 6:30 p.m., April 23; "How to Select or Evaluate Your Financial Services Provider," 7 p.m., April 30; and "Estate and Financial planning," 6:30 p.m., May 7. To register for any of these workshops, call the library at 248-627-1461 or go to

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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