Public libraries and other institutions in the District of Columbia and five states -- Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska -- will participate in the DASH for the STASH investor education/protection program and contest taking place April 15-May 15, 2015 as part of Financial Literacy Month. The Lillie M. Evans Library District in Princeville is one of the participating libraries.
Research shows that the four focuses of DASH for the STASH – financial fraud, building a nest egg, selecting financial advisers, and the cost of investment fees – are all topics about which many investors need to learn more. A DASH for the STASH winner in each state and the District of Columbia will be awarded $1,000 to open or add to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), thanks to the nonprofit Investor Protection Institute (IPI), the Connecticut Department of Banking, the District of Columbia (DC) Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking’s Securities Bureau, the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State’s Securities Department, the Iowa Insurance Division’s Securities Bureau, the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State’s Securities Division, and the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance.
The DASH for the STASH contest works much like a scavenger hunt. But instead of collecting objects, players gather information and leave answers to quiz questions. To play, participants will go to participating libraries to find four posters. They will read each poster, access the quiz question and choose an answer. IPI President and CEO Don Blandin said: “Our goal is to impart some financial knowledge—in a fun way—on how to save, invest, and protect your nest egg. Everyone will learn something. Getting people to focus on investing for retirement is not a game, but DASH for the STASH is a great way to engage participants who might not otherwise pay attention to this crucial part of their overall financial picture.”
Research shows that millions of Americans would benefit from the financial literacy information featured in the DASH for the STASH program:
- Investment fraud costs billions of dollars each year. http://fraudresearchcenter.org/prevalence/) A survey conducted for the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) Prevention Program of the Investor Protection Trust (IPT) found that older Americans are particularly vulnerable to such abuses. One in five Americans aged 65 or older – more than 7.3 million senior citizens -- already have “been taken advantage of financially in terms of an inappropriate investment, unreasonably high fees for financial services, or outright fraud,” according to that survey. (http://investorprotection.org/downloads/EIFFE_Survey_Report.pdf)
- Most Americans don’t understand the difference between financial professionals. For example, more than three out of five American investors mistakenly believe that stockbrokers are investment advisers, according to a survey conducted for the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), AARP, the Investment Adviser Association, the Financial Planning Association, the CFP Board, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. (http://bit.ly/1Npodra)
- The impact of financial fees is something many investors need help to understand. About three in five Americans (62 percent) are unaware of how much they are paying in fees for their investment plans, and almost one-third (32 percent) report that they do not feel knowledgeable about the impact that fees could have on their retirement savings, according to an AARP survey. (http://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/info-02-2011/401k-fees-awareness-11.html). The impact of such fees can be substantial in the long haul. As the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) explains: “… if you invested $10,000 in a product with a 10 percent annual return before expenses and annual operating expenses of 1.5 percent, after 20 years you would have about $49,725. But if the investment had expenses of 0.5 percent, you would end up with $60,858 -- an 18 percent difference.” (http://investor.gov/investing-basics/guiding-principles/understanding-fees)
- Most Americans are not saving enough to build up a real nest egg. A CFA survey found that only 49 percent of non-retired Americans said they are “saving enough for a retirement in which you will have a desirable standard of living.” (http://www.consumerfed.org/news/644). The cost of not being prepared is significant since, over a lifetime, investors with a financial plan accumulate about 20 percent more wealth than those with no plan, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. (http://www.nber.org/papers/w8920)