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Introduction to the Markets

Used with permission from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

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.

In this section, you’ll find an overview on how the markets work, the role of the SEC, why you should invest, and how to begin saving and investing. The section concludes with information on shareholder rights.