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Several months ago, I wrote about how putting in the time and effort to invest your money can sometimes make your smaller (or bigger) dreams or life goals become true.

Have you started investing since then? If yes, great, otherwise, well, don’t feel too bad. Perhaps you’re like one of the many of us who’ve been busy catching Pokémon at the shopping mall (KLCC park’s got some great rare ones!). But either way, wouldn’t it be great if you could chill at the mall catching Pokémon and still have the time to learn and do some ACTUAL investing?

Well, InvestSmart, an investor empowerment initiative by Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) is making this happen at INVESTSMART FEST 2016 @ Mid Valley Exhibition Centre (MVEC), Kuala Lumpur from Friday to Sunday, 23 to 25 September 2016! And for you Pokémon trainers out there, there are also actually loads of Pokéstops within MVEC!

INVESTSMART FEST 2016 is the third edition of InvestSmart’s biggest ever retail investor event, gathering capital market institutions, associations, industry players and relevant government agencies under one roof. So, head on over to INVESTSMART FEST 2016 to experience a fun investment carnival atmosphere for the entire family, with an emphasis on digital elements and technology.

There’s plenty to do at the event, there’s traditional carnival games such as duck hunt and basketball shoot, to fun photo opportunities with a replica ferris wheel and carousel, there’s something for everyone. Most importantly, there are many acclaimed SME (Subject Matter Experts) who will be there to teach you how to make your money work harder by investing in capital market products such as shares, unit trusts, warrants, bonds, derivatives, private retirement schemes (PRS) and equity crowdfunding. If some of those words sound like new vocabulary to you, this is the place to go and learn more.

With more than 40 booths featuring brokers, fund managers, PRS providers, and equity crowdfunding operators, INVESTSMART FEST 2016 is the perfect platform for you to learn about, discover and invest in a variety of products to expand your portfolio. Best of all, this event is open to the public and entry is FREE!

To make it sweeter, INVESTSMART FEST 2016 will also feature a digital arena, mystery celebrity appearance, lucky and “Mega” lucky draws, a dedicated Play Area for Kids, free popcorn, ice-cream, cotton candy, FREE goodie bags and so much more. I believe this is definitely one of the more interesting, fun and inclusive approaches to investor education, it isn’t one of those old fashioned or boring sort of engagements.

So, instead of just hunting for Pokémon at Mid Valley this month, do yourself a favor by starting to plan for the long term future and learning to invest by checking out INVESTSMART FEST from 23-25 September 2016. Log on to www.investsmartsc.my/isf2016.html and REGISTER NOW to receive easier and faster PRIORITY ACCESS. Alternatively, you can register on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/InvestSmartSC/

The future is in your hands!

Back in the days when I was studying, it was usually seen to be cool to be in science stream while in high school, and some sort of engineering or computer science classes in university. We often made the mistake by thinking that those who chose to go into accounting or financial studies did so because they can’t get into the “cooler” subjects.

I couldn’t be more wrong, and subsequently, thinking about future finances and especially investment were exactly within my radar even years after I started work.

InvestSmart launched by YB Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Youth & Sports
InvestSmart launched by YB Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Youth & Sports

Thankfully, Securities Commission Malaysia is now taking initiatives to encourage the youth and young adults to take a more serious look into this aspect of our lives.

Last week, I attended an investor education initiative by Securities Commission Malaysia at Taylor’s University Lakeside Campus and got to learn quite a bit about this particular topic that I should have learned years ago.

The event also launched InvestSmart with the aim to help Malaysians to become more informed and be self-reliant investors who are able to make sound investment decisions in our capital market.

speeches by Mr. Pradeep Nair, Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh, and YB Khairy Jamaluddin
Speeches by Mr. Pradeep Nair, Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh, and YB Khairy Jamaluddin

The event was kicked off by a speech from Mr. Pradeep Nair, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Taylor’s University, who entreated that Malaysia lacks behind Indonesia China Korea Singapore in entrepreneurship rate and that institutions must play larger role to nurture entrepreneurial skill.

Datuk Ranjit Ajit Singh, the chairman of Securities Commission Malaysia mentioned that Malaysia has 2.7 trillion ringgit in stocks, or roughly three times our GDP, the country also has the worlds largest Islamic market and we are ranked 4th in the world in terms of investment protection. The key is to educate investors to be money wise, empower them to reach personal financial goal, and to reduce investment scams.

YB Khairy Jamaluddin then took over the stage before launching the InvestSmart application, and mentioned that 60 people in Malaysia goes bankrupt everyday, cost of living is going up, and EPF is no longer sufficient as the sole vehicle for retirement funding. We should start saving more than the mandatory and invest wisely. The government is also providing investment incentives for the youth via PRS scheme to encourage investments amongst the younger population. His key massages were that we need to be wary on ponzi schemes, and the stock market isn’t a regulated casino.

panel discussion with Hidayah Hassan, Hugh Koh, Shanker Joyrama, and Adrian Yap
panel discussion with Hidayah Hassan, Hugh Koh, Shanker Joyrama, and Adrian Yap

The panel of Hidayah Hassan, Hugh Koh, Shanker Joyrama, and Adrian Yap then took over the stage and shared their entrepreneurial journeys with the audience. They were the creative director of Cipela, co-founder and creative director of Pastle and Mortar, Founder & CEO of Orion Social Media, and the founder of Urbanscapes Arts Festival.

Each provided sound advice and valuable lessons to the crowd.

InvestSmart application on iOS and Android devices
InvestSmart application on iOS and Android devices

At the end of the speeches and panel discussion, I immediately downloaded the InvestSmart application to check it out, and I must say that the amount of information packed in this neatly packaged software is quite impressive.

Available in both English and Malay, you can find licensed intermediaries, who to check with for a product, the list of capital market institutions, and so forth.

built in handy financial calculator
built in handy financial calculator

There’s also a handy financial calculator you can use to figure out what sort of return you can expect if you invest certain amount of money. For example, if you start with RM 5000 and invest RM 1000 every month (not different from buying a car) with an expected return of just 5%, by the 10th year you’ll have RM 164,164 in your account. Pretty neat isn’t it?

is this a genuine investment?
is this a genuine investment?

Additionally, and perhaps one of the most useful features is one that is aptly named “Is this a genuine investment?”. This section guide you through a series of questions and advise the user if the investment opportunity is genuine or possibly a scam. When anyone approach you for some business opportunity or quick rich schemes, do run it through this.

Outside the lecture hall, there were also games available for students to learn more about investment. It was overall a pretty cool initiative taken by the Securities Commission. I urge you to download the InvestSmart application on your devices, and to check out  www.investsmartsc.my

With all the handy tools available in the InvestSmart App, start investing and start saving the smart and simpler way!