Compounding, diversification, take free money


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Jay Clayton, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Jay Clayton, chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

SEC chief Jay Clayton, who is in charge of protecting American investors, has strong thoughts on what Americans need to do to save for an adequate retirement.

Clayton will appear on CNBC’s “The Exchange” with Kelly Evans and me on Friday at 1 p.m. ET to talk about the SEC’s job to protect American investors, maintain fair, orderly and efficient markets, and what he is doing to help companies going public, particularly in the now red-hot IPO market.

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But Clayton has also taken a far greater interest than his predecessors in prodding America to save more. Why the interest? Clayton sees what all of us see: a potential investment crisis.

He has just released a series of videos, “Notes from the Chairman” where he shares his personal notes for investing.

His first commandment is to get your financial house in order. Understand “what you have, what you owe, and what you spend,” Clayton said. “If you have high interest rate credit, the best investment is getting rid of that.”

Once that happens, it’s time to start investing. He keeps it simple: compounding, diversification and taking the free money.

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