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Turn Your Club Into a (Fun) Classroom

Host an Outside Expert or Start the Meeting With a Pop Quiz ...

 Douglas  Gerlach Bookmark and Share

As students across the country settle back into school routines, it’s a good time for investment clubs to focus on their own educational efforts.

One of the key objectives of clubs is to help members learn how to invest in the stock market and manage an investment portfolio. Many investment clubs appoint a member or officer to take charge of their educational efforts or provide some educational component at each club meeting.
For those who might be look­ing for ideas for their own club education programs, Better­Invest­ing’s Silicon Valley Chapter provides a helpful list of possible topics on its site at Better­Investing.org. Here are but a few of the suggestions it offers:

•    Invite a local expert to speak at a meeting. Brokers, attorneys, account­ants, in­surance agents, business and finance teachers or pro­fessors, local business owners, and business/financial reporters or bloggers are all possible candidates who are often happy to share their expertise with interested parties.

•    Review some of BetterInvesting’s membership offers. Many times, members aren’t aware of all that BetterInvesting can offer, such as the First Cut stock presentations or investment club Most Active List. The online Stock Selection Guide tools are being enhanced and new features added, but many club members may not be aware of the new functionality, so a new look may benefit many.

•    View a recorded webinar. Both BetterInvesting and ICLUBcentral have extensive archives of educational webinars that might make for good viewing during a meeting if you can hook up a computer to a larger monitor or presentation screen during a meeting.

•    Evaluate the business and investing resources avai­l­able at your local library, both online and off. Some libraries now offer free tools and reports from Value Line and Morningstar to cardholders that can be accessed from their library websites.

•    Test members’ knowledge of the club portfolio. Provide a quiz to see whether members can identify the ticker symbols, industry groups and sectors of all club holdings, and whether they pay dividends.

•    Discuss a favorite website for stock research or portfolio management.

•    Explain key financial lingo. What are terms that members may not have a good understanding of? Give members a pop quiz on financial terminol­ogy they should know.

•    Teach sessions about the basics of financial statement analysis of the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement.

•    Show how to access key filings such as the 10-K and 10-Q from EDGAR on the Securities and Exchange Com­mis­sion website (see Websites of Interest at the end of this article). Demon­strate the basic components of the reports and how the information can be used in your analysis.

•    Develop your club’s own “sniff test.” Discuss what criteria partners could evaluate in 60 seconds to decide whether to sink research time into a stock idea or hot tip.

•    Discuss a financial book or have a member provide a book report of a popular investing title. Outline the key topics covered in the book.

•    Have the treasurer teach a class on the proper steps involved in full or partial member withdrawals, including the advantages of transferring shares of club stock to fully withdrawing members in some cases.

The club’s education program doesn’t have to be rigorous to be helpful to members.
Use your imagination and create fun activities that are useful, inter­esting and add to the overall experience of being in an investment club.
For more ideas on investment education possibilities, see the Silicon Valley Chapter website, which is listed below.

Websites of Interest
Silicon Valley Chapter of BetterInvesting
Securities and Exchange Commission, EDGAR

Douglas is ICLUBcentral's product manager, helping develop the company's programs including Toolkit 6, myICLUB.com, and the Investor Advisory Service. He is also the author of several investing books, including The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Direct Stock Investing, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Investing, The Armchair Millionaire, and Investment Clubs for Dummies.

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