Our History of Helping Stock Investors

The dreams began in Detroit — 600 miles from Wall Street.  Dreams of buying a small business, of demystifying investing, of building a nation of successful long-term investors.  All it took was a few individuals to invest small amounts regularly, to follow commonsense investing practices, to maintain an unshakable faith in those principles, and a resolve to help people learn to build a strong financial foundation for themselves and their families.  BetterInvesting was borne out of that conviction.

Bringing Investment Education to Main Street

BetterInvesting's roots go back to 1940, when Fred Russell, fresh out of college, was trying to save enough money to start his own business.  He and several fellows, Tom O’Hara among them, organized the Mutual Investment Club of Detroit to learn about stock investing.  Their friend George Nicholson, a Harvard-educated analyst who believed that anyone can build wealth by practicing fundamental investing, coached the club and taught them the stock analysis approach and investing principles that became the hallmark of BetterInvesting.  As a nonprofit association, BetterInvesting makes its investment education accessible to all people. 

Main Street Investors Organize

Nicholson mentored two other clubs in the Detroit area. After 10 years of investing success, these three clubs decided that all Americans should have the chance to do the same.  Again, George guided the clubs to form the National Association of Investment Clubs (NAIC) in 1951.  From the start NAIC was dedicated to teaching others commonsense investing and encouraging them to follow these principles. Tom O’Hara was the passionate and dedicated leader of NAIC, driving coast-to-coast handing out pamphlets from the back of the family station wagon!  Within two years, more than 100 investment clubs and 1,500 people had joined NAIC. By the end of the decade, nine chapters were established by clubs eager to bring NAIC principles to life in their communities.

Advancing Investor Education

Through the years, NAIC investment clubs, chapters and membership continued to grow. In 1960 in an effort to help individual investors worldwide, George Nicholson and the NAIC helped to found the World Federation of Investment Clubs (WFIC), an organization that still operates today. The NAIC flagship magazine BetterInvesting,  published since 1951, is still known today for its educational articles on our investing approach, investment club operations and stocks to study.  

As men and women discovered investing success with NAIC, they enthusiastically shared their expertise and passion by teaching our stock analysis methodology to others. The Beardstown Ladies, an Illinois investment club formed in 1983,  opened their meetings up to visitors and filled the room. The Ladies published their "Common Sense Investment Guide" and became national sensations, educating millions about our principles for long-term investing.  

Supporting Individual Investors Today

Today NAIC is known as BetterInvesting, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit association that remains dedicated to helping individuals and investment clubs learn and practice our fundamental approach to stock investing. Passionate volunteers, who follow our principles and practice the SSG, teach our educational programs. The SSG is available online 24/7, making it even easier to study and invest in stocks. 

We produce our own national and local learning events, speak at national investing conferences, and appear in national media. The Beardstown Ladies, whose members today are descendants of the original members, regularly appear on national cable news, radio or press as real-time representatives of America’s Main Street investors, as do other BetterInvesting members. 

We are looking out for individual investors, too. The BetterInvesting Board of Directors responds to SEC and other government agency requests for comments on pending regulatory proposals, ensuring that government officials understand the potential impact of proposed regulation on individual investors.  

From the beginning, BetterInvesting has helped individuals learn to build their wealth through stock investing, and we remain committed to pursuing this mission into the future.  

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