This class is for those who, before investing, need to learn the fundamentals of how the financial markets and the tax system work. It explains key tax and investing terms, including the very important distinction between investment products and investment accounts or plans. You will learn and use the Rule of 72 to estimate investment growth, and see how small differences in returns can make a big difference over long time periods. You will also be shown how to read stock quotes, and determine the meaning of a mutual fund's Net Asset Value.
In this class, you will learn the fundamental building blocks of a solid savings and investment plan, including the time value of money, the power of compound growth, and the Financial Products Pyramid. You will see what major financial products are available to the average investor, and how they can fit into a balanced portfolio. You will learn other important concepts like diversification, dollar-cost averaging, and asset allocation. Finally, after covering your company's specific 401(k) plan options, the class wraps up with an exercise that will help you think through the asset allocation and investment options within your 401(k) that are right for you.
This class moves beyond the basics, and will help you evaluate how well other types of investments outside of your company's retirement plan might help you achieve the level of financial success you desire. Topics include choosing and monitoring mutual funds, tax-free vs. taxable investing, and important factors to look at when considering whether, and when, you should take the plunge into owning individual stocks. In the stock ownership section, you will see the major factors the "experts" consider when deciding whether to buy or hold on to a particular stock. You will also learn the principal types of buy and sell orders, and how using them properly can protect your financial position.
This class will first help you decide if you are well-suited to be managing your own investments. For many people, a professional financial adviser is a smarter, more comfortable choice -- But choosing the right financial professional can be an intimidating process. You will learn how to navigate the "alphabet soup" of credentials to focus on the really important criteria for evaluating potential advisers, such as qualifications, experience, compensation methods, and "fit." You will also pick up important techniques for monitoring an adviser's performance on an ongoing basis.