Whether you are still in college or starting your career, getting into the markets early is crucial to your financial success. One way to get your feet wet and learn more about investing is to take part in an investment club.
There are two prevalent types of investment clubs that exist today – those that are purely about teaching investment principles and use simulations rather than real money, and those that invest cold hard cash into the markets. Whether it is in a college classroom or with a group of friends or family, a club is a great way to start investing!
An investment club is a group of people who learn about investing and, sometimes, actively invest their money in a pool combined with the other members. Most clubs that invest real money form a legal partnership.
Starting an Investment Club
Members should fill out a partnership agreement (which is available from the non profit organization called National Association of Investors Corporation, or NAIC). A club that uses real money will open a brokerage account and a treasurer for the club will maintain and report tax information to each member. This allows the members to report and pay their portion of the club’s realized gains at the end of each year.
What makes investment clubs better than investing on your own is that investing as part of a club allows you to get different perspectives as you discuss different stocks and why certain stocks appeal to different people. Benefiting from the variety of experiences and knowledge of the group members, you will be a better and more educated investor.< /p>
Being a part of an investment club also allows you to invest a bigger chunk of money in more stocks. Similar to a mini-mutual fund, you can spread out your money and still own a portion of many different stocks. Besides, it is fun!
Being a part of NAIC is often a good way to start because of the specialized services it provides to members and clubs. For a club, it costs $40 plus $14 per member per year for membership, $159 for NAIC Club Accounting Software to keep accurate financial records, and about $30 for a partnership registration through your state.
Investment clubs typically include 12 to 16 members and each person assumes a position in the club. Usually there is a secretary to keep minutes, a president to plan meetings, a vice president to help run the meetings, a treasurer to maintain financial records and buy stocks after they are chosen, and other members responsible for researching and presenting studies on different stocks. Most investment clubs meet monthly to discuss investments, but this can vary.
Virtual Stock Market
Virtual reality investment clubs learn investing fundamentals by simulating actual trades and tracking stocks. It is a great way to learn the ropes without as much risk of losing your hard earned money. MarketWatch’s Virtual Stock Exchange is a great website for performing market simulations.
[Editor note: – you may also want to checkout YOUNG MONEY’s free Fantasy Stock Market Game]
“Although our club does not invest real money, the benefit of learning financial terms, and becoming familiar with the institutions out there gives students a head start when they graduate into the work force,” says Justin Chandler, president of the University of Vermont Investment Club.
“The best advice that I can give to starting an investment club, is just to get a couple of people together that are interested in investment and sit down with the Wall Street Journal,” he says.
There are many things besides investing in stocks that an investment club can do to learn about securities. Inviting investment relations representatives from companies to attend and present at meetings or having brokers come to talk about how their business works are great opportunities to network, and provide a great chance to learn about the industry.
The UVI club learns as they discuss current events in the markets, careers, and prevalent companies as well as taking trips to New York City to visit different brokerage houses. Its basic goals are to teach students to be informed investors, to know what vehicles are available to expand wealth, be aware of various investment aids, and learn how to create and manage an investment portfolio.
You can visit the University of Vermont investment club’s website to learn more about starting your own college club.
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