Building on the material in the book and questions from readers over the years, I’ve developed an online course to teach people how to become do-it-yourself investors. Since completing it for the New Year, I’ve had a few questions about what the value of the course is, and if it’s worth the price of admission.
The course focuses on behaviour and processes for success, which is important — it’s not just about introducing the concepts and setting you free, but helping you to understand that investor behaviour is a huge factor, and something a lot of investors get wrong.
Everything is also explained clearly, in plain language — something that was a big selling feature of the book. Some ways of explaining and framing things are unique and are not available outside of the course. There’s also a Q&A section so if anything isn’t clear, you can ask me a question and I’ll answer.
Another point of value that the course delivers is inherent to the format: rather than just text or just a person speaking at the front of a lecture hall, the course uses mixed media: text, video, presentations, spreadsheets, templates, as well as active elements like exercises and quizzes. Not everyone learns the same way, and having variety and different approaches will help keep a student’s focus and improve their ability to learn. The material is also available on your schedule, whenever you need it, so you’ll never miss a line.
Finally, the course represents a huge value in time savings as well as the peace of mind in knowing that I’ve curated the vast amount of material out there for you — so you’ll also know when you can stop reading all the things and reduce the information overload. Some have commented that all the information needed to become an investor is available online or in the library, much of it for free. Yes, many people have figured out how to become successful DIY investors before I created the course, and many will continue to do so without the course. However, at this point there are millions of words written on the subject out there. Canadian Couch Potato alone has roughly 1,000 posts in his archives. And while there’s a ton of great material on that blog, it’s not the only one and it still doesn’t cover everything — you’ll definitely want to peruse the archives of Michael James on Money, Blessed by the Potato, Canadian Capitalist, oh and don’t forget Young & Thrifty, Canadian Portfolio Manager, and many more. Plus there are many magazine articles, newspaper articles, podcasts, whitepapers, and a few books. All told, you’re looking at something like one or two hundred hours of reading and having to determine what to follow because some of that freely available information is now out-of-date or just plain wrong.
For comparison, this course from UofT’s School of Continuing Studies will run you $325 (BTW, I’ll be popping in as a guest speaker for that one), but if you don’t happen to live near Toronto and have Thursday evenings free, you’ll likely appreciate the anytime, anywhere nature of an online course. PWL (Dan Bortolotti and Justin Bender) used to help teach people to be DIYers — a service that also included some personalized planning and the creation of a specific portfolio, so not apples-to-apples — for $2500-5000. Many investment coaches will help teach you from scratch, or answer specific questions to get you over any remaining hurdles after reading about it, but unless you can figure it all out in a single short session, that’s going to cost more than the course, too.
The course is not going to be for everyone, and that’s ok. Some people will figure this stuff out on their own, using books (like the Value of Simple) and other resources, filtering and addressing the conflicting information on their own. Some people are not interested in DIY investing, and will pay someone to handle it for them. For a fair number of people though, I believe the course will provide them with a lot of value in time saved, ease of understanding, and ongoing success. If you’re already successfully investing on your own after reading the book, you likely won’t get a ton of extra value from the course — there’s more detail on taxes and tax shelters, optimizing, and creating processes, but you may not need that. If you haven’t yet read the book and think you’ll need more than just a book to get the confidence to start investing, then you may prefer to start with the course.