Eric Stasak’s Stock Market Companion website, his “15Minute Market Update” subscription, and his first book, 10 Essential Concepts: How the Stock Market Works, convinced me that it is possible for a novice investor to learn how to invest cautiously and wisely in a relatively short amount of time.
Since I reviewed these products in 2011, Eric has developed those components along with some new ones into a full course that can satisfy credit for a one-semester high school economics course. But this course is not just for high school students. Adults who want to learn about stock market investing should find this one of the most thorough step-by-step processes available, and motivated students as young as age 12 might well be able to master it.
The Global/Business Finance and Stock Investing Course weaves together a number of components.
- The Investor Power Tools Notebook is a three-ring binder that gives you an overview of the program, steps to follow to make the most of the program components (even if you don’t choose to complete it as a course for credit), some sample forms, and complete course outline information including detailed weekly lesson plans for the 18-week course.
- A free 5-month subscription to the “15Minute Market Update” – accessible to the entire household. Subscriptions are normally $49.95 a month, so this alone more than makes up the cost of the course. The subscription also provides access to numerous valuable resources on the Stock Market Companion website such as webinars on current stock market trends, studies of particular stocks, and automated online quizzes.
- 10 Essential Concepts: How the Stock Market Works – an introductory book for understanding the basics
- S.I.M.P.L.E. Stock Investing Method™ Guidebook and S.I.M.P.L.E. Company Analyzer™ Manual – a 113-page book that explains Eric’s method for analyzing and tracking investments. Detailed studies of eBay and Mitek are included as examples.
- S.I.M.P.L.E. Stock Investing Method™ and S.I.M.P.L.E. Company Analyzer™ Workbook – contains reproducible pages of the forms for performing the analysis plus the forms on CD-ROM. The workbook also includes the completed forms for eBay and Mitek that you will need to study as you work through the Guidebook.
- Blank composition book
While I was enthused about Stasak’s products before, this course fills in the previous gaps for better understanding how to analyze companies. The addition of the S.I.M.P.L.E. Guidebook and workbook offers an amazing amount of information with appropriate guidance to help students assimilate it and put it into practice.
Stasak emphasizes the importance of making paper trades rather than actual cash investments while you are learning; he includes the URL for a website where this can be done for free. He also directs learners to other valuable websites (free) for obtaining key financial information about companies, the stock market, and the plans of the Federal Reserve.
If a student should start the course and get overwhelmed, it might be wise to slow down and take more time to assimilate and work with what they have learned thus far. The course is providing financial analytical training that most adults lack, and there is a lot to learn. If students take time to identify and study one or two companies at a time over a longer period of time, they are likely to be much more knowledgeable than if they try to rush through the course too quickly. They should take time to experiment with a number of paper trades to provide a real-world test of what they have learned. Stasak will be offering a free teleconference contact hour every Thursday for those who purchase the course, so this will be a good opportunity to get clarification or explanations if students need it. Students completing this course might well find that they have developed a way to produce income for the rest of their lives, so it is well worth the effort required.
As I mentioned in regard to the Stock Market Companion, this course is ideal for parents and students to complete together if possible. A student completing the course for credit could still work closely with a parent, discussing and investigating investments, and comparing notes as they each maintain their own investment journal. While traditional high school economics courses cover a broader range of material, this course might prove to be a more worthwhile investment of time and energy. Stasak also pointed out to me that after completing this course, students "will also know how to select excellent companies for possible employment and will know which companies to avoid. If the student completes a S.I.M.P.L.E. method analysis on the company before an interview, the student will have a very strong advantage over those who do not know the ins-and-outs of the company, or understand how and where they can help the company be more successful."
Stasak offers an Investor’s Tool Kit for $133.95 for those who would like to learn his methods and practices, WITHOUT the online component and WITHOUT the detailed curriculum package section included in the course Power Tools Notebook. Otherwise, the Investor’s Tool Kit includes all of the other course components listed above. For those who then decide that they would like to learn more online, the Investor’s Tool Kit includes a coupon for 30% off of a month-to-month online subscription. If you end up working with the online component three months or longer, you might as well invest in the full course.