If you want to get into investing and trading, the stock market can seem daunting. You might be tempted by an investment training course to get you started. That’s understandable as we all need to learn how to do important things like invest. However, are these – often highly-priced – courses actually worth it?
There are quite a few seminars and programmes on investing in the UK, often led by trading ‘experts’, which claim to teach you everything you need to know about the stock market and often promise systems that are likely to make you a good return on your investment. The question is, do they deliver, or could you find out the same things for a lot less and in a short time too? Here are five things the providers of these courses don’t want you to know.
1. A lot of the claims are hype
Watch out for the hype. A lot of these programmes make very big claims about what returns you will receive as a result of doing their course and following their system. You certainly shouldn’t take the course on the basis of these claims. There is no guaranteed way to make big money, if there were, everyone would be doing it.
2. Making big money through investing requires a lot of you
Investing successfully takes time, effort, determination and risk. Obviously you’re not going to get rich just because you’ve attended a training course.
Frankly you should meet any company that makes big promises with a healthy suspicion. Most reputable courses will usually only promise to teach you the skills you have come to learn, not make too-good-to-be-true claims.
3. These courses aren’t for everyone
It is also important to remember that how you, as the student, respond to a course will be a determining factor in its usefulness. People learn in different ways so bear that in mind when approaching a course.
Equally ask yourself what it is that you want to achieve from this course. Is it simply to get the basic information you require? If so you might want to consider books and free internet resources before you splash your cash.
If you feel you need a teaching environment and would benefit from being able to ask a professional questions then weigh that up against the cost of the course. Ultimately whether the course is worth it or not will be, to some extent, dependent upon what you need and what you are prepared to pay.
4. There are alternatives to spending big money on a training course
There are many traders who have never attended a training course and who have learnt from free resources and hands-on experience. As we said, if you are just after the basic information and are not particularly in need of consulting a professional directly then you may learn a great deal from free internet resources and books that you can get from the library.
This is not to say there are no value to the courses at all, it depends on how best you will learn and what you want to achieve. Just make sure that if you do go to an investment training course, you research it first, look at what else is on offer and make sure you get your money’s-worth by taking notes and putting into practice what you learn as soon as you get home. Ultimately you will learn properly by doing it!
Free resources –
You don’t have to pay for instruction in stock market investment. Here are some great free resources on trading the stock market.
- Babypips.com – Lots of information to start learning from the ground up.
- Fool.co.uk – An excellent resource to learn about investing.
- Alison.com – A site full of free educational material with a healthy section on investment.
- Moneymagpie free investing guides – a selection of material to help you learn to invest.
Cheap books –
Firstly – and we mean this most sincerely – you should get Jasmine’s investment opus Beat the Banks which is aimed at the complete investment novice. It shows you how to approach investing, what to look out for, how to divide your money into different assets and what are the best types of products to invest in.
When it comes to trading per se, there are LOADS of books on how to trade in individual shares. To start yourself off, take a look at Yahoo Finance’s eleven must read books for beginner traders.
Set up a demo account –
Once you have read up then you can get a free demo account which allows you to trade virtual money and get a proper feel for trading without having to risk any actual money. For example city index offer a free demo account, and FCMX offer a free practice Forex trading account.
5. Several of the investment trading courses have mixed reputations
Whilst the websites of these training courses often have glowing testimonials from happy customers on their websites, you’ll find that the general reaction off site is a lot more mixed.
Many people who have attended some of these courses complain that there is a focus on the hard sale, that the prices are too high for what you get and that they are often aimed at people with some level of investment knowledge.
Here’s a look at five courses offering investment trading:
Knowledge to Action
Knowledge to Action is one of the most well known brands offering investment training courses. Their website says that they are one of the largest international brands providing education in Foreign Exchange and the stock market. The company was founded by Greg Secker, an English trader and entrepreneur.
Who is it aimed at – Knowledge to Action say that their courses are suitable for beginners who are starting from scratch and for intermediates who are looking to deepen their understanding of the stock market and are looking for professional advice.
What’s on offer – There’s a variety of different courses available but the two main programmes are the Traders University Programme and the Ultimate Forex Profits Programme, both of which run for two days. Before you sign up for either of these courses you are required to attend a free seminar.
Cost – The cost of the courses, not on the website, varies, depending on which course you go for, between £2,000 and £13,000.
Reputation – There are many people who say they have benefited massively from attending Knowledge to Action courses. One contributor to a trading forum said he owed his trading career to attending these programmes.
However, many more people who have attended the free seminar said there was too strong a focus on the hard sale. Taking a look at the website and the videos there is the sense that Knowledge to Action are very good sellers, but this does not mean that you will necessarily receive the best training. Others who have taken the course have said that there is often an attempt at an ‘up-sale’ and you are encouraged to attend further, equally pricey courses. It is also worth noting that these courses are considerably more expensive than some other comparable courses.
Importantly you should know that their courses are only really of benefit to people who are already fairly sophisticated investors, not for beginners although they market themselves to beginners and promise huge rewards.
Malcom Pryor, an industry expert, offers teaching about spread betting investments. His courses are the less well known on this list and can be found at Sparkdales.co.uk.
Who is it aimed at – There are a variety of seminars and sessions aimed at people with varying levels of experience.
What is on offer – There are seminars on various topics and also the opportunity for one to one sessions with Malcom himself.
Cost – Seminars cost £395 for a day, £645 for two seminars in the same month and £795 for 3 seminars in the same month. Depending on the number of hours of one to one coaching, prices vary from £999 to £2,099.
Reputation – As it is lesser known there is less on the internet about these courses. However the small amount of buzz there is on the internet does seem to be positive, and the seminars and sessions are cheaper than a lot of the other courses on this list.
Win Investing is an investment trading company which claims to have trained more people to invest than any other company. Win Investing was set up by Darren Winters.
Who is it aimed at – The courses are suitable for beginners and anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of the stock market.
What is on offer – There are a variety of different seminars available depending on what you are after. The Forex master seminar claims it’ll enable you to make £550 to £1,200 a week within days of meeting.
Cost – Prices vary but for the live trading seminar it is £197 plus VAT (instead of the usual price of £2000.) People have gone on to spend a lot more with this company however.
Reputation – As with Knowledge to Action there are people who say they have found the Win Investing courses useful. However the company, and Winters himself, are treated with some distrust by many members on internet trading forums. There is also, again, a feeling that the company gives a hard sale.
A Google search will give some quite revealing accounts of people’s experiences with the company and Daniel Winters. It has also attracted some media attention. In 2008 the company was asked to remove an advert because the Advertising Standards Authority found the claim that people can make a fortune by attending one of these seminars to be misleading. There is also a good account of a Guardian journalist’s experience of one of the free seminars here.
Alan Rich Trading
Alan Rich Trading offers training courses to teach investors about the stock market lead by Alan Rich, who was previously a US trading instructor.
Who is it aimed at – There are a variety of courses, some aimed at beginners and others a little more advanced.
What’s on offer – There is a variety of courses including a Day Trading Course and various beginner courses.
Cost – The majority of the courses are around £695 for a day.
Reputation – Many on the internet have said they have found these courses really useful. Looking at the website there is less hype and fewer big promises, and a stronger focus on just teaching the best trading methods. The courses are also cheaper than some others available. They provide notes and literature to accompany the courses.
Trading College aim to train people with all levels of investing experience and help their students maximise their potential. They say they are a community and that all their courses are designed according to student feedback. It was set up by ex-footballer Lee Sandford, who once trained on a Greg Secker two day course.
Who it aimed at – The trading college says it is for investors of all levels, beginners to advanced investors.
What’s on offer – There are a variety of trading courses on offer including the Pro Trading System training program for beginners. There are online courses as well as day courses you can attend. You can repeat the course for free within six months.
Cost – Prices vary depending on whether you take an online course or choose to attend a course in person, although they do not list the prices on the website. Prices vary from £997 + VAT to £2,497 + VAT for the Pro Trading System training program, with the software included in the price. Monthly membership to their website costs £47 but does give a discount of £500 per course.
Reputation – There is a mixed reaction across the web. There are, again, testimonials from those who have said that the courses have been a good grounding for their investment career. Others, however, have said they felt it had more to do with selling indicators and software than providing great training. One trading forum member said that most of the information could be learnt from the internet. There is also no denying that the price is considerable.
Investment training courses, as you have seen, can be expensive business so do as much research as you can before deciding to attend one. If you attend a course or seminar then keep your wits about you, constantly consider whether what is on offer is worth your money or if you’re just being given a hard sell. Don’t pay out large amounts of cash before you have thoroughly weighed up your options. If you stumble across a course it might be worth signing up to a trading forum, such as the one at Trade2win.com, and asking other investors if they have had any experience of the course. Remember there are a lot of cheaper alternatives to attending a course, so if you choose to go on one make sure it’s worth your time and money.