EVERYDAY INVESTING: Frequently asked Questions

Many people have that "I don't know" thought when they are considering registering for one or all the modules in the Everyday Investing program. Here are some typical questions that Aman Raina receives about the Everyday Investing program.

What will the Everyday Investing Program teach me?

The Everyday Investing Program will teach you to become a better investor, specifically in the buying and selling of stocks. You will learn the mechanics of investing (e.g. how wealth is created, how to interpret financial information, how to evaluate risk, how to interpret basic economic activity, and how to evaluate a company). Mechanics though is not enough. With these mechanics we will overlay what we consider to be the secret sauce of investing; an enhancement and awareness of the behavioural aspects of investing which often become insurmountable barriers and negatively hinders our success. You’re going to learn all of this and then we will put it all together into a simple framework that will enable you to evaluate stocks more effectively.

Is investing difficult to learn? I’ve always been intimidated by investing. Should I be?

The financial services industry has done a masterful job in making you feel like an incompetent dweeb by throwing out jargon, terminology and bravado that make it look like you have no shred of intelligence and capability of successfully investing your money on your own and that you are better off handing your money to them.

Horse manure.

What attracted me into investing and more specifically what got me more passionate about working with people to make them better investors is my strongest belief that investing at its core is fundamentally easy and can be done by anyone if they are willing to learn not just the mechanics of buying and selling stocks but just as importantly the behavioural side. I believe the investment industry has purposely made buying and selling stocks  more difficult and they have no interest in making it simpler.

Successful investing at its core is about identifying well-run, well-managed businesses that create tangible wealth for its shareholders and are selling at a discount and later selling them when they have achieved their estimated value or a personal return you are seeking for your portfolio. The Everyday Investing program will teach you how to do this and in a way that is not intimidating. The key driver of this Program is making you more aware of financial information cues and behaviours that you come into daily contact and can help you in your decision making but unfortunately quickly goes through one year and out the other.  

People often tell me that what scares them about investing are the mountain of math formulas and calculations involved. The Program was designed in a way to melt away that fear by laying a strong foundation of financial concepts in a simple easy to understand format and then layering some simple, core go-to, easy-to-understand mathematical tools that can help you process that information better. As you complete each module, you will come away with some profound concepts and practices that will be embedded with you forever because you will be grounded in basic investing principles, practices, and behavior

Do you teach day trading? Am I going to learn how to be a day trader?

This is not a day trading program. If you are seeking a trading program, you won’t find it here. Best to move on my friend.

Why are you teaching this? If I knew how to make money, I’d be lounging on the beach?

Lounging on a beach is a definite option, however, I take a great deal of pride and satisfaction when I can help someone become better at doing something. As it pertains to investing, for me there is no greater feeling than seeing someone who did not know much about investing and were intimidated by the whole prospect of it commit themselves to learning and refine their behaviors to over time to become successful at it. They say to teach is to learn twice and every time I teach a module I personally seem to learn something new myself from my students!

What's your track record? Do you make money?

I believe it's one thing to teach people how to invest. It's another thing to model the lessons and behaviours being taught and to walk the talk. One of the core elements of my practice is to be transparent in sharing my own investment decisions and the challenges that I face. It's a big reason why I tweet out in real time every investment decision (#trade2017, #trades2016) so people can see what I am doing and more importantly my thought process behind them. Every month I blog in more detail the investment decisions I make and for the decisions involving buying stocks, I incorporate the 8 questions that I teach people in the Everyday Investing program that they need to answer when they are evaluating stocks. 

I very much believe in practicing what I teach. So where has that got me? Well if you go back to my last 100 investment decisions, which runs back over 8 years, 76 of those 100 decisions were profitable with an average return of approximately 11.5 percent.

I can go on the computer and search for blogs and articles by people who “teach” investing and they’re free. Why would I need to pay for something like your Program?

Absolutely you can just Google “investing in stocks resources” and you can come up with hundreds and thousands of amazing investing resources. I can give you a list of resources to start out. As much as the Internet has made what was once proprietary investment research and education available to the masses, it has created a fair amount of information that even though can in some cases be “free” are often fragmented, not integrated, and frankly noisy and irrelevant. For an individual to reconcile and filter this mountain of information into a cohesive learning platform would require a ridiculous amount of time and effort. It can be done without a doubt. Most people would give up or couldn’t be bothered. Through my practice I have invested that time on your behalf and have prepared a learning program that has done a lot of the dirty work for you and like any well running business, I would expect to be compensated for that time and work effort. The fees associated with the Program are consistent for what you would pay in a University level finance or investing course and in some cases are much cheaper if you choose to take certain modules in the Program.

How much time and effort do I need to put into your program and investing in stocks as a whole?

The 17 hours of course materials in the Everday Investing Program took me 4 years of undergrad business school as well as another 2 years of graduate business school to learn and accumulate, so the easy answer would be you need 17 hours to learn how to invest.

The reality is learning how to buy and sell stocks is short compared to the time required to practice.  I wrote a blog entitled: Why Investing Is Hard: We don’t practice enough where I said,

“People have a hard time with investing because they simply just don’t do it enough. We don’t commit the time to learn and practice the skill. If we’re not engaged in the process, we will not receive meaningful feedback (which is ironic because technology gives us real-time feedback on the progress of our portfolios) and we will be less likely to improve our development. When we do engage in a program with a financial advisor, often our interaction takes place at the start and maybe if we’re lucky once a year, which to me is not enough when we are talking about something so important as your personal finances. That meaningful feedback loop that can keep us engaged is few and far between.”

You need to practice this skill. If you are investing in individual stocks, you will need to commit time to understanding and evaluating companies. At first it can be quite a load, but like anything the more you practice, the better you get. I say this to every potential protégé I meet, you have to commit the time to the cause. The great thing about the Everyday Investing Program is that we have created a framework that can allow you to quickly identify the key go-to-factors of analyzing a company so that you can accurately and quickly evaluate an investment opportunity.

What makes you a smarty pants about investing? What are your qualifications?

I’ve been investing in stocks since 1996. In terms of formal training, I obtained my Bachelor of Commerce degree, with specialization in Finance and Accounting from Carleton University in Ottawa Canada. I completed the Canadian Securities Course which is one of the core certification pre-requisites required to work in the industry. I also obtained my MBA from the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.

My passion for investing was crystallized when I got my first job working at the Toronto Stock Exchange in the time when the trading floor still existed. I was on the floor on that fateful afternoon when Bre-X traded from $10 to 50 cents within milliseconds. Working in that environment, motivated me to elevate my knowledge of investing beyond the Finance textbooks I read in university. Alas, I was disappointed to find a lack of credible and unbiased investment information available, so in the true spirit of an Outlier, I refined and practiced my known skills in programming and financial analysis to develop a database of Canadian investment research using a unique model (Economic Profit). Malcolm Gladwell would be proud.

I founded AKR Capital Research and began providing portfolio managers and individual investors with independent investment research. Over the years, I switched my focus away from institutional clients because frankly, they really don't need any help. They will make their money no matter what happens. The group that I see requiring the most assistance is the average retail investor, who after several stock market meltdowns are now empowering themselves to take control of their portfolios and investments. They are looking for someone to coach them to elevate their financial literacy so they can maneuver and synthesize the mountain of investment information to separate noise from value and leverage this information through analysis to make informed and successful investment decisions. They are not looking for PhD explanations. They are not looking to be talked down and shunned like second-class citizens by financial institutions. I personally have gained much more satisfaction helping these hard working people.

It is within this backdrop and after taking some time off to complete my MBA that I molded AKR Capital Research into Sage Investors, which uniquely specializes in investment coaching and independent portfolio analysis services.

My financial advisor and bank have an open door policy where I can contact them anytime to talk about my investments and I don’t pay anything. Why are you charging a fee for your Premium Bundle?

I’m sorry to have to break this to you that even though you may have never had to pay out of pocket for consultations you have actually been paying your advisor. You just haven’t known this because the financial services industry has buried these fees into your overall service fee. It just hasn’t been itemized.

 One of key features of my coaching practice is that I don’t sell any financial products. I am not compensated by any banks, insurance or mutual fund companies. I get zero commissions, trailer fees, or bonuses. By doing so, I can offer my clients and students registered in the Everyday Investing program true unbiased insights and perspectives that other financial advisory services cannot provide. I am so proud to say that this freedom and independence is the essence of the SageInvestors brand.  What I get paid for is the time I spend teaching, mentoring, developing, and supporting my protégés and is hence the reason why the Premium Bundle package and my Coaching Retainer services carries a premium cost.

How is your program different from other investing seminars? I’ve been to other investing seminars and they turn out to be a total sales job getting me to buy other books and DVD’s.

From my experience with investment seminars, I’ve found them more of a teaser/bait and switch setup where they lure you in with promises of grandeur and show small nuggets of information to get you to buy more nuggets of information via CD/DVD etc only to be given smaller nuggets of information to get you to buy more CD and books. This is wrong. This is not learning.

I’m proud to say that none of our modules in the Everyday Investing series are teasers. You will learn something profound and important in each module. We also don’t waste time with sales schlop and niceties. We get down to business right away even in Module 1 which we have decided to give away for free because we feel so strongly that understanding principles of wealth creation in our society is a ridiculously important first step to making better investment decisions.

With the Everyday Investing Program, you have the option of registering for the entire 8 module program or registering for individual modules. We designed the program this way so that more experienced investors who are looking to improve their knowledge in specialized areas like measuring the intrinsic value of stocks or learning about factors that can influence interest rates can register for those components individually.

The only thing we will encourage you to follow up on is…take other modules in the Program! While the Everyday Investing program enables people to pick and choose relevant modules, it was truly designed so that the learnings of each module build off the learnings of a previous module, so when you reach Module 8, you will have completed a thorough examination and review of core elements and learning principles that make up a thoughtful, successful investment decisions. To max out the training, it is ideal if students completed Modules 1-8 in its entirety. There are no mandatory prerequisites for any of the modules.

I already work with a broker or financial advisor who manages my investment portfolio. Is there any point to taking a course like yours?

With knowledge comes awareness. With awareness comes an ability to be more critical when evaluating how your invest program is progressing With the Everyday Investing program you will be armed with enough financial knowledge that you can go into a meeting with your advisor and ask more pointed and direct questions in regard to the investment strategies being implemented for you. In many cases you may discover that your advisor has invested your hard earned savings in areas that you really have no business being in. You can filter out investment opportunities that you are presented much better. You will be able to speak the language better so you can better process and understand information that the advisor is presenting you. With awareness comes confidence, and when you project confidence to your advisor they will realize they will have to work much harder to keep your business! Conversely if you are seeking a financial advisor, you will be able to better evaluate their financial literacy and competency. The agenda will come back to focus on what is truly important….you!