Earning the “Certified Individual Investor” Designation
Note that the NAOI Individual Investor Certification Program is currently being revised to include the latest innovations to the investing process developed by the NAOI Research Division. The changes relate to the development of Dynamic Investment Theory and the revolutionary new investment type they create called Dynamic Investments. Join the NAOI Updates Email List at the bottom of this page to be alerted when the revised Certification Program is released.
The Goal: Investor Empowerment
The world of investing today is a field of endeavor that is so complex that individuals with money to invest have little chance of successfully navigating it on their own. As a result, most people see little option but to entrust their wealth and financial futures to professional advisors, who are also salespeople, and to simply accept the investment recommendations given to them without question.
This results in far too many people today holding portfolios that produce returns that are too low with risk that is too high and expenses that are excessive. In addition these portfolios are dangerously vulnerable to market crashes such as the one that occurred in 2008 when millions of people lost a significant portion of their life-savings. This state of affairs is unacceptable and needs to end. And it does with the release of the NAOI Individual Investor Certification Program discussed on this Web page.
The Problems with Investing Today
Based on 20+ years of teaching personal investing and evaluating input from our students, the NAOI has identified two major problems with the way investing works today. They are as follows:
First, individuals are dangerously under-educated in how investing works. Nowhere in school, at any level, have they been offered an objective, comprehensive and academically rigorous course in personal investing. As a result. people with money to invest are forced to seek education from advisors, who also are salespeople, and simply accept what they are given without question. This is a problem
Second, the investing industry today uses portfolio design methods that are outdated. The approach in universal use today is called Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) that was first introduced in 1952! Markets have evolved significantly since then while MPT has barely changed at all. MPT creates "static", buy-and-hold portfolios to try to cope with today's "dynamic" markets and they don't work in modern markets This is a problem.
These problems are major roadblocks to successful investing today. Yet the financial services industry shows few signs of attempting to fix either of them. The NAOI has fixed both of them with the "Individual Investor Certification Program" discussed next.
The NAOI Individual Investor Certification Program
Based on a firm grasp of the problems that individual investors face today, the NAOI has created a comprehensive solution for fixing them. The solution comes in the form of the the NAOI Individual Investor Certification Program (hereafter referred to as "The Program"). From our extensive experience of working with the investing public we know what individuals need to become successful and confident investors; capable of taking more personal control of their wealth. Based on this knowledge we have created The Program to include the following components.
Objective and Comprehensive Investor Education - The Program represents the personal investing education course that should be offered to students in every institution of higher learning in the nation but is not. It starts by teaching investing basics and financial planning. Then it shows students how to find, analyze and trade equities in order to build a portfolio of investments designed to grow and protect their savings in a manner that meets their investing goals.
Innovation - The financial services industry today offers only one portfolio design approach. It is called Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). As discussed above in the "Problems" section of this page, MPT is dangerously outdated. The Program offers an alternative approach to MPT called Dynamic Investment Theory (DIT). Developed by the NAOI based on a 5+ year research effort, this revolutionary approach to portfolio design creates "dynamic" portfolios that thrive in modern markets. True empowerment requires both education AND innovation. Both are provided in The Program and only the NAOI is able to do so.
Action Resources - Education is of little use unless it can be transformed into action. Each Course in The Program contains links to online resources that enable students to transform knowledge into effective action. The links are provided online where they can be refreshed as needed.
These three components are combined in The Program to provide students with a total investor empowerment solution. This is why The Program is unique in the market today and without competition.
The Individual Investor Certification Program Courses
Note: In this section I speak directly to potential students of The Program using second person voice.
The Program begins by teaching you the basics of investing. We make no assumptions about your previous prior experience in the investing arena. We then build your knowledge and resources gradually until at the end of The Program you will probably know more about investing than many professional advisors. Then you will have choices. Some of you will want to continue using advisors, but you will be able to do so more effectively by being able to analyze and challenge their recommendations. Others will want to invest on your own using an online broker. As a Program graduate, you will know how. And still others will want to do both. The Program gives you the power; you decide how to use it. Below are the Books and Courses that make up the total Individual Investor Certification Program and what you will learn in each.
Course 1 - Investing Basics and Creating Your Unique Financial Plan
Course 1 gives you a solid foundation of investing knowledge along with online resources that enable you to document your financial profile. The two parts of this course are as follows:
Planning. Here you will use NAOI online calculators and worksheets to analyze and document your financial profile and investing goals. This will include determining your net worth, your cash flow, your disposable income, how much money you can devote to the investing process and more. You will also define your financial goals and understand what is needed from your investing activities to meet them. You cannot invest successfully without working through this simple self-evaluation process.
Investing Basics. This section gives you a firm foundation of basic investing knowledge. We assume nothing; so we teach what you need to know about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and the new NAOI Dynamic Investments (DIs). In addition, we show you how to select an investment advisor, if you choose to use one, and also how to invest using an online broker if your prefer to take total personal control of your investing activities. We also give to you Web site links that enable you to read about and understand what the equity markets are doing and why.
When you graduate from this course you will have the basic knowledge and resources needed to start, or restart, a successful investing career. Without these components of investor empowerment you are NOT ready to invest, even if you use an advisor. But this is just the start of total investor empowerment. Your growing ability to invest with success continues with Course 2.
Course 2 - How to Successfully Invest In Equities
This Course shows you step-by-step how to use online resources to find promising investment candidates and then how to analyze them using both Fundamental and Technical analysis methods. As a graduate of this course you will NEVER again buy a stock, bond, ETF or mutual fund based solely on the recommendation of a third party. The analysis process you learn here is quick and easy - but essential for successful investing. Examples are given for each step of the process along with Web links for finding the data you need.
For people who work with investment advisors you MUST perform this analysis on any recommendation you are given. Never assume that it is the best advice/investment possible. Your analysis may lead to a better equity than the one recommended and, if so, you must ask your advisor to justify his or her selections. Here is where you eliminate sales-bias and even, in very rare instances, fraud and scams. The first time that you challenge your advisor with facts and comparisons, he/she will realize that you are a client not to be messed with.
If you are investing on their own, the analysis methods and resources you learn here will enable you to make smart trading decisions. When your analysis tells you to purchase an investment, the course material then shows you how to buy it using an online broker and how to protect your purchase from catastrophic loss using Stop-Loss orders. Examples of the online buy/sell process are shown, along with Web links, for this purpose.
As a graduate of this course you will no longer simply buy investments based on the recommendations of third parties. YOU will be in control, whether you work with an advisor or work on your own using an online broker, and your confidence will grow.
Course 3 - Designing and Managing Your Investment Portfolio
Of course you will not simply invest in single equities in isolation. You will have a strategy for combining them in a portfolio structure that meets your investing goals. In this Course you will learn two basic approaches to portfolio design.
First, the course will teach you about Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT). This portfolio design approach, introduced to the market in 1952, creates asset-allocation portfolios that match your risk tolerance. Then you simply buy-and-hold for the long-term. This is the universal approach used by the financial services industry today so you need to know how it works.
Second, the course will teach you about Dynamic Investment Theory (DIT). This approach was created by the NAOI and released in 2017 to provide an updated approach to portfolio design, one created specifically to thrive in today's volatile markets. DIT creates portfolios that are dynamic and "market-sensitive"; capable of automatically changing the ETFs they hold to take advantage of equities that are trending up in price while avoiding those that are trending down. DIT portfolios have been shown to produce returns that MPT portfolios can't touch, with less risk and no active management required. You will learn the details of how DIT works in this course.
As a third option, you will learn how to build DIT / MPT "hybrid" portfolios that use elements of each methodology. This is the approach that most NAOI students use and the one recommended by the NAOI. But we will give you the pros and cons of each and leave the final decision to you. You will have all of the information needed to decide which fits your needs the best. Once you have defined your portfolio structure, we then show you how to implement and manage it on an ongoing basis; again using examples and Web link resources. You MUST understand this information to be successful, whether you work on you own or with an advisor.
As a graduate of this course you will be capable of putting in place a portfolio designed to meet the investing goals that you defined in Course 1. And you will be using innovative methods that greatly simplify the investing process and that give you a significant advantage in today's investing world!
Testing and the Value of NAOI Individual Investor Certification
Each course will have associated with it an online test with pass/fail standards. You must pass all tests to earn NAOI Certified Individual Investor status. But it is not an all-or-nothing proposition as are most tests for professional certifications. Your goal is to learn, not to meet a third-party's standards of retention. If you don't pass a test, you will be allowed to retake it until you do. When you have passed all tests you will be awarded with the Certification Diploma shown at right.
What does the NAOI Certification mean? It is proof that you have learned an important life-skill - namely the art and science of personal investing. It means that you have the knowledge and resources to make informed investing decisions and that you are capable of taking personal control of your financial future whether you use an advisor or invest on your own. This is a MAJOR accomplishment and with NAOI Certification you have the self-satisfaction of knowing that you have earned it.
Will the Diploma help you to get a job in the financial industry? The piece of paper, by itself, will not. But the knowledge and investing skills that you have gained in order to earn this Certification most certainly will. The NAOI will supply you with a description of what is required to receive this diploma that you can attach to a resume if you like. It may just be the difference needed to beat out your competitors for that job.
Why the NAOI Is Uniquely Qualified to Offer this Program
What makes the NAOI qualified to offer Individual Investor Certification? Here are just a few reasons.
The National Association of Investors (NAOI) has been teaching individual investing for over 20 years via our books, online courses and college classes. We have taught thousands of people how to invest. But our students have taught us as well.
We are constantly soliciting and analyzing input from NAOI students related to problems they encounter when interacting with the world of investing. As a result, we know the obstacles that the investing public faces and what knowledge and tools they need to become confident, successful investors. The NAOI Individual Investor Certification Program is designed based on input that comes directly from our target market for The Program.
In addition, NAOI President, Leland Hevner, who designed The Program, has been on the other side of the fence as a Certified Investment Advisor. He is acutely aware of how the investment "sales-machine" works and he knows the education and resources that individuals need to work and deal with it. He designed The Program with these factors in mind.
Education + Innovation = Investor Empowerment
Another very important reason why the NAOI is uniquely qualified to create and offer The Program is that we have a Research and Development Division that provides innovation to complement and enhance our education products.
In 2009 when markets crashed and individual portfolios crashed with it, the NAOI clearly saw that the MPT portfolio design methods used by virtually all advisors today are dangerously outdated. We saw that MPT, an approach that was introduced in 1952, could not cope with today's more volatile - and dangerous - markets. Seeing this, the NAOI initiated a research effort to supplement or replace MPT. Following 5+ years of R&D we found it in the form of Dynamic Investment Theory (DIT), a simple approach to investing that creates portfolios that are "market-sensitive" and far more profitable and less risky than today's static MPT portfolios. The NAOI has incorporated DIT methods in The Program courses. No other organization is equipped to teach students this superior approach to investing.
Filling a Major Gap in the World of Academia
Successful investing is a critical skill that affects the quality of life of virtually every individual in America. Yet it is strangely ignored in academia today. The NAOI Individual Investor Certification Program is the investor education course of study that should be offered in every institution of higher learning in the country, but isn't. Perhaps in the future, in conjunction with the NAOI, it will be. But for now, the Education / Empowerment Program needed to master this critical life-skill is only available from the NAOI.
As an NAOI Certified Individual Investor you will have the power to take more personal control of your investments and thus your financial security. And you just may find that investing is not only simpler than you thought but fun as well.