An Investment Club Is a Great Learning Experience
by Douglas Gerlach
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Investing by Douglas Gerlach.

There's strength in numbers," as the old saying goes, and that just might be the motto of thousands and thousands of investment clubs now in existence. An investment club is a small group of individuals who pool their money and invest in a single portfolio. Most clubs are formed by groups of friends, neighbors, co-workers, church members, or relatives, who meet once a month and decide how the club will invest their money. Clubs have their own bank and/or brokerage accounts, and elect officers to run the meetings and handle the club's operations.

You don't need a lot of money to be a member of an investment club. Many clubs require their members to contribute just $20 to $50 a month. But when you add up the contributions of a dozen or so members, you can see how clubs can quickly build up a sizeable portfolio.

But the biggest advantage of investment clubs is that they provide a terrific educational opportunity for their members. Most successful clubs don't focus on "making lots of money," but rather on contributing to the investment education of their members. Fortunately, these clubs usually find that profits will follow!

The National Association of Investors Corporation (NAIC) can provide much of the information you need to know about starting your own investment club. Their Web site includes an area all about investment clubs; just click on the "About Clubs" link on the main page of their site.

Another source of information about clubs can be found online at IClubCentral. This site provides a directory of resources about investment clubs from all over the Web. Click on "Articles" to learn more about clubs and how they work, or "Software" to find computer programs that can help your club in its operations or stock analysis.

Another feature of Investment Club Central is its directory of Web sites of investment clubs. While you might think that this listing might be great to find an existing club to join, you should remember that most clubs are close-knit groups and don't always welcome outsiders as members. With that in mind, you can still visit the sites of over one hundred clubs linked here at Investment Club Central to see firsthand how other clubs work. And maybe, just maybe, you'll find a club in your area that might be looking for new members.

Whether you join or start a regular or online investment club, you're sure to find that being a member of a club is a great learning experience!