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We started an Investment Club one year ago. --we want to learn to choose our own stocks and make wise long-term-growth purchases. We have been consumed by so much information that we're all fustrated. I need a curriculum for beginners! What do we concentrate on first? We tried NAIC and we have learned alot-I guess, but we need it simplier.


The reason it's not easy is because it's not easy <g>, so you're on the right track. I wouldn't give up on the NAIC too easily - the Stock Selection Guide (SSG) is a great tool for filtering out that mountain of information that overwhelms you and helping you focus on the key elements of a company's performance and its current value.

However, the Stock Selection Guide itself can be a little overwhelming to a self-admitted beginner. NAIC itself recognizes this problem, so they have an easier tool to use called the Stock Check List (SCL). Consider it to be kind of a Stock Selection Guide on training wheels. You might want to start out with the SCL and eventually graduate yourself to the SSG.

One frequent beginner-related problem with the SSG is that you get lost in the minutae of the "how" and forget about the "why" and the "what" of the tool.

In terms of the "what" the SSG (and the SCL) will provide you with that elusive focus that you need by helping you concentrate on two key questions:

1. Is this a good, well-managed company?
2. Can I buy its stock at a good price?

I'd be interested in hearing the details of how you tried NAIC. Is there a regional chapter in your neck of the woods? If there is, that would be a good source of classes on the SSG and other NAIC tools.

There are also some on-line resources that can help you get started. For a good, brief, no-nonsense overview of the SSG, point your web browser to the following page of NAIC's web site:

The NAIC web site also maintains an archive of on-line workshops. There was a 1999 workshop on Office Depot that was geared toward SSG beginners. Point your web browser to:

and scroll down to "Office Depot." The diskette icon means that you can download the SSG datafile used in the workshop, and the magnifying glass icon means that you can view the completed SSG and other illustrations used in the workshop.

The New Jersey chapter has also written a pretty good SSG tutorial. Point your web browser to:

and find "Crawl, Stand, Walk, Run, Sprint - A Stock Selection Guide (SSG) Tutorial."

Finally, there is a relatively new SSG software tool called "NAIC Classic" that provides a lot of support for beginners. Besides being a fully functioning stock analysis tool, it has lots of features that guide you through the process and tutor you. It supports the Stock Check List as well as the Stock Selection Guide. You can download a free demonstration copy from the following address:

Give these a shot and let us know what works, what doesn't work, and don't hesitate to ask more questions.

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