Top 6 topics covered by the best investing courses

Smart investments are critical to wealth accumulation. If you’re hoping to navigate the complex and shifting waters of stocks, bonds, ETFs, annuities, mutual funds, and more, an in-person or online investment course can be a great place to start. In as few as six hours, the best investing courses can wrap your head around all of the fundamentals and set you on the path to investment mastery. 

Our proven courses at FEN package everything you need to know across 65 core topic areas into two accessible sessions. Simply opt for the format that suits you best — a classroom of like-minded peers or a pen and a coffee by your computer at home — and dive in.

Not all financial education opportunities are created equal, however. Before you select a course to help you improve your investment portfolio and succeed at wealth building, make sure it covers the following six essential topics:

1. Life and wealth planning

Investing isn’t only about numbers. It’s about goals. You’re investing to build a lifestyle that empowers you to achieve personal aspirations, enjoy the fruits of your investments, and retire comfortably. The best investing courses will devote time to covering aspects of life and wealth planning such as:

  • Financing your life goals
  • Establishing S.M.A.R.T. financial goals
  • Personal financial statements
  • Managing an annual budget
  • Income vs. wealth accumulation
  • Dual-income family considerations
  • Planning an early retirement

2. Barriers to wealth accumulation

When investing, learning what not to do (or what could get in your way) is just as important as learning how to make a good investment. The wrong approach to taxes, debt, wealth planning, or income management can set you back significantly. Look for in-person or online investment courses that tackle obstacle-related subjects like:

  • The wealth accumulation formula
  • Wealth planning mistakes
  • Debt reduction strategies
  • Inflation trends and purchasing power of money
  • Leveraging the time value of money
  • Overcoming investment fears (opportunity cost)
  • Ordinary income vs long-term capital gains
  • Strategies to save money on taxes
  • Navigating the alternative minimum tax (AMT)

3. Tax-advantaged investment vehicles

You’ll have opportunities to decide between investments that are pre-tax and post-tax, but it doesn’t end there. Certain styles of investments have additional tax advantages, and the results can depend upon how much you contribute, when, and for how long. The best investment courses must address strategies for tax-advantaged investment vehicles, including:

  • Maximizing the value of your paycheck
  • 401(k) and other benefit plans
  • Rollover defined-considerations
  • Traditional vs. Roth IRAs
  • IRA to Roth IRA conversions
  • Health savings vs. flex spending accounts
  • Tax-advantaged annuities
  • Employee stock options
  • Choosing beneficiaries

4. Managing family finances

Investing is a long-term strategy that sometimes feels disconnected from the here and now. However, it will also impact family conversations about everyday finances as you arrange your financial life to better build wealth. To avoid losing sight of what it’s all for, make sure to select a course with a dedicated section for the family financial matters that drive and influence your investments:

  • Discussing money inside the home
  • Raising financially aware children
  • Navigating child tax credit phase-outs
  • Guardian IRAs
  • College funding investment vehicles
  • Protecting your parents from scams
  • Social Security and Medicare
  • Long-term care for parents
  • Estate planning
  • Wills, trusts, and inheritance
  • The probate process

5. Investment strategies

The list of your investment options is long. It will be key to spend some time exploring each of your options as you identify the investments — and the broader strategy — that will best position you to achieve your goals. A high-quality course will cover:

  • Considerations before you invest
  • Cash accounts
  • Stocks and equities
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Index funds
  • Exchange-traded funds
  • Alternative investments
  • Active vs. passive investing
  • Robo advisors and model portfolios
  • Professional investment management

6. Risk management strategies

Finally, let’s not forget about risks. Protecting your investments is essential, and a careful approach must be well-informed about the potential risks and threats to each of the elements of your investment strategy. You’ll want to educate yourself about topics including:

  • Common investment risks
  • Investment risk management
  • Asset allocation
  • Modern portfolio theory
  • Protecting against fraud and financial scams
  • Protecting yourself from cash windfalls
  • Property and casualty insurance
  • Disability income insurance
  • Medical and health insurance
  • Comparing life insurance 

Looking for the best investing courses? FEN is ready to help.

The Financial Educators Network®  offers interactive, two-session wealth management courses that cover all six of these core topic areas. Explore your options with our catalog of in-person and online investment courses taught by highly qualified and licensed financial practitioners, who use real-world examples to illustrate key concepts.

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