Course Outline

Introduction to exchange traded funds

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The Basics

Estimated time to complete:   16 hours.

Course description:   This online class is designed for any investor or financial planner who is new to ETFs, or who wants a refresher before taking our more advanced classes. We start at the beginning, as if you are new to ETFs, and then we dig into a lot of detail. Even people who already have some understanding of ETFs should benefit from this course. This course is a mixture of reading online educational material and studying ETFs. Get up to speed on this rapidly growing fund type, and get up to speed on index investing. Not sure if you need this class? Try to pass our free online ETF knowledge exam.

Prerequisites:   A basic knowledge of the stock market and investing is assumed. Other than that, we assume you are new to exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Recommended Way To Take The Class:    It is an online class, which gives you the flexibility to take the class however you can, whenever you can. Our suggestion is to try to find solid blocks of time of at least two or three hours where you can focus on the class. Better yet, set aside an entire day to taking the class, so that you really focus, and "dig in".

To Complete The Course:   As you complete each step of the course, we ask that you mark that step as "complete" in our database. You are done with the course when you have marked all steps as complete. We ask that you pass our online exam with a passing grade of 75% before you can print our completion certificate for the course.

Price:   $100.00

Course Outline

You complete the class by completing 73 steps, organized into sections. It should take you about 16 hours.

Section 1, Stock Market Basics
In this section, we cover a lot of facts about the stock market. You might know some of this material already, but we try to make every article contain at least one or two sets of facts that even experienced investors may not know or remember.
Section 2, Investment Fund Types
This is a review of the different investment fund types in the U.S., with a focus on comparing and contrasting ETFs against the other three major fund types (mutual funds, closed end funds, and hedge funds).
Section 3, Introduction to ETFs
This section starts to dig in to the details about ETFs. The initial focus is "core" ETFs -- i.e. ETFs that invest in the U.S. stock market and track broad market indexes like the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000 Index.
Section 4, Research Tools
This section is designed to introduce you to some of the tools you can use to research ETFs.
Section 5, Global Stock Markets
This section covers introductory material on global stock markets. ETFs make it easy to invest in foreign stock markets. But there is some basic background information about foreign stock markets that everyone should understand. Topics covered include 1) international stock stock exchanges and symbology; 2) what is an ADR? and 3) an overview of China's complex stock market.
Section 6, Global Stocks ETFs
This section covers the largest, most popular global stock ETFs. As part of this section, we will also make sure you understand key global stock indexes.
Section 7, Bond ETFs
This section covers introductory material that all investors should know about the bond markets. The focus is to make sure you understand the affect of changing interest rates on the value of a bond. After that, we have you study some of the largest bond ETFs, with a focus on "core" bond ETFs.
Section 8, Smart beta ETFs
This section is an introduction to smart beta and multi-factor ETFs. We introduce you to the concepts behind smart beta ETFs, and also have you read some of the most famous academic studies about factor investing. We then have you study some of the most popular smart-beta ETFs on the market today.
Section 9, Special Security Types
Special security types are securities traded on U.S. exchanges that are not common stocks: preferred stocks, MLPs, BDCs, closed end funds, mortgage REITs, and convertible bonds. Each of these securities has some unique attributes that investors need to understand. We discuss each security and then also have you study some of the ETFs that buy these special security types.
Section 10, ETFs used for short-term trading
This section covers those ETFs that are primarily used by short-term traders. Specifically, commodity ETFs and leveraged and inverse ETFs.
Section 11, Wrapping up
Final steps - you are almost done. We ask that you take our online test and answer at least 75% of the questions correctly.

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