Investing Unit 10: Investing on Your Own



There is absolutely nothing wrong with going it alone as a beginning investor. Being self-educated reduces your dependence on others for advice. Further, it creates a situation where you can grow in knowledge and confidence as your investments grow in value. To help you educate yourself, we will discuss where to obtain information and how to sort through the extensive material available.

Sources of Information

Beyond this home study course, there are many sources of information for the beginning investor that range from free to quite costly. Here are some places to start:

  • Your local public library investment reference section
  • The World Wide Web—see Unit 9 (Getting Help: Investor Resources)
  • Your local bookstore
  • Newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals
  • Pamphlets, workshops, and other educational materials provided by the Cooperative Extension System (CES), a public-funded, non-formal educational system. County Extension offices are conveniently located in courthouses, post offices, or other government buildings. To find a state or county Extension office, visit the Web site of the federal partner, the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, at click on your state


Sorting Through Information Overload

The toughest thing about personal financial management information, especially investments, is dealing with the mass of information that’s available. How do you sort the good from the bad? How do you find good resources that can guide you in making decisions? How can you avoid the “hard sell” and truly find good consumer information and not a so-called “education resource” that is really marketing a product or service.

Contacting your Cooperative Extension office or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) can put you in touch with unbiased, basic investor information. Signing up for this home study course, and seeing it through completion, is probably the best decision you can make to start you on the road to being an educated investor.

Use caution when using business-sponsored materials. Be sure the resource is solely educational, not designed to blatantly or subliminally sell a product or service. A true educational resource does not contain the business sponsor’s brand name, trademark, related trade names, or corporate identification in the text or illustrations.


In addition, information you can trust needs to be:

  • Complete. Materials may mislead by omission. If you’re not familiar with a subject, it is difficult to tell what has been omitted. It is important, therefore, to refer to several sources, making sure that you consult at least one reference from a source that you know is unbiased, such as the Cooperative Extension System or the SEC.
  • Objective and unbiased. Differing points of view are given.
  • Accurate. Information can be verified easily. Statements mirror established fact.
  • Understandable. Technical terms are used sparingly and are fully defined.