Discover the Best Investing Classes in Los Angeles
Have you ever heard the term “strike while the iron is hot?” It originated in the investment world and means to take advantage of opportunities when they’re available. If you wait too long, the “hot” opportunities (like purchasing a share in a business) might not be there. It goes along well with the idea of buying low and selling high, which is broadly what investing is all about. The point is to purchase something specifically to create wealth. Although investing in yourself is a popular term, and a good idea, financial investment is different.
There are lots of moving pieces in the financial investment world, but the idea isn’t as complicated as you might think. At its core, investing is the process of buying assets for a low price and watching them increase in value, which is called appreciation. As your assets appreciate, you watch the market and sell them at a higher price, earning a profit. The process of making profit is called realizing capital gains. Investments can be a risky business because your assets will eventually lose value (depreciate). As the investor, you’ll need to decide when to sell the asset before it starts losing value, allowing you to maximize your profit on the sale.
Dividend payments are another standard way people invest. When investors purchase stocks, bonds, and shares and the company pays out part of their profit to the investors.
The four primary types of investing are:
- Stocks and bonds
- Mutual funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)
- Commodities like gold that have value outside of currency
- Real estate and property
What is a stock, though? When companies need capital or “backing” to grow, they often make it possible to purchase stock. When you buy, you’re putting money into the company to fund its operations in exchange for part ownership of the business. The risk with stocks is that because you’re a part owner —even if it’s a tiny part —you win when the company wins and you lose when they fail. Businesses big enough to have stockholders often pay a regular part of their earnings, called dividends, to shareholders.
Bonds are different from stocks, although they’re usually lumped together in conversation. A bond is actually debt. When a company borrows money from an investor, the debt is called a bond. The money the investor puts into a company to purchase a bond, but it’s still the investor’s money and typically gets paid back on a “fixed rate of return.” This simply means the company pays the investor back with interest. Because of the loan-like nature of bonds, they’re considered less risky than other types of investing because of the fixed rate of return.
A mutual fund’s purpose is to gather money to invest in securities (i.e. stocks and bonds) and invest them on behalf of a group of investors. The mutual fund creates a portfolio with the goal of making money for all the investors who purchase a stake in the company. When an individual investor puts money into a mutual fund, they’re entitled to receive a part of the portfolio’s profit. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) work similarly, but are based on the market value rather than a dollar value like mutual funds.
Industries use material goods, like wheat, oil, and precious metals, to function. These goods are called commodities, and the market determines the value. Investors can purchase commodities, which is great when the market highly values them. When there’s a downturn, or the market lowers the value, commodities investors are likely to lose money. It’s a risky way to invest, and many people borrow money to essentially bet on an uncertain future. Not to mention, you have to have a place to store the commodities. It’s an advanced type of investment because there are many more risks and factors to consider, although it can be quite profitable if you gain a good understanding.
When you buy property, homes, and other buildings, it’s called property and real estate investment. A few of the many factors influencing real estate investing include the local government, the economy, the crime statistics, and opportunities for profit.
Any type of property, especially land that includes structures, requires regular upkeep. Sometimes investors want to be active with real estate investing but don’t want to be responsible for the day-to-day maintenance. In this case, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are a good solution. REITs are companies that make investments and keep a profitable portfolio on behalf of a group of investors. All the investor has to do is purchase a share (or multiple) to earn a portion of the REIT’s profit, which usually pays out a higher dividend than other types of stock investment.
Why You Should Learn Investing in Los Angeles
Investing is a smart skill for anyone to develop. Los Angeles is a great place to learn because it’s one of the leading real estate markets in the United States, and a historically competitive real estate market.
LA also has excellent schools and educational institutions. From the famed University of Los Angeles (UCLA) to University of Southern California to California Institute of Technology, there are an abundance of ways and places to get expert-level investing information. There are plenty of places that offer online learning options in the area, too.
When you learn investing, you’re likely to encounter a diverse group of people you probably wouldn’t have otherwise met. This is especially true in LA, where there’s a ton of racial and cultural diversity — more than other places in the US.
In terms of potential new career opportunities, LA has definite potential. With a competitive real estate market, you may have to wait for the right opportunity, but having investment skills will help you create wealth and live a comfortable life, even in a high-cost city.
In-Person Investing Classes in Los Angeles
There are many reputable places around the city to learn about investing in-person in Los Angeles. In the Santa Monica Beach Cities area, General Assembly offers Make Money: Personal Investing 101. You’ll begin by learning about foundational financial principles like compounding interest as well as the risks and rewards of investing. The goal is to make your long-term goals achievable through smart investment decisions. The instructor will share investing dos and don’ts to make sure you’re making smart investment choices.
Santa Monica College hosts a Women & Investing course in the same area. Specifically designed for women of all walks of life, this class will show you how to “improve your current financial picture.” You’ll learn foundational skills like how to choose where to make safe investments that will grow your income, as well as how to allocate your investment portfolio and pick an investment advisor. This 2 ½-course is jam packed with helpful information, including estate and college planning, as well as the economy and stock market.
Investment Planning —Part 1: Financial Planning by West Los Angeles College is on the West Side of the city, too. It’s the first part of Brian Asher’s Investment Planning Workshops which have been popular since the 90s. This introductory course gives an overview of money management and investment goals. As the first installment, it’s the ideal class to take if you decide to only take one class in the series.
Investment Boot Camp for Safe and Profitable Investing by Mt. San Antonio College is on the other side of town in the eastern part of Los Angeles County. This is a hands-on learning experience that will teach you how to make your investments the most profitable and protect them from loss. Get down to the nitty gritty with practical tips on the stock market, interest rates, and the economy while gaining an understanding of how income taxes play into investment income. Oh, and there specific investments you can make that are “tax-favored” —you’ll learn about those in class, too.
Virtual Investing Classes
If you live in LA, or have visited the city before, you probably recall the amount of traffic and chaos involved in the rush hour commutes. The good news is that even if you don’t want to fight your way across the city to an in-person class, you can still learn investing from numerous reputable online investing classes.
There are benefits from learning virtually, aside from the lack of commute:
- Live online classes offer a similar experience with an instructor and peers to interact with during class, and sometimes class replays to refresh the information after class
- Wider variety of specialty topics to pick from, and more advanced options to continue learning
- Can create your own ideal learning space where you can learn comfortably without distractions
You do typically have to provide at least some of your own materials for online classes, but investing doesn’t necessarily require many physical resources. If you’re concerned, you can always contact the instructor or the school to see what you can do to best prepare for class.
Stock Market Investing Fundamentals by NYC Career Centers is a great place for beginners to learn the basics of investing. The online course has the same information as their in-person class in Manhattan, which means you can be confident knowing experts are leading the course. The focus of this fundamentals class is to set you up for long-term success, which often requires additional planning. Learn about strategy during this full-day, in-depth class.
Santa Monica College’s Investment Bootcamp offers a comprehensive approach to investment fundamentals. This may be a good choice if you already know the terminology and basic concepts of investment, or you like a challenge. The instructor will walk through the ins and outs of mutual funds, retirement plans, and annuities. With a focus on practicality, you’ll also learn about tax strategy and what has worked for super successful investors like Peter Drucker. According to the description, this class is a “must-take” if you have a retirement account.
Private Group Investing Classes in Los Angeles
Looking for a team-building or personal development idea for your organization? CourseHorse offers private group investing classes that could be a great option.
Finance Corporate Training provides solid groundwork in the basics of corporate finance. It’s an excellent way to equip yourself and your employees for a financial career. If career changing isn’t the goal, this training can offer valuable insight into how corporate finance works, empowering your employees to make smart decisions with company funds.
This class can accommodate up to 20 people, which is big enough to be able to interact with peers but small enough to get answers when you ask a question. You’ll explore case studies from real-world businesses, current market prices, and how successful businesses make successful investment decisions.
There are several advantages to booking a group experience through CourseHorse:
- No booking fees
- Registration confirmation in 24 hours or less
- Several supported video platforms for class
- Group customization
- Provide vouchers to your group so they can take the class when it’s convenient for them or schedule a time for the whole group
Have questions? Want to chat with someone about what an online investing class could look like for your group? Reach out to CourseHorse via the contact form on their website and someone from the team will be happy to help.