BootCamp: an online course to hone your investing skills

Everyone needs a knowledge refresher now and then. Our new course builds a solid foundation for better returns.
By · 10 Jul 2020
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By ·
10 Jul 2020
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A friend bought a new Tesla recently and took me for a spin. As I buckled my seat belt, he fiddled with the touchscreen, changed a few settings and turned on a hidden performance feature called 'Ludicrous Mode.' 

If you own a Tesla, you may know what happens next. Ludicrous Mode unlocks an extra 35 horsepower. When he pressed the accelerator, the car took off. We must have hit warp-speed; I was on the edge of passing out.  

Key Points

  • Understand the fundamentals of investing

  • Five-module course over four weeks

  • Great for beginners or as a tune-up for experienced investors

The lesson isn't that you should rush to the nearest Tesla and unlock this 'easter egg' - it's that if you want to know what something is truly capable of, it pays to read the manual. 

Investing is a lot like car ownership. Many of us buy our first stock and get caught up in the thrill of it, never sitting down to really understand the basics of investing despite its potential to make a huge difference to our returns. Instead, we learn ad-hoc from friends, forums, or - gulp - bankers, often missing key bits of information.   

There are plenty of investing myths our there: switch to all bonds when you retire; property prices only go up; great companies always make great investments; risk equals reward; gold is the safest asset, etc. The longer you've been investing, the more likely you are to hold at least some out-dated beliefs. 

As doctors, athletes and other professionals know, continuing education is essential to stay up to date with the latest developments, strategies, and new technologies. 

Investing Bootcamp

I’ve been investing for a couple of decades now, so when I sat down this week to review InvestSmart’s new BootCamp course, I didn’t think I would learn much. I expected a refresher, and that’s mostly what I got. But to my surprise, there were plenty of new and useful ideas even for advanced investors. We don’t always know what we don’t know.

The five-module course is designed for beginners and covers the investing basics, such as compound returns, diversification, the difference between active and passive management, and how much money you need to get started.

BootCamp is a good place to begin if you’re new to investing, summarising the essentials in an easy-to-understand format. If you want to give your grandchildren a head start, it could make a great gift.

Learn at your own pace

For the investing veterans out there, you can skip the beginner modules and head straight to the more advanced topics. Here, you’ll learn things like how to properly assess your own risk tolerance and different retirement strategies, such as the ‘bucket approach’. There’s a part on why market timing always fails; what sequencing risk is and how to minimise it; and the only time you should use technical analysis as part of your investment process.

My favourite module – being a psych major – covers 18 cognitive biases that commonly affect investors and simple ways to combat each of them. Nothing trips up good investors like emotions, so this cheat sheet is worth re-reading before major decisions. As Charlie Munger said, ‘All I want to know is where I am going to die so I don’t go there.’

There’s a short quiz at the end of each module, too, so if you think of yourself as an investing master, you’ll have the chance to test your knowledge. You gather points along the way for things like test scores, participation in discussions, and completing study units. I scored 2,414 points – can you top my score? (One clever member already has – well done B. Loh. The score to beat is 3034).

All up, you can complete the course in around 4–6 hours, or you can follow our recommended schedule, which spreads the modules over four weeks.

You don't have to be Warren Buffett to earn good returns in stocks. But to do well, you will need a deep understanding of the fundamentals. No matter what your level of experience, a knowledge refresher never goes astray. At $49, BootCamp is an affordable tune-up.

To enrol or learn more, click here



Module 1 – Investment Planning

Investment Planning Overview

Financial Goals

Time Horizon

Risk Profile

How much to invest?

The Power of Compound Returns

Module 2 – Investment Diversification

Diversification Overview

What are asset classes

Sequencing risk

Different blends of asset classes

Alignment with investment time frame

Rebalancing Your Portfolio

Module 3 – Different Investment Vehicles

Investment Vehicles Overview


Managed Funds


Managed portfolios

Cash & Bonds

Module 4 – Investment Strategies

Investment Strategies Overview

Active vs Passive

Core & Satellite

Value Investing

Technical Analysis


Income Based Strategies

Market Timing

Module 5 – Investor Psychology

Investor Psychology Overview

What holds you back

What tempts you to invest

Biases and their Solutions

Common mistakes


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Graham Witcomb
Graham Witcomb
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