The American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) is one of the most unique organizations in the finance world. That’s because unlike many other organizations they are a non-profit company, meaning they don’t have perverse incentives of growth. Their main objective is to help individual investors reach their financial goals, regardless of what they may be.
Being non-profit does not mean that they do not charge for membership, they do. However, when compared to the numerous for-profit companies in the finance space they are very affordable for what they offer.
The offerings AAII includes are a model portfolio, a month-to-month journal, live online classes, and more, AAII gives extraordinary value for money in the educational space for investors wanting to learn. Their materials and resources could be a great asset to you regardless of if you’re new to investing or an established one with a large portfolio.
In this article we’ll review some of the company’s key advantages and disadvantages. If you’re interested in a more in-depth review, you can check out this American Association of Individual Investors review.
How Does AAII Work?
Signing up is easy, and the company offers 6 different memberships that come with different resources. For instance, longer-term subscriptions come with a free copy of A Lifetime Strategy for Investing, by AAII founder James Cloonan. It markets itself as comprehensive and sensible guide to long term investing.
You will also have access to the AAII platform, which contains numerous useful tools and resources, once you sign up and depending on your subscription tier.
AAII is generally simple to operate. It even has a client manual to assist with figuring out how to utilize the various segments of the site and tools which is great if you’re just starting out in investing.
How Much Does It Cost?
AAII offers 6 basic types of subscription.
- 1-Year Membership for $29
- 4-Year Membership for $99
- Lifetime Membership for $390
- A+ Investor 1-Year Membership for $149
- A+ Investor 2-Year Membership for $259
- A+ Investor 3-Year Membership for $299
You can also opt to upgrade your membership to a Platinum membership which unlocks everything on the platform. That’s important to note because even a A+ membership for 3-years will still have to pay extra for certain features of the site. Making the cost gradually increase per level of insight you might want to gather.
What Features Do Basic Accounts Get?
Basic accounts with AAII offer three main features covered below.
AAII’s educational resources really shine because the organization was founded with the sole purpose of providing investment education to all Americans regardless of income. They provide a staggering amount of educational resources, including live webinars and seminars, courses, guides, the AAII Journal (a monthly magazine), and a great deal more, all for relatively low membership fees when comparing it to other for-profit finance companies.
AAII members of all tiers can also access a good “shadow” portfolio that has consistently outperformed the S&P 500. Individuals can set up their own portfolios to copy or Utilize AAII’s portfolio. However, a major caveat here is that these are all long-term positions that pick industry leading stocks mostly. That means if you’re looking for high growth potential stocks their picks might not suit your goals.
AAII offers a variety of modular memberships that can be purchased independently or added to an existing membership. Unless you upgrade to platinum in which case, you’ll get all the modules available immediately. AAII stands out from many of its for-profit competitors thanks to this flexibility.
What Does A+ Get Me?
The main feature that separates A+ memberships apart from the basic membership is their portfolio analyzer. The analyzer gives real-time insights into your portfolio, such as how well-diversified it is and which stocks you might want to consider buying or selling to rebalance it. This real-time feature is in reality what makes A+ membership so expensive, as it allows for faster actioning.
However, note that this is faster actioning rather than immediate, as AAII does not offer a real-time way in which to work with the markets. They are exclusively a tool for gaining a better understanding of them.
Should I Get an AAII membership?
Like any financial decision especially related to investing it’s a highly personal choice. However, the platform has some key benefits. The two most important benefits being the low cost to entry and the shadow portfolio, especially if you’re looking for a way to invest but do so passively.
On the other hand, the platform does have some disadvantages like the inability to action things live and the potential cost if you need to access all their modules. It still might be more economical than some for-profit companies, however, it does lack some enablement.
If you’re interested in finding out about more about the platform you can click this link.
Or if you’re curious about some for-profit options you can check out this article about the 5 best stock screeners.