Are you thinking about getting involved with stock market investing?
If so, you’ve made a smart choice. Stock market investing is a great way to grow your wealth. If you plan on investing long-term, stocks are great options even when the market is unpredictable or volatile.
However, getting started isn’t quite as easy as you might think. You have to decide whether you want to choose stocks and funds for yourself – or if you’d rather let a brokerage firm or advisor handle the process for you.
And how do you know which decisions make the most sense? If you’re new to stock market investing, you might want to consider taking the Stock Market Investing for Beginners course by John Ducas on Udemy. This free class will acquaint you with the basic terminology and processes behind stock market investing, and it does so in an approachable, easy to follow manner.
What is Stock Market Investing?
Although stock market investing is a topic that’s frequently talked about, and is something you probably have heard mentioned at a backyard barbeque or two, the reality is that very few people actually truly understand what stock market investing is.
To understand stock market investing, you need to know what a stock is. A stock is a portion of a publicly-traded company that you can purchase to become a shareholder. Some of the most publicly traded companies include Apple and Walmart.
As a shareholder, you are part-owner of the company and have certain shareholder rights, like voting power on major issues, ownership, the right to transfer ownership, and entitlement to dividends (arguably the most important part of stock marketing investing).
The more shares you own, the more influence you have in the company – and the more say you get in the decision-making process.
What Kinds of Content Does the Course Cover?
The introduction to the course provides a pretty basic explanation of key vocabulary that will be covered in the course – most importantly, the concept of stocks. The instructor explains in detail what a stock is and why you might want to purchase a stock.
In this section, you’ll cover several core topics, including:
- How is money made with stocks
- Describing a stock
- Types of stocks
- Why do stock prices move?
The section starts out by explaining the concept of capital gains, which is useful not only for stock market investors but also for those involved in real estate and other markets. It also discusses capital gains taxes.
It also explains dividends, the other type of income you can earn from a stock. Dividends are essentially the profits that a company pays to people who own stock in a company.
The instructor gives examples of dividends, using real-life companies like Facebook and AT&T to help solidify your understanding of investment. He also gives recommendations for both older and younger investors (younger investors have time to invest in riskier stocks, while older investors should choose safer bets).
Although this segment is a bit shorter than Stock Market Basics, it goes a bit deeper into stock market investing. You’ll cover topics like The Stock Exchange and the Markets and The IPO Process.
Out of all of these actions in the course, this one was perhaps the least helpful to me on a personal level, but still interesting to move through nonetheless. It covers legendary investors and their strategies for value and growth investing, including Philip Fisher and Warren Buffett.
You’ll also get access to Philip Fisher’s 15-Point Investment Checklist.
Reading a Financial Statement
This next section was my personal favorite. It deals with a concept that is at the core of stock market investing – knowing how to read a financial statement. I’ll admit it – this section wasn’t the most interesting out of everything that Ducas covered, but it was probably the most important.
He breaks things down into easy-to-understand language. Ducas begins by explaining why financial statements are necessary and where to find them (he goes into detail about the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website, for instance).
In this section, Ducas covers everything from the balance sheet to income statements and cash flow statements, too. These three sections are the core portions of your financial statement that you need to be able to understand.
He covers all the core terminology, including assets, liabilities, equity, revenues, expenses, and more.
Investing Strategies was not the longest section in the course, which is something I found a bit disappointing. I would have loved to have seen more information in this segment!
That said, Ducas does provide a good basic overview of investing strategies. He discusses the differences between fundamental and technical analysis as well as how to delve into a company’s financial statements.
Then, he moves on to value investing. Value investing is one of the most popular ways to invest and involves looking for undervalued stocks that are inexpensive compared to what they are actually worth. He emphasizes the importance of investing time in looking for the right stocks, too. Research is important!
Here, he has a quick video in which Buffett addresses questions from Columbia School of Business students. He gives some more details on what you should look for when you are searching for investment opportunities.
Your Next Steps
The final section of the course isn’t so much of a section but more a quick description of what you should do next. To be honest, I found the list of next steps just as helpful as the course itself!
At the end of the course, Ducas recommends taking a link at a real financial report. Here, he links to a link to an actual financial report. He also suggests that users open up a virtual investing account through Investopedia’s stock simulator. This will allow you to get experience in buying and selling various types of stocks over time before you actually start spending real money to do so.
Ducas recommends keeping up with the news, too. This is important if you want to keep up with the world of investing.
The Udemy Course Platform
Udemy offers a ton of benefits to online students. You can learn about virtually anything through this platform, from business to woodworking, computer programming to finance.
For me, Udemy offers the perfect platform for taking a course. You can write down everything you want to remember for later by taking advantage of the built-in notes app on the website. You can pause and rewind any section of the course, too, so you can replay sections that might be a bit confusing.
Now, it is important to note that I took the free version of the course. For many courses, Udemy offers both free and paid versions. The free version comes with only the online video content. You do not get a certificate of completion, an instructor question and answer section, or an instructor direct message feature.
These are all options that are included with paid courses. While a certificate of completion really isn’t necessary (the certificate won’t do much for you professionally, nor will it help you invest in higher-yielding stocks!) but the instructor interaction would be extremely helpful.
If you decide to take paid Udemy courses, it’s important to note that all of them come with a 30-day money-back guarantee. That way, if the class doesn’t work out for you, you aren’t out all that money.
Related reading: Udemy Review – Is Udemy Worth It?
Major Benefits of Taking This Course
Instruction from a Notable Figure
This course is taught by John Ducas, an entrepreneur and investor who is – get this – only 22 years old. Believe it or not, Ducas rose to prominence when he was just a teenager. He is originally from New York City but resides in Europe with his family. When he was just nine years old, he began investing with play money via Marketwatch.
When Ducas was just 13 years old, his parents gave him 3,000 euros to invest. He eventually opened a trading account with an online broker and at just fifteen years old, he founded Ducas Capital, a company that publishes financial research online. He currently serves over 110 clients and is a member of a global community of young entrepreneurs and investors.
As you might expect, Ducas has been listed as one of Business Insider’s most powerful people in finance and he is also one of the youngest-ever contributors to The Huffington Post.
Stock Market Investing for Beginners is John Ducas’ only course on Udemy. Despite that, he has an instructor rating of 4.4 along with more than 22,400 reviews. This class has been taken by more than 247,000 students to date, so you can rest assured that Ducas knows what he’s talking about.
Designed for People Who Are New to Investing
I like this course because it’s broken down into easy to follow terms. The instructor uses helpful diagrams and real-life examples to illustrate stock marketing investing for newbies. I’ve tried to get into stock market investing before and struggled because the lingo and terms proved to be confusing. That’s not the case with this course.
The instructor also uses real companies in his explanations, so it’s easy to visualize the terms. Apple is one company he references frequently, as well as Facebook and AT&T.
This course is just one of dozens on Udemy that are absolutely free to take. You do have to sign up for an account, but you don’t have to subscribe to emails or provide a credit card or payment information of any kind. That’s a great feature, especially when you consider that many online course websites offer “free” classes but really, you’re only getting a free trial that entitles you to view just a small portion of a class.
One of the nicest features about taking this course on Udemy (as well as all Udemy courses, I might add) is that there is practically unlimited device compatibility. I took most of the class on my desktop computer, but you can also take it on a smartphone or tablet.
Udemy is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems. There is also a Udemy app you can install. Personally, I like using the app when I’m taking classes on my phone, because it loads more quickly and offers better navigation features than you would get if you were taking a course through your browser.
The audio quality is excellent and easy to follow. Plus, even when you’re taking this course on a smartphone (and therefore have a smaller screen to look at), you won’t have to worry about not being able to see what’s going on. The picture quality is superb, even when the instructor pulls out smaller diagrams or drawings for you to examine.
Of course, I have never taken this course before, so I can’t cite specific examples regarding updates that have been carried out for the course.
However, according to Udemy, this class is frequently updated. Ducas does a great job of returning to the content to make it timely, as well as adding extra features that can help you learn. He listens to the feedback that students have submitted in the review.
For example, each lecture now comes with subtitles, and all lectures can be downloaded to your computer and viewed offline. He’s added additional information to the course, too, such as information on the Initial Public Offering.
Access to Other Resources
Ducas also provides students with access to other resources that can help you learn and get a better understanding of stock market investing.
For example, he references Investopedia and provides an external link to this site. As the largest financial encyclopedia, it is helpful in learning more about stock market investing. He links to his own articles, too, so you can read more about his tips and strategies.
He also provides ways for his students to reach him, both through Twitter @realJohnDucas and through the question section in the course.
Helpful Videos and Illustrations
If you’re a visual learner, you’ll love how this course is set up. The videos and illustrations walk you through every aspect of stock market investing, which is super helpful when you are first getting started.
At the end of each section, you’ll find a helpful quiz that rehashes the information discussed in the segment. Of course, you don’t actually “get” anything if you pass the quiz. You don’t have to succeed on the quiz in order to move on to the next section.
I liked the quizzes, though, because it provided a nice capstone at the end of each section. Not only that, but it made it easier for me to comprehend the material. If you get a quiz question wrong, you will be redirected to where you can find the correct answer in the course section.
This course is Ducas’ only class on Udemy. However, there are plenty of other classes about stock market investing that you can take. Some of these are also free, while others are paid. Some of the most helpful I found include:
- Investing in Stocks: The Complete Course ($18.99)
- Ultimate Stock Market Investing: Learn How to Value Stocks ($13.99)
- Beginner’s Guide to Investing in Asian Stock Markets (free)
- Online INvesting Fundamentals: Understanding Core Principles (free)
Complaints About the Course
I live in the United States, so for me, the course approach was perfect. It was helpful to learn about some of the biggest and most prominent US stocks. However, I could see how that would be a bit frustrating if you were not in the United States and wanted to learn more about stock market investing from a global perspective. Some students commented on this in their reviews, too.
No Opportunities for Practice or Future Steps
Although the course does include quizzes at the end of each section, there really isn’t a way to practice this in real life with help from the instructor. That is, unfortunately, true of many Udemy courses. It is frustrating, but certainly not a dealbreaker. It’s just something to keep in mind if you tend to be a more hands-on learner.
Another feature that would be wonderfully helpful is more detail on the steps of investment. For example, learning more about how to set up a trading account, how to invest for a lesser price, and so on would be helpful when you are first getting started with stock market investing. I suppose this is something that could be pursued in a more advanced course, though.
Too Much Time on Legendary Investors
I felt like I really had my momentum going while taking this class – until I got to the section about legendary investors. This really could have been a section that was touched upon briefly rather than explained in detail. Ducas gives thorough biographies of the investors, which I could have done without.
In fact, I would have loved the section on the Stock Exchange and the Markets to be longer, and this section (which is a whopping 28 minutes long) to be a bit less thorough. For most investors, I don’t think it’s quite as relevant or as important as some of the others.
Jumps in Too Quickly
Although the first section of the course is named, “Introductory Course,” I wasn’t overly fond of how it was structured. The instructor jumps right into explaining what a stock is without any kind of preamble on what the course will cover.
I’ve taken courses with Udemy before in which the instructor spent too much time hashing out the structure and details of the course. However, this one was just a little too choppy, as I felt like I had missed something at the start of the course.
Not Very Personable
The instructor is incredibly knowledgeable and clearly knows his stuff. However, the content in this course is dry, and it would have been nice for the instructor to be a bit more personable and humorous in his approach to delivering instruction. I felt like I was being read to by a computer instead of learning from a real-life instructor.
Just as Ducas wastes no time in jumping into the content, he doesn’t really spare much energy when it comes to the closure, either. The course ends abruptly as soon as the value investing section is over. I had to look at my screen a few times to make sure I wasn’t missing something, since there was no video or verbal wrap-up.
Of course, at the end of the class, you are encouraged to check out the list of next steps. These are written instead of spoken, and while they are incredibly helpful (something I mentioned above), it would be nice to have a formal end to the class, however brief, just to sum things up.
Who is the Stock Market Investing for Beginners Course on Udemy Best For?
Ultimately, this class is perfect for students who are new to stock market investing and to finance and investment in general. It is well-organized and provides the learner with lots of entry-level instruction on the key terms and basic concepts around stock market investing.
Going into this class, I did have a basic, elementary level of finance – I actually didn’t realize how much I already knew until I started the class! It was a bit too simplified for me, and were I to do it all over again, I probably would have chosen a course that was a bit more complex. Much of this was reviewed.
That said, this would be a wonderful course to take if you were absolutely new to the world of investing. It is delivered in simple language and goes at a relatively smooth, slow pace so you don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed (and it helps that you can rewind and replay sections if desired, too). It struck me, as I was taking the class, that even a high school student could follow the class without too many problems.
If you’re new to investing, this is quite a helpful introductory course. It only takes about an hour and a half – why not listen to it on your commute to work? It’s a great use of your time.