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ASX resources to help you get started over summer

This article appeared in the January 2013 ASX Investor Update email newsletter. To subscribe to this newsletter please register with the MyASX section or visit the About MyASX page for past editions and more details.

Learn about the range of ASX Investor Education products on offer.

Photo of Tony Hunter By Tony Hunter, Head of Investor Education

Around this time of year the world abounds with good intentions and resolutions. Get fit, tidy stuff up, get organised … the list goes on.

Most resolutions don't make it very far into the New Year, but one thing we have noticed in Investor Education at ASX is that people do act on their resolutions to become better informed about investing.

Every January we get a spike in traffic to our website's education content, the usage of our online courses increases, and more people register for the Sharemarket Game. The relaxed downtime of January is ideal for checking out the range of resources that are all online - and are all free.

The ASX online courses do not require registration and are self-directed, which means you can select the topics you want to cover in your own time and at your own pace.

Mark Twain is reported as saying "If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare".

By this he meant that it takes time and application to refine your communication to something sharp and pithy. In developing the courses we make an effort to write "the shorter letter". The feedback from users is that they find the explanations clear, jargon-free and helpful.

If you are new to the market we suggest you start with the shares course. Even someone completely new will still be OK with this course. For those with more experience but wanting to look at share investing in a bit more detail, there are topics on diversification, dividends and franking credits, plus the basics of fundamental and technical analysis.

For those looking at other investment products, we suggest you try the courses on options, ETFs, interest-rate securities or instalment warrants. They all have a similar format, with succinct text on one side with graphics or learning activities on the other. Regular quizzes and summaries help to reinforce the learning.

The ASX Sharemarket Game will turn 30 years old this year. We now have a couple of generations of players and it is pleasing to hear a ministerial adviser saying, "I remember playing the share game at school."

The Game is a really practical way of getting familiar with the market, and by using live prices all the risks and rewards of actual investing are laid bare. It's only "paper money" so players can familiarise themselves, build confidence and become more aware of the risks.

Some might think that because the Game only runs for 14 weeks it must be all about short-term trading. However, the winners are not necessarily traders and are often buy-and-hold investors, and everyone pays brokerage on their trades (hypothetically).

It is important to remember that to the uninitiated, the sharemarket is quite a foreign beast. It has its own language and rules and many people can find this daunting. The Sharemarket Game is a great way to get a feel for how the market operates and the companies available to invest in, their codes and where to find prices, charts and other research tools.

It is one thing to say you are thinking about investing, but by selecting some shares, putting them in a portfolio and having those prices go up and down, brings the reality of the market home.

We don't say you will become an expert investor by playing the Game but we do think you will have a better understanding of the dynamics of the market, its language and where you can find the sort of information you will need as an investor. It will give you a solid grounding before you take the next step of talking to an adviser.

The next Game starts on February 14 and you can put your name down for registration. We are increasing the number of companies from 108 to 150, so for those coming back for another go there is some more research to be done.

The ASX Investment talk series is particularly popular with investors. On average, 18,000 people view each presentation per month, and the figure is rising rapidly. The podcast version continues to be a top-rater in the business category on iTunes Australia.

Our industry experts cover topics from the introductory to the more advanced. For example, Paul Martin recently explained how people can go about setting up a well-balanced portfolio. Allan Trench explained what to look for and what to look out for with junior miners. Tony Rumble's presentation would appeal to more experienced investors on how commodity ETFs can reduce risk and improve portfolio performance. And, of course, everyone likes to hear about people's preferred shares, so we had two presenters in December discussing their choices for the Christmas stocking. Pretty much something for everyone.

Each presentation goes for around 20 minutes with slides. If you prefer YouTube you can watch them there as well.

So if there is not something there for you, you can't be really trying! Enjoy the summer and get some investor education as well.

About the author

Tony Hunter is head of ASX Investor Education.

The views, opinions or recommendations of the author in this article are solely those of the author and do not in any way reflect the views, opinions, recommendations, of ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691 and its related bodies corporate ("ASX"). ASX makes no representation or warranty with respect to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the content. The content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian financial services licensee before making investment decisions. To the extent permitted by law, ASX excludes all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way including by way of negligence.

© Copyright 2014 ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691. All rights reserved 2014.

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