Smart Investing Online Course Meets Investment Challenges for Different Life Stages

AMES, Iowa – Iowans who want to learn to make wise investing decisions should register for Smart Investing, a free online course that begins the week of Jan. 9, 2012.

“While there are common core concepts that all investors need to know, people at different stages in life have different investment goals,” said Iowa State University professor and extension specialist Cynthia Needles Fletcher.

Three different Smart Investing courses will be offered. Classes are free, online and available 24 hours a day, Fletcher said.

  • “Starting Out” targets those who are beginning to invest.
  • “Building Up” targets those in mid-life.
  • “Making It Last” focuses on those nearing or in retirement.

Patricia Swanson, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and state finance specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will teach the courses. Craig Goettsch, director of investor education and securities counsel with the Iowa Securities Bureau, will contribute to online discussions and reply to investor protection questions.

Each course involves four online modules and is tailored to the investment challenges of each age group. Topics include balancing risk, cutting investment costs, choosing an investment adviser and fine-tuning an investment portfolio at each life stage.

“It is our hope that people increase knowledge, learn to set goals and then take action," Fletcher said.

Elaine Newell, Story City, took the course last spring.

“I decided to take the course because it was free, Extension has a good reputation for quality programs and since it was online I could take it at my own pace,” Newell said. “Everyone should think about investing. It’s important to learn the skills this course taught.”

The free Smart Investing program is sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach. The courses were developed with grant support from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation.

To register for a Smart Investing course, visit