Notes on the Investor Education Business

February 26th, 2015 by Potato

It’s buried in the blogroll on the sidebar, but for a few years now I’ve offered consultation services for personal finance/investing matters over at Robertson Investment Services. I mention this now because of this recent article pointing that out, yet people landing here might not see that little wee link and be confused as to how I made it into that list. So hello and welcome — that is a thing that I do.

Deciding what to call my particular services was a bit of a challenge — I’m not a licensed salesperson or CFP, and I don’t really do a whole lot of detailed planning. “Coaching” kind of fits, but I have not aimed to get recurring coaching clients — I’ve specialized in a niche of helping people become do-it-yourself investors. Most of my clients just need one or two sessions to bounce some ideas off someone who’s well-read on the subject, trouble-shoot some nitty-gritty issues, and get over the hurdles of brokerage systems and spreadsheets to fly on their own. Given that I started as I was finishing my doctorate and had a long series of conversations on the meaning of that (to teach), I settled on “educator” and named the business accordingly1.

After working with a few clients over the years I thought I had figured out some of the most common issues and barriers, and set out to address those in the Value of Simple.

I was conversing with Ellen Roseman about it back in November, and said that I had hopefully made myself obsolete with the book — with only a few exceptions, most of my clients’ concerns have focused on the material in there. Ellen had a great response: “In my view, you never get obsolete if you offer a valuable service people don’t get elsewhere.” I figured I could help more people with a book hitting a wide audience than sitting down with people one at a time — I actually expected client flow to stop after the book came out as it could answer so many of these common issues; instead I’ve had more queries (the rest of you probably saw that coming).

I don’t push the service much — as you may be able to tell by the link being buried below the fold on the sidebar. Somehow enough clients find me to keep me reasonably busy. Of course, I actually have a day job and a family, so an investor education side business that keeps me reasonably busy is not nearly as bustling as for someone who does it full time.

Update: A few years after this post, I launched an online course teaching people how to invest, and have gotten a lot closer to making myself obsolete as an investment educator/coach.

1. “Portfolio Doctor” was an awfully tempting runner-up.

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