American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) provides top-tier educational resources for budding and established investors. Our American Association of Individual Investors review offers a deep dive into the service, giving you all the details so you can decide if this service is right for you.
American Association of Individual Investors Review: Overview
An exhaustive educational resource for individual investors, AAII is a non-profit that offers a newsletter service to its members.
The education, information, and research platform aims to help investors become effective managers of their own assets and investments.
The non-profit was founded by James Cloonan in 1978, and the current CEO of the company is John Bajkowski.
The resources are accessible through the AAII membership.
What AAII Offers
Members have access to newsletters, educational information, wealth management tips, and investment resources for an annual fee.
Currently, AAII offers a 30-day trial membership for just $1 or $2 depending on which tier you choose.
This means investors can try out the resources and publications available from the organization for a very low price.
We will get to more on that later, though.
AAII offers a good deal of educational investing information by way of newsletters, model portfolios, investing ideas, stock screening, stock reports, and the AAII journal.
Let’s take a look at what the American Association of Individual Investors has to offer its customers in more detail.
What’s Included with an AAII Membership?
Each AAII membership includes:
- Model portfolios
- Investing ideas
- Screeners and reports
- AAII journal
AII Model Portfolios
AAII members gain access to model portfolios designed to educate investors and target specific investment types.
AAII’s model portfolios are one of the most popular tools on the website because they greatly improve the investment research process.
The four model portfolios offered include:
- Shadow Stock portfolio
- Dividend Investing Portfolio
- Stock Superstars Report Portfolio
- VMQ Portfolio
Every portfolio is designed to help members invest more wisely based on academic research and guided investment strategy.
The Shadow Stock Portfolio is especially popular with AAII members and is a great place to start if you are checking out the service.
Let’s take a look at each model portfolio that the American Association of Individual Investors offers.
Shadow Stock Portfolio
The Shadow Stock Portfolio got its start in 1993.
It is a real-money portfolio the nonprofit uses to demonstrate a consistent investment approach.
The goal of this portfolio is to provide investors with investment ideas and investment education.
The Shadow Stock Portfolio follows the investing philosophy of James Cloonan.
According to the AAII website, the philosophy is as follows:
- “The best stocks for individual investors are not the same stocks that are best for institutions.”
- “Ultimately, the best returns come from giving major consideration to risk.”
- “Success comes more from concern for the overall portfolio than for individual stocks.”
Dividend Investing Portfolio
This model portfolio will give you investment insight on how to invest dividends successfully.
Dividend Investing Portfolio includes a model portfolio of 24 dividend-paying stocks that are hand-picked by the organization.
Stock Superstars Report Portfolio
This portfolio offers specific advice on securities that are predicted to outperform the market.
This service is based on superstar investors such as Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett, William O’Neil, and others who have invested wisely and outperformed the market in the past.
VMQ stands for value, momentum, and quality.
This portfolio seeks out investments with low valuations but strong price momentum that has underlying quality traits.
The VMQ portfolio provides 20 securities that were selected based on these principles.
AAII Investing Ideas
The Investing Ideas on offer include stock ideas, ETF ideas, and mutual fund ideas.
American Association of Individual Investors members can use this service to see which of these investment ideas are top performers.
It also provides commentary and reports that can be used to further investor knowledge.
AAII Screeners and Reports
An American Association of Individual Investors membership also includes access to stock screens and reports.
These screens can be used to decide which stocks might be worth paying attention to.
The following stock screens are available to AAII members:
- Factor screens
- Guru screens
- Screen power rankings
- My screens
- My stocks
- Stock grades screener
ETF and mutual fund screeners are available as well.
This section of the website also offers reports on the various securities included in each screener.
All AAII screeners are not available for both types of membership.
You can read on to see what each American Association of Individual Investors membership tier includes.
The AAII Journal is a leading trade and investment publication that’s been available for over 40 years.
The monthly journal aims to help each member make better decisions investing by providing actionable insights.
This helps investors manage portfolios, create a strong investment strategy, and navigate difficult financial situations.
Even better, the journal is designed for any level of investor.
It offers plenty of resources for financial planning, stock, and trading ideas, as well as information on new opportunities in the market.
The journal is published monthly and delivered straight to members’ doorsteps.
American Association of Individual Investors Review: Money-Back Guarantee
All first-year AAII memberships are backed by a 100% money-back customer guarantee.
This means that if you’re dissatisfied with the service at any time during your AAII membership within the first year, your money will be returned to you with no questions asked.
So with the $1 promotion currently available for individual investors, AAII seems to be a very low-risk purchase.
AAII claims that its strategy, resources, and research tools repay the cost of membership many times over.
Given the fair price point, it’s likely you could even make up the cost with a single trade on the stock market.
American Association of Individual Investors Review: Membership Costs
There are two types of memberships available with AAII.
Let’s take a look at what each tier has to offer.
AAII Basic Membership
This basic membership has fees of $49 per year and includes a 30-day trial for just $1.
The following comes with the basic membership:
- The AAII Journal, mailed monthly
- AAII Model Stock Portfolio — available only to members
- Access to resources and thousands of articles, reports, and commentary via the AAII website
- Top mutual fund guide
- Annual tax planning guide
- Access to AAII Local Chapter meetings
- AAII Guide to ETFs
- Weekly stock investment ideas
- Lifetime investor strategy guide
- Daily stock ideas
- 100% money-back guarantee
AAII Plus Membership
The Plus Membership costs $189 per year in fees and includes a 30-day trial for just $2.
This tier offers everything the basic membership does in addition to:
- Stock and fund graders
- Stock and fund evaluators
- Guru and factor screeners
- A thorough diversification analysis
- Insight tools for each portfolio
- User challenges
- Community opportunities
- A-F stock grades on return, volatility, expenses, turnover, etc.
- Data on more than 6,200 stocks and 27,000 funds
The fact that both membership tiers offer a trial period for either $1 or $2 makes it easy to start using the platform with little risk.
Is AAII Legit?
Since no funds are deposited with American Association of Individual Investors, the non-profit seems to be low risk, as it does not invest funds for you.
It only offers resources and advice to make you more skilled at investing in the stock market and more.
Additionally, the performance claims are high, though member reviews back up AAII’s service.
You may be wondering what types of returns you can expect to see from the research and model portfolios on offer.
More on AAII’s Investment Education and Returns
Returns can certainly vary, and profit depends on the specific investments made by each AAII member.
You can see the returns on the model portfolio on a year-to-year basis, since 1993, by clicking here.
AAII advertises that its Shadow Stock Portfolio has outperformed the market by 3 to 1 over the past 20 years, and this is a significant feat for any portfolio.
However, investors should understand that this type of return is not typical.
Following the investment guidance of this specific portfolio is not a guarantee for future success.
However, one problem with the non-profit is that it seems to be losing money in a significant way.
Tax returns from 2017, when the organization became a non-profit, show a loss of $170,951.
Customers may worry that continued losses will cause the organization to shut down; however, this does not seem likely to happen anytime soon.
The company is still alive and kicking years after reporting the initial loss.
American Association of Individual Investors Review: Pros and Cons
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of American Association of Individual Investors.
- Exceptional investing educational resources, including learning to buy or sell stocks
- Four model portfolios
- A good selection of stock screeners and fund screeners
- Plenty of resources for learning about investing
- Access to monthly AAII Local Chapter meetings
- $1 or $2 30-day trials available
- 100% money-back guarantee
- An analysis of actual returns from the model portfolio is somewhat difficult to find
- No wealth management service
- The recent financial difficulties of the company raise concerns
What Is AAII Sentiment Survey?
AAII sentiment is a survey that measures the percentage of members who are bullish, bearish, or neutral investors.
This section of the website provides insight into the investing habits of AAII customers.
Members are polled each week and only one vote is allowed per user.
Is AAII Right for Me?
If you’re interested in learning more about investing, want to start investing but don’t know where to begin, or are a seasoned investor looking for more information, then AAII may be right for you.
The stock screeners, monthly journal, and investment ideas could help an investor make more financially sound decisions when investing in the stock market.
However, if you are looking for quick and easy profit this service is likely not for you.
Members will need to take the time to read through a good amount of material and research that is available on the website, in the newsletter, and in the magazine to truly find success investing with the guidance of AAII.
AAII teaches members how to manage assets through programs that have a good track record for success.
While the service may not tell you whether to buy or sell, AAII’s commitment to providing quality financial information appears to have the potential to be of great use to short-term and long-term investors.
Also, the very low-cost 30-day trial is a great way for anyone to start learning about investing.
The annual fees for either tier of membership are lower than many programs of education information on the web as well.
AAII Reviews by Members
Reviews from members are generally positive.
Many are happy with the newsletter and the wealth of information available.
Reviewers claim that information comes from a reliable source and that its educational resources on investment and personal finance are the best in the market.
Additionally, comments from members on www.stockgumshoe.com show that customers are happy with the AAII.
Most of all, reviewers praise the volumes of information available to members, including its stock tips.
One of the comments from a member even states that AAII is the best value he has found in over 50 years of investing.
There were few bad reviews, with most of the negative ones stating that the paid service is not much better than the free service offered.
However, it seems that with the paid membership, there is quite a lot of unique content available.
Final Review: Is AAII Worth It?
In conclusion, AAII’s service seems to be a great source of financial information when it comes to investing.
The nonprofit organization’s goal is to help investors learn more about the market and make sound financial decisions.
AAII’s features such as stock screening, model portfolios, investment ideas, and reports all appear to be very useful.
Additionally, AAII’s 30-day free trial means there’s no risk in testing out the service.
Who Is AAII For?
AAII is perfect for people who want to learn:
- The ins and outs of investing, including what stocks to buy, how to use proper analysis, and education on mutual funds and other investment types
- Wealth management tips and guidance
- How to use AAII tools, including the stock screener, and resources to boost performance
AAII’s free trial is a great way to start if you are still on the fence but want a crash course on investing.
Overall, based on reviews, members appear to be happy with the service.
The amount of information provided to members with either tier is one major advantage that AAII offers over its competitors.
If you believe that AAII’s educational resources could fit into your goals as an investor, we recommend checking out the platform.
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