This experience is optimized for Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

Please upgrade your browser

Video title

Priority Code

Cancel
Understanding Investments

Understanding Investments

Course No.  5724
Course No.  5724
Share:
Video or Audio?
While this set works well in both audio and video format, one or more of the courses in this set feature graphics to enhance your learning experience, including illustrations, images of people and event, and on-screen text.
Which Format Should I Choose? Video Download Audio Download DVD CD
Watch or listen immediately with FREE streaming
Available on most courses
Stream using apps on your iPad, iPhone, Android, or Kindle Fire
Available on most courses
Stream to your internet connected PC or laptop
Available on most courses
Download files for offline viewing or listening
Receive DVDs or CDs for your library
Play as many times as you want
All formats include Free Streaming
All formats include Free Streaming

Course Overview

About This Course

24 lectures  |  29 minutes per lecture

What are your most important financial goals? Sending your kids to college? Buying a new home? Retiring early? Having the freedom to not worry about whether you can afford to buy a new car or go on vacation? It's your financial resources that are the determining factor in how you're able to answer these and a host of other questions. And few things are as important in determining just what those financial resources are as your understanding of where and how to invest.

Investing, and the skills to succeed at it, play critical roles in building and maintaining your financial resources. And investment opportunities are available to everyone. No matter where on your financial timeline you may be—whether you're just starting out, approaching retirement, or somewhere in between—there is no question that improving and enhancing your investment skills can have a positive impact on your financial life and in turn, your life goals.

View More

What are your most important financial goals? Sending your kids to college? Buying a new home? Retiring early? Having the freedom to not worry about whether you can afford to buy a new car or go on vacation? It's your financial resources that are the determining factor in how you're able to answer these and a host of other questions. And few things are as important in determining just what those financial resources are as your understanding of where and how to invest.

Investing, and the skills to succeed at it, play critical roles in building and maintaining your financial resources. And investment opportunities are available to everyone. No matter where on your financial timeline you may be—whether you're just starting out, approaching retirement, or somewhere in between—there is no question that improving and enhancing your investment skills can have a positive impact on your financial life and in turn, your life goals.

Understanding Investments helps you do just that. In 24 lectures, it introduces the fundamentals of investing to those new to the subject while broadening and deepening the knowledge of more experienced investors. Taught by Professor Connel Fullenkamp, an award-winning educator from Duke University who regularly consults in the world of international finance, these lectures clearly explain the various kinds of financial markets, the different kinds of investments available to you, and the pros and cons of each. Even more important: The course shows you how to evaluate each of these in terms of your own financial situation.

Essential Knowledge for Newcomers and Experienced Investors

If you're a newcomer to investing, Understanding Investments will give you the confidence—and specific tools—to

  • get your feet wet in the investment world and begin building your investment portfolio, even if you have to start small;
  • better understand the recommendations and advice of more experienced investors and financial advisors;
  • develop your own personal investment plan; and
  • move toward realizing your plan's goals with as little anxiety and fear as possible.

And if you happen to be that more experienced investor, this course will

  • introduce you to some advanced investment strategies and opportunities;
  • show you how to stay on top of your portfolio, and
  • adjust its direction as economic conditions—or your own plans—change.

In addition to making you a more knowledgeable and confident investor, Understanding Investments will also help you make sense of the financial news that makes up an increasing share of what you read in our newspapers, watch on television, or discover on the Internet. And it will also help you better grasp the financial condition and performance of the company at which you work, which can be invaluable in making key career decisions.

Using case studies, actual trading examples, and visual aids—including charts, graphs, and even the step-by-step construction of a simple financial planning spreadsheet—Professor Fullenkamp makes every point clear, so that no previous knowledge of the subject is required. You'll learn how the world of money works in plain English, with the only insider jargon being the specific terms you need to know in order to safely navigate the investment marketplace and understand what is being offered to you.

Learn How to Invest with Confidence and Success

In Understanding Investments, you learn the essential information every investor needs to know, including

  • the basics of the stock market;
  • investment options like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, as well as other instruments like exchange-traded funds (or "ETFs") that go beyond these standard choices;
  • how to read and understand stock quotes and indexes;
  • tools and simple calculation techniques for researching companies you may be considering as potential investments;
  • the ins and outs of online investing;
  • what dividends and stock splits are really meant to accomplish;
  • the characteristics of bull and bear markets;
  • the importance of regularly reassessing your financial goals;
  • the management of diversification and risk, including the keys to avoiding the most common ways in which these two key factors are commonly misunderstood; and
  • the importance of a well-thought-out plan for continuing to invest after retirement.

In addition, Professor Fullenkamp makes a point of discussing some of the latest findings in behavioral economics so you can grasp the psychological forces investors face in various investment situations. These forces may well be helping to drive any decisions you make, and understanding their presence is an important defense against being driven in the wrong direction, even to the point of inadvertently sabotaging your investments.

For example, we've all seen the fortunes made by those lucky enough to be in on the initial public offerings—or IPOs—of companies that went on to become enormous successes. And most of us would plead guilty to dreaming of getting in on the ground floor of the next startup that goes on to become a Coca-Cola or an Apple or a Microsoft.

But if you ever have the opportunity to invest in a startup, you'll be grateful for the tools Professor Fullenkamp gives you to wade through the complexities and psychological hazards. He shows you how to objectively evaluate a startup, determine its possibilities for success, and decide—with as little emotion as possible, and with full awareness of what psychological forces might be at play—whether it warrants a place in your portfolio.

Invest with Minimal Fear and Maximum Confidence

You'll be using the same skills this course has been designed to give you when you evaluate any investment opportunity—skills that will allow you to invest with as little fear and as much confidence as possible. And, as your professor notes, that's the whole idea.

"Because investing looks complicated and risky, most people don't feel well-prepared to make investment decisions,"Professor Fullenkamp says. "And when we don't feel prepared to make decisions, we put them off, if we can. And it's so easy to put off investing decisions, because there's no real deadline.

"But putting off investing is one of the biggest mistakes that people make with their personal finances. It turns time, which can be one of your best allies, into your worst enemy."

By showing you a way around this mistake, Understanding Investments can be, long before you ever stride into that financial marketplace, the smartest investment you make.

Please note: This course is not intended to provide explicit financial or investment advice. All investments involve risk: Past performance does not guarantee future success. You acknowledge that any reliance on any information from the materials contained in this course shall be at your own risk.

View Less
24 Lectures
  • 1
    How to Stop Worrying and Start Investing
    In this introduction to investing, learn some of investing’s fundamental ideas and the basic impediments that can interfere with sound investment decisions. Also, learn that there are ways to protect yourself, and that the path to becoming a sound investor is available to anyone willing to learn. x
  • 2
    How Investors Make Money
    Can anyone actually beat the performance of the stock market? Grasp what the Efficient Market Hypothesis and the debate over its validity can reveal about the answer—and how your own opinion can shape your investment strategy. x
  • 3
    Starting with Stocks
    Learn why stocks, though often not the best place for a newcomer to begin investing, can be the best means of learning about investing. Explore key ideas like dealers vs. brokers, the different kinds of buy-or-sell orders, and what stocks really are. x
  • 4
    The Basics of Bonds
    In this first lecture about bonds—with the focus on a “buy-and-hold” strategy—grasp the variety of available bonds and the features most important to an investor: who issued them, whether they are secured, and the timing of payments. You also learn how to “ladder” your holdings for a consistent income stream. x
  • 5
    Introduction to Mutual Funds
    Mutual funds are one of several types of so-called “pooled investments,” which allow small investors to hold securities they perhaps couldn’t afford individually. Explore how these pooled investments work, with the focus on the most popular type, the open-end mutual fund, and learn what to look for in a summary prospectus. x
  • 6
    What Are Exchange-Traded Funds?
    Learn how this relatively new option for investors differs from mutual funds and about the advantages they may have over mutual funds for those making investments outside of tax-advantaged plans such as 401(k)s. You also learn what depository receipts are, and the key role they play in ETFs. x
  • 7
    Financial Statement Analysis
    In the first of three lectures introducing standard tools for analyzing and selecting stocks and other possible investments, learn how to read a typical financial statement. Grasp the meaning of concepts like income statements and balance sheets, and learn what they can tell you about a company’s strengths and weaknesses. x
  • 8
    P/E Ratios and the Method of Comparables
    Your skills broaden as you gain an additional tool for drilling down into a company to evaluate its investment potential. This lecture introduces the concept of valuation models, beginning with the popular Method of Comparables, which uses ratios like price-to-earnings, or P/E, to value stocks. x
  • 9
    Fundamentals-Based Analysis of Stocks
    Add another stock-pricing model to your toolbox—the Dividend Discount Model. You learn that such fundamentals-based models rest on two ideas: that an investment’s price should depend only on what it will pay you, and that future cash is worth less than present cash. x
  • 10
    Startup Companies and IPOs
    The glamour of initial public offerings can obscure their realities. This lecture explains how most IPOs are done, the “Dutch auction” method that is sometimes used instead, and what you need to know if you get the opportunity to participate in an IPO. x
  • 11
    Why Should You Care about Dividends?
    Interpreted correctly, dividends can be an extremely revealing indicator of a company’s value. Explore not only dividends, but several other ways by which companies can reward their shareholders, including preferred stock, dividend reinvestment programs, and stock splits. x
  • 12
    Using Leverage
    Although using leverage—borrowing a portion of the purchase price of an investment—can offer tempting rewards, the level of risk can be high. Explore how leverage works as you learn about margin requirements, short sales, and how leverage impacts both potential profits and potential losses. x
  • 13
    Choosing Bonds
    Gain the analytical tools to intelligently navigate the wide ocean of choices faced by anyone contemplating an investment in bonds. This lecture guides you through the three critical issues that can help shape your selection: default risk, inflation protection, and how your earnings may be taxed. x
  • 14
    Bond School
    Although bonds are often part of a buy-and-hold investment strategy, they can also be as actively traded as stocks, with just as great a risk. This lecture explains the descriptive terms, jargon, pricing, price-yield relationships, and standard practices you can encounter in the potentially confusing marketplace for bonds. x
  • 15
    Picking Mutual Funds
    Today’s marketplace contains an amazing variety of mutual funds from which to choose. You can navigate this often-bewildering array of choices with confidence as you learn the key categories of differentiating them, including assets, goals, balance of growth vs. value, and diversification. x
  • 16
    Investing in Foreign Assets
    With about $80 trillion of investment opportunities outside the United States, foreign investment can be a tempting option. Learn how the rules for diversifying into these investments are changing, and what you need to know to help ensure that your foreign investment decisions are as sound as possible. x
  • 17
    Options Are for Everyone
    Explore the world of stock and index options and how you can put them to work for you at very low or even zero risk. Learn about call options, put options, strike prices, and how to use the return-enhancing technique known as the covered call strategy. x
  • 18
    Real Estate and Commodities
    Do real estate and commodities belong in your portfolio? And if they do, what are the best instruments for putting them there? This lecture offers a realistic view of these questions, including a look at real estate investment trusts, or REITs, and commodity-focused ETFs. x
  • 19
    Cycles and Market Timing
    What role should three key cycles—price cycles in financial markets, the business cycle, and the interest rate or credit cycle—play in your investment decisions? Learn how these cycles work and the best way to protect yourself against their fluctuations. x
  • 20
    Deciding When to Sell
    Selling an investment—whether a winner or loser—can be emotionally difficult. In addition to learning why this is so, grasp the different reasons that selling is often the right decision, and learn some techniques that can help offset emotional influences. x
  • 21
    Risk, Return, and Diversification
    The cliché is that high risk brings the potential of high returns. But you learn in this insightful lecture that the cliché isn’t true as you explore the two ways risks are classified and the very different expectation of potential rewards that come with each. x
  • 22
    Time Value of Money
    In addition to understanding some basic ideas, you need some key skills for smart investing. This lecture teaches you how to perform the simple calculations that will enable you to compare returns across different investments, project their future value, and estimate a reasonable price to pay for them. x
  • 23
    Financial Planning
    Zero in on the whole point of investing: reaching a particular goal or goals you’ve decided on. This lecture uses the calculating tools you’ve already learned to show you how to plan for your retirement, but its techniques can be applied to any financial goal you set for yourself. x
  • 24
    Taking Charge of Your Investments
    Now that you understand the many investment products out there, it’s time for practical decision making about turning your financial planning into financial reality. Grasp how to shape your investment choices to match your retirement plans and how to turn those investments into income for living expenses when you do reach retirement. x

Lecture Titles

Clone Content from Your Professor tab

Your professor

Connel Fullenkamp
Ph.D. Connel Fullenkamp
Duke University

Professor Connel Fullenkamp is Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics at Duke University. He teaches financial economics courses, such as corporate finance, as well as core courses, such as economic principles. In addition to teaching, he serves as a consultant for the Duke Center for International Development. Prior to joining the Duke faculty in 1999, Professor Fullenkamp was a faculty member in the Department of Finance within the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. Originally from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Professor Fullenkamp earned his undergraduate degree in Economics from Michigan State University. In addition to receiving the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, he was named one of the university's Alumni Distinguished Scholars. He earned his master's and doctorate degrees in Economics from Harvard University, where he was also awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. Professor Fullenkamp's areas of interest include financial market development and regulation, economic policy, and immigrant remittances. His work has appeared in a number of prestigious academic journals, including the Review of Economic Dynamics, The Cato Journal, and the Journal of Banking and Finance. He also does consulting work for the IMF Institute at the International Monetary Fund, training government officials around the world. He is a member of the IMF Institute's finance team, whose purpose is to train central bankers and other officials in financial market regulation, focusing on derivatives and other new financial instruments. In recognition of his teaching excellence, Professor Fullenkamp has received Duke University's Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award as well as the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business Outstanding Teacher Award. Along with Sunil Sharma, Professor Fullenkamp won the third annual ICFR-Financial Times Research Prize for their paper on international financial regulation.

View More information About This Professor
Also By This Professor
View All Courses By This Professor

Reviews

Rated 4.2 out of 5 by 34 reviewers.
Rated 5 out of 5 by Wish I Had This Course 20 Years Ago! DVD This is an excellent overview of investing, for both novice and “experienced” (not expert) alike. I wish I had known more about the subjects covered in this course years ago, along with the larger picture and practical advice that Professor Fullenkamp provides, instead of my trial and error “experience” of working my way through conflicting advice and confusing technical terms and jargon. From this personal perspective, I consider ‘Understanding Investments’ a terrific one-stop source of information. The most important aspect of this course is Professor Fullenkamp’s teaching a set of basic skills so that one can more confidently take charge of one’s own financial planning and investing. The title of his first lecture, How to Stop Worrying and Start Investing, truly sets the stage for the course. Though it is not stated explicitly early on (or at least I did not catch it), the course assumes a long term retirement investment perspective. This does not come out directly until near the end, especially the final three lectures that deal with skills useful in retirement planning. As Professor Fullenkamp notes, however, these same skills are useful for other kinds of investment strategies as well. After taking this course I have a much better appreciation of the complexities in successfully picking individual stocks and bonds, and also an even greater appreciation of those in charge of actively managed funds. For most investors, Professor Fullenkamp is solidly for mutual funds and gives good advice about selecting them. He also talks extensively about markets and how they operate and how they affect one’s investments. No partisan of market timing, Professor Fullenkamp gives critically important advice about when to buy and sell. As a result of the course, for example, I have a much better informed understanding of risk and return, how to read stock/fund reports, how a money market fund operates, how to diversify one’s holdings, how Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) differ from mutual funds and how they might cut my taxes, and even how Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and commodity investments could enhance a portfolio. I am math- and formula-challenged, so I was a bit apprehensive about that aspect of the course, but for the most part I got through easily enough. There are a couple of algebra-dense lectures that did set my mind wandering, but that it is not a deal-breaker for this course. Professor Fullenkamp is an engaging presenter and has organized the course in a very effective way, so I think it best to go from beginning to end to get the most out of it. The graphics and real-life examples are excellent. I recommend the DVD or Video Download of the course rather than the audio-only, as I do not know how I could have followed the lectures relying solely on audio. Highly recommended! July 10, 2014
Rated 5 out of 5 by Very practical advice Professor Fullenkamp offers a great overview of financial investment terminology and practices. Though I have a fair amount of experience in investing, I found most of his material helpful in either introducing new concepts or in refining my thinking. So, I would recommend his course for novice and intermediate level investors. Unlike other lecturers, Professor Fullenkamp is very comfortable in front of the camera and has a very engaging style. He makes an otherwise dry topic quite interesting. November 1, 2013
Rated 5 out of 5 by For the Novice and the Experienced Investor Alike This is a very practical course that does a great job of holding the interest of both the financial novice and the more serious and experienced investor. Prof. Fullenkamp is eager and earnest and has a very comfortable lecture style. He neither panders nor condescends and effectively communicates a lot of information in each lecture in a workmanlike fashion. His choice of material, the amount of time he devotes to each investment concept, and the pace at which he goes through the course topics are all right on the mark. If you like the study of investments, you will enjoy this course; if you find investments deathly dull, I think Prof. Fullenkamp provides you a relatively painless way to gain important information you really should not be without. Bottom line, I give Prof. Fullenkamp and the course very high marks and would recommend it to all. June 22, 2012
Rated 5 out of 5 by More Essential Information [Video Download Review] I studied finance as an undergrad. Now, I'm a graduate student in linguistics (long story), but I think financial literacy should be taught in today's high schools. I've read countless books on investing, and I've studied it with great professors from the U of Illinois. One of the first things I learned in my investment class is that clients who seek financial managers could, on average, do slightly better if they just took random stocks (weighted with bonds and other assets of course). And financial planners, I find, do not do a good job of investing on the whole. Nor do they communicate very well to their clients (I went to several investment presentations put on by financial firms that friends had invited me to--free food!). What this course will be allow you to do is better prepare your financial planning whether alone or with a firm. If you invest with a financial services firm, this will give you some tools to kick the tires, as they say. What's my inflation adjusted return? What's my return compared to what the market did? etc. These are really a starting point, and there are many books out there. Warren Buffet famously lives by the principles outlined in "Security Analysis" by Graham and Dodd, but a more user friendly and modern book is "The Intelligent Investor". In the industry, these are considered "old fashioned" because they are supposedly supplanted by Modern Portfolio Theory, the Black-Scholes Model, among others. But they never mention how Buffet has beat them all (and still does)! Anyway, this along with the Banking course put on by prof. Salemi will give you a solid foundation in the financial world (see my review for that course). If Salemi's course is about the weather in the ocean for ship captains, this course on investing is about how to steer the ship. The professor presents as well as he can, but he's not stellar in the sense of say Greenberg or some others, but that's OK. He's enthusiastic and that makes up for it IMO. Why do I take these courses if I know most of the information? I like this stuff. And I like to see how others present it, so that I may better help my friends and family. I'm hoping to show these lectures to them sometime too. Caveat: This is finance, not a "sexy" subject by any means. This stuff bores most people to tears, and you may find it work. However, I would say look at it this way: no one today can escape the world of finance. And with a little knowledge, you can profit a lot. One example, at a rate of 5% compounding interest, you can turn 1 dollar into two dollars in less than 15 years. If you search "Compound Interest Calculator" on a search engine you can do the calculations yourself. Thank you for reading, and here's to your financial health! April 24, 2012
2 next>>

Questions & Answers

Customers Who Bought This Course Also Bought

Some courses include Free digital streaming.

Enjoy instantly on your computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Buy together as a Set
and
Save Up To $195.00
Choose a Set Format
$109.90
$129.90