If you’re interested in learning more about how to invest, or how to begin trading stocks and shares, but don’t know where to start, then you are probably weighing up the different financial learning methods.

These include investment courses, investment mentorship programmes, investment courses, formal education routes such as obtaining a bachelor’s degree in finance, or attending evening classes aimed at providing a more practical education on hands-on investing.

I’ll be comparing two options in this informative article, we’ll put investing books and investment courses head-to-head to see which wins most of the time. Spoiler alert: the articles’ title might slightly give my conclusion away, but continue reading to understand how I arrived at this conclusion.

What do I mean by old investment books?

When I describe investment books, what do I mean? There are plenty of paper-based titles which could fit this definition:

  • Bestselling guides to investing sold in book shops
  • Academic textbooks on the financial markets
  • Ebooks or email guides on how to get rich or make money

As you might guess, I need to be exclusive and specific to make this guide useful, so for that purpose, I am only referring to the first option. Investment books are what you will see if you walk into the ‘personal finance’ section of a bookstore. Granted, this will cover a wide array of titles, but this still narrows down the population to a group of books that broadly have the same characteristics.

What do I mean by investing courses?

For this article, an investment course is a course which meets the following criteria:

  • Delivered over multiple sessions – be it live video, pre-recorded video, audio book or physical lectures.
  • Includes an element of self-study and reflection, including a piece of work and an assessment at the final stage of the course.
  • Costs could range between £100 and £2,000

This excludes formal degree courses, which are much more extensive and expensive than this definition. This also excludes cheap £7.99 online courses about investing, which are in effect a paid YouTube video, and aren’t produced with the same editorial standards of an educational provider.

Why Investment Books Triumph

Investment books triumph over investment courses for the following reasons:

Accessibility: Investing books can follow you to work, or be enjoyed in a quiet moment of reflection in the park. Whether you purchase a real book, or grab an ebook to read on a device, you’ll find it easy to fit in reading sessions into your lifestyle. Some investment courses will naturally not be as flexible, because they may include live-elements which will be scheduled (such as in the evening).

Affordability: Once textbooks are ignored, you’ll find that investing books are competitively priced compared with other books. The oldest investment books are also often the cheapest. This is excellent for investors – because in the world of finance – it’s often the oldest ideas which are the most useful. Fads and short-term trends are not a solid basis for a portfolio designed to last for 30 years after all. Investing books can be grabbed for £6 – £25.

Of course, it’s worth remembering that every penny saved on the cost of your education, can be put into the investments themselves!