Start Investing with $100 is Launched! (Plus Details on Two Free Scholarships)

Note: Start Investing with $100 is no longer available as of October 10, 2014.


Start Investing with $100

“If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there.” – Shawn Achor

Today, I’m happy.

Today, I’m successful.

Today, I’m launching my biggest creation in a long time (at least since Grant was born and my finger painting series from pre-school).

Start Investing with $100 (SIW100) is now available to anyone with an Internet connection!

The Work Has Only Begun

Normally when I have a big announcement, I consult how other people have approached them. But not today.

You’re getting just unfiltered emotion and an “in the moment” experience.

I’d love to tell you that launching SIW100 is a crowning achievement for me…but it’s not (yet). Understand that I’m insanely proud of SIW100 and believe there is massive value for so many people who need this.

But the launch of Start Investing with $100 is only the beginning. As of publishing this announcement, only one person has purchased the online course (thanks Lindsay!) and that’s because it was only available to the fifteen person pre-launch team before today.

SIW100 won’t be a crowning achievement until months or years from now. See, that’s the thing about investing. Unless you’re doing it poorly, you probably won’t see any major life changes from learning the principles or skills to become a confident and clever investor.

As my cousin J.R. would say, “There’s information, there’s knowledge, and there’s wisdom.”

I’m offering up information in the course – along with checklists, decision guides, cheat sheets and more – and a path to convert that into knowledge (and action). But only the people taking the course can convert their new knowledge into wisdom.

It’s up to me to empower them to make their own decisions. It’s up to me to help them shed investing-related fear, intimidation, and stress.

But it’s up to them to become successful long-term investors.

And guess what? They probably won’t know if they are for months or years. After all, besides the surprising mental and emotional benefits of kicking butt at investing, my primary goal of helping people’s purchasing power overrun the forces of inflation and taxes isn’t quickly achieved.

So I’m cool with it taking a while before the “thank you” emails start rolling in from course alumni. I’m cool with initial lackluster sales that only pick up as my guest posts in the next month spread awareness of this awesome resource I’ve poured months of energy into.

I’m cool with having spent over 30 hours combing through 39 investment company websites from four countries – as well as way too many live chats with these companies and too many Google searches to count – to create an Investment Company Decision Guide in Module 4 that turns a multi-hour selection process into a two-minute exercise. That doesn’t even count the energy I spent trying out three virtual assistants to complete the guide for me. And it doesn’t include wasted time sending custom surveys to these companies asking them for data that should be easily accessed on their websites.

Making Version 1.0 Better

I’m taking the software approach to Start Investing with $100.

The current SIW100 website and the student’s only content is just version 1.0. I have plans even this Thanksgiving week to make the experience for everyone – students and non-students alike – much better. Version 1.5 will be a silent release and some people won’t even notice. That’s cool though. I’m putting in the extra work for the folks that will notice and will benefit.

This proves three things:

  1. I’m willing to do work that goes unappreciated or unnoticed
  2. I can do a dynamite voice-over, but my screencasting skills still suck
  3. I need to allot less time for open-ended tasks like creating a product intro video

But I’m so freakin’ committed to my student’s success. I’m so eager to transform them into helpful alumni for the next generation of people in the class.

It’s like Rappin’ 4-Tay said in his song “Problems:”

Each piece of life is like a puzzle, can you solve ’em. Stress’ll drive you crazy when you’re dealing with these problems. Problems, problems – How you gonna solve ’em. Man, I’m going crazy trying to deal with these problems.

The students of SIW100 have problems (who doesn’t, right?). Most of them I can’t do a damn thing about. But I can make investing move from the problem category to the productive category. That means there’s energy left to resolve other problems.

A Promise…

This announcement isn’t a stealth sales technique. I’m not clever enough to pull that off even if I wanted to (and I don’t). I’m a terrible marketer and lament that I’ll have to become a good one if I want my products to sell and my message to spread.

But I’m as good a promise keeper as I’m a bad marketer.

So here’s my promise to this awesome community. If you …

… then I’ll do anything to build an even better version of SIW100 and other products that solve real, unmet needs.

This course could be worth $5 or $10,000. I’ll continue building the investing foundation that puts more people into the $10,000 column than the $5 column. Just don’t take this as a guarantee that you’ll make money from investing, let alone maintain your purchasing power against taxes and inflation.

If you’ve temporarily exhausted your skill and mindset improvement budget on other things, it’s all good.

Please think of me next time you have a budget to upgrade yourself. Also remember our friends at Second Harvest Heartland appreciate the 5% pretax donation I make on all income related to Value of Simple (including SIW100).

…And a Promotion

Start Investing

Not everybody can afford to pay $80 on Start Investing with $100. So I’ll come up with periodic giveaways, contests, and scholarships to get it into deserving hands for free.

Launch day seems like the perfect time to get two people a free lifetime scholarship to the course.

So here’s the deal. Answer the question below in a comment on this post or on the Value of Simple Facebook page by 6:00 pm CST on Friday, November 23rd. I’ll select two people with the best response for a free scholarship to SIW100.

How would your life improve if you started (or restarted) investing with solid principles and new skills?

The two winners will be announced in a post next week. I’m excited to see your responses!


One last note.

To those who are taking part in my launch excitement by sharing this post or links to Start Investing with $100 on Twitter, Facebook, G+, LinkedIn, email, or anywhere else, thank you!

To those who take the course and develop yourself beyond the scope of investing, rock on!

To those who appreciate why I quit my job to pursue creating stuff like SIW100, here comes appreciation right back at ya!

I couldn’t do this without the support of our community. I wouldn’t keep working so damn hard if I didn’t get the encouraging emails that make me smile.

I’ll continue to need your help so please, keep it coming with authenticity and value.

Thanks for helping folks join a new generation of confident investors via Start Investing with $100!

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35 Responses to Start Investing with $100 is Launched! (Plus Details on Two Free Scholarships)

  1. Ethan says:

    I don’t see my life improving all that much in the short term, but for the long term, I think investing is really, really important if you ever want to build up a usable cushion of money.

    • Agreed Ethan. Investing, at least the kind that doesn’t rely on hot stock tips and get rich quick programs, takes a long time to bear fruit. Like most things that are worth doing, results of hard labor or careful planning can’t be seen right away.

  2. Erin says:

    Congratulations, Joel, what an awesome accomplishment! I’m pumped on your behalf :)

    It’s such an amazing feeling, isn’t it, when you let that thing you’ve been working on so long and hard out into the world, for other people to see and use and learn from? I felt that way with How to Be Remakeable, and that was free. I bet having your first product out there for sale is even cooler. *high five!*

    • *high five* right back Erin! There’s a place for free products like my Personal User Guide or your How to Be Remakeable book. Side note: I read How to Be Remakeable last week and the Tools section blew me away. I’m definitely incorporating a Dreams List into my life.

      But back to your comment about having something for sale that only you can bring into existence. Yeah, it’s a pretty amazing thing. I’ll always spend most of my time on freely available content and resources, but I can only do that if there is an income supporting that continued passion. I doubt that’s lost on anyone, but it’s always good to give people a reminder.

      On a personal note, thank you for your major contributions to Start Investing with $100! If you’re reading this comment and you need a dynamite editor, you need to check out Erin’s {re}made by hand Services page. And if you’ve taken the course by the time you read this, you have Erin to thank for making it as concise and coherent as possible.

  3. That’s easy Joel. Proper investing which anyone will get from this course will provide more freedom.

    THAT’S IT!

    That’s what it all boils down to. We don’t want more money. We don’t want to be more educated. We want the freedom that those things bring. The freedom to choose what to do with our time. If we learn how to invest properly, down the line, our lives can be exactly what we create it to be.

    That is why people, like myself, NEED this course!

    • Freedom leads to a lot of things, doesn’t it Coach? Of course, having more money leads to a lot of things too. But the pursuit of freedom in all of its manifestations (e.g. financial freedom, location independence, spiritual release) is normally done with the best of intentions. The same can’t be said for the pursuit of money.

      It’s rare you meet someone in Western culture that desires anything more than freedom. I’ve found that being a sound investor gets me closer to my version of freedom and I want other people to experience that too. Thanks for framing this up nicely for us all!

  4. Emilie says:

    I’m ready! I’m so ready to start.

    The timing finally feels right. I’m even willing to jump through the logistical hoops that got in the way last time.

    How would my life improve if I started investing with solid principles? I think I would feel a tremendous sense of relief. I know the importance of investing early and I’ve been wanting to start for a few years now, but student debt and a tenuous financial situation held me back– not to mention a lack of knowledge about what to do and how to get started.

    But I’m in a much better position now, and I know that SIW100 would take me through the process, step by step. I can think of no better person to teach me this than you, Joel. :)

  5. Shanna Mann says:

    Congrats, Joel! From what I’ve seen of the content, the whole course will knock my socks off.

    You’re right about having to learn to market. I’m an introvert and and HSP to boot, but after launching my first two products (and achieve perfectly acceptable conversion rates) it really brought home to me how important it was for me to put myself out there and get my content in front of people.

    I can’t wait to see your tool for choosing investments! It’s so easy for me to get trapped in analysis paralysis.

  6. Deb says:

    This looks so cool. (and one of the reasons i love twitter; how would i have found you otherwise?)

    I’m under two months away from my 52nd birthday, and about 10 years in after coming back from post-divorce financial meltdown. I’ve finally got a bit of a cushion, and I’m a year from launching my biz from part-time to full-time, and I feel hopeful and excited for the future.

    AND, I’m still not investing. Well, not consciously, anyway. I have an auto-deduction from my paycheck into my 401K, but I’m not *paying attention* and it’s high time (past high time) for me to be doing that.

    I’m looking forward to learning more about this …

    • Hiya Deb! Welcome to Value of Simple and thanks to Twitter (via Emilie) for letting you know of my existence. Social media can be really awesome that way. Some of the best content creators in the world were revealed to me through the unique power of Facebook or Twitter.

      Since you’re looking forward to learning more about Start Investing with $100, make sure you check out the FAQ. If you still have questions that need answers after reviewing it, let me know what they are. If there’s one thing I try to do well, it’s being comprehensive. And if you want in on the chance for a scholarship to the course, make sure you follow up here or on Facebook with an answer to my question in this post.

  7. Harrison says:

    Congratulations on your launch Joel!

    I know I saw your short huddle awhile back, and yes haven’t invested yet (still been in transition mode, but almost stabilized now getting a place to rent).

    Before, working at a corporation, the ways to invest were easier I guess because the big guys would pretty much take care of investing money into 401k plans, or other plans (which I always didn’t understand, it’s interesting that HR’s aren’t able to discuss financial plans with employees).

    Now working as freelance designer and starting up my apparel website, I find that its imperative that I figure out ways to accumulate money to be able to use when I reach that … old age :)

    Look forward to definitely checking out your program in more detail.


    • Thanks Harrison. You’re right in that investing is easier to manage when you’re an employee at a company running your 401(k), 403(b), or Superannuation. Government run or company run retirement accounts are about as hands off as you can get, but I’ve seen way too many people take horrible approaches to managing their money within these accounts. And those weren’t just friends of mine. Those were colleagues at an investment company! If the people employed at an investment company can’t get their employer sponsored retirement account to work for them, what chance do other regular folks have, right?

      But now you have the flexibility to call your own investing shots and I hope you’ll take advantage of that freedom. There are amazing things you can do with your investments when you’re unshackled from the pre-selected options and constraints of your employer’s investment plan.

      • Harrison says:

        Well said Joel. People think that one can let someone else deal with the investing. But when it comes down to handling money, only the person themselves are they responsible for any investment.

        And I’ll take it the challenge myself to understand what and where I invest my money.

  8. Jo says:

    Massive congratulations :-)

  9. Bobbi Emel says:

    Congratulations, Joel! That’s a lot of hard work and I know it’s going to help a lot of people!

  10. Sarah says:

    Joel! Huge congratulations on the launch! If nothing else, YOU DID IT! I think this is incredibly impressive – setting out to do a thing and then getting it done is awesome and inspiring, even if overachievers like us don’t like to give ourselves credit for it. I also really love your honesty and transparency about the process. Cheers, man. I salute you.

    • Honesty can reveal some ugly and awkward things. But as I always note, even the best things in life aren’t all sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. At least that’s what my two-year-old son and creating my own product prove. Still, this has been so worth it and I’m super jazzed to help people via Start Investing with $100! Thanks for the kudos friend.

  11. Gary Korisko says:

    Congrats, Joel.

    As you know, I’m working on a new site launch – and what you’ve pulled off here looks like a much more daunting task than I’m up against.

    The SIW100 site looks fantastic!

    • It’s debatable whether relaunching my website as Value of Simple in July was tougher to pull off than SIW100. But who’s keeping score as long as we’re all coming out ahead in the end. :)

      I’m looking forward to seeing your new site when it’s live Gary!

  12. I’ll answer your question, Joel, knowing that I’m willing to pay your price when I’m ready, even if I don’t get a free ride.

    My wife and I went thru financial hell as a result of the 2008 meltdown. We were yet another statistic, on the brink of bankruptcy and foreclosure.

    We didn’t lose everything, in the end — but only because my wife managed to land an even better job than the one she had lost nearly two years earlier.

    When our finances fell apart, we sought help via Dave Ramsey’s wonderful Financial Peace program. Two years later we are still trying to pay off our debts, but we have an Emergency Fund for the first time in our lives. We stopped taking on new debt at that time, too.

    Now we are ready to take control of our future, not just the present. With solid investments based on educated decisions, we will finally be able to make sense of our fiscal lives.

    We’ll be able to plan for large purchases or needed expenses. We’ll have an actual retirement fund, and some idea of how to achieve realistic goals for life after the grind.

    We’ll mix sensible long-term investing with recognized risk-taking for short-term growth, and consider investment vehicles that most people are unaware of. We’ll do all of that with our eyes open, instead of handing our money to a manager and forgetting it.

    It’s all about directing your own prosperity and paying attention to opportunities, and being prepared for the next disaster. Few people can do this without good advice or without taking the time to learn. I know my own knowledge falls far short of what’s needed to make smart decisions.

    That’s where YOU come in, Joel. I know you can help, without fleecing our life savings on the sly. Best of luck with your program as you continue to grow and improve it.

  13. I love the honesty here, Joel. The process of creating and publishing is very difficult, and we don’t always get to see rewards right away. I think your commitment will be the differentiating factor that sees this project through to success.

    Thanks for letting us see the process by the product!

    • Definitely Michael. I’m not an immediate kind of success guy so I would think I did something wrong (or got very lucky) if I found it quickly. As for letting everyone see the process, I love that stuff! I love seeing the behind-the-scenes and origin stories of how things were created and what went into it. Other people do too which is why I enjoy bringing people behind the curtain to see a not-so-secret trick.

  14. Amit Amin says:

    How would your life improve if you started (or restarted) investing with solid principles and new skills?

    I would have fewer headaches. My parents routinely nag me to put more of my money into my investment account. Twice in my life, I’ve had to withdraw money from an investment account because of money emergencies just months after putting the money in, so I’ve gotten paranoid/lazy with my savings account.


    I’m super excited to see you’re treating this like a software launch! I can’t wait to see how amazing this product ends up.

  15. Tammy Renzi says:

    Wow, Joel! Congratulations! I am with Sarah – just love your honesty and transparency about the project. I think that is part of the appeal.

    We humans like to see the “how” of it all. Or at least I do!

    • Some of the “how” is really, really boring. Like spending 40 hours doing research and data entry. :) But the story of the “how” is important to tell and I’m glad you’re appreciating my story so far. There are many chapters that I want to write and the good news is I have a platform to do it on.

  16. Congratulations on the launch! Investing and money management is so important. They really need to teach it in schools.

    I read Ramit Sethi’s book this year and I wish it had been available when I graduated, but in my 20s I wasn’t focused on saving and investing, which in reality was a big mistake.

  17. Peter Rorvig says:

    Joel…I really appreciated your post. I have an account with ING…easy to set up small accounts for the kids, anniversary, etc. Easy to set aside 10 dollars a week…builds fast, painless. I’ve started a blog recently…lots of random thoughts and concerns…money being an issue for a young family I find myself talking about it from time to time. Thankyou for your blog…found it through an article by Joshua Becker. I bookmarked your blog.

    • Hi Peter,

      A lot of folks have been finding me through Joshua and Courtney Carver lately. I’m grateful for that and grateful to you for sharing a bit of your family’s situation. Way to go on socking away some money for your kids’ future needs and a little fun. I’d love to see you earning more than what I imagine is less than 1% on the money you’re saving though. But what you’re doing is getting you on the right track with some room for improvement (and who doesn’t have room for improvement, right?).

      • Peter Rorvig says:

        Joel…thanks for the follow up…not a whole lot of return on the little accounts…or on the Thrift Savings Plan I participate in…or on anything out there right now, really…so any help is pretty fantastic. The real bonus for me with what I’m doing now is that all the ways I’m saving (pretty different from investing…but ,like you said, it is a start) are automatic. For things to be automatic, but with a higher yield would be a lot better. I’ll dig in to what your saying on your blog. thanks again, Peter

  18. Patti says:

    Congratulations! Looks like you’ve put a lot of research and work into your program. Everyone with a large portfolio started somewhere and $100.00 sounds like the perfect place to start.

    • Thanks Patti! Yeah, I put a ton of work into this and I’m pumped up about how this all worked out. Hopefully the folks with the $100 portfolios today will send me an email in a decade letting me know how much getting started did for them. That’s a big goal of mine.

  19. Jovell says:

    Hi Joel,

    This looks like a good opportunity. I’ve been contemplating on investing just a few months ago but my husband is always skeptical about foreign currency exchange or even investing in mutual funds because we might lose the money. Maybe a post about how to initially alleviate your fear or something like that could help undecided people like me.

    By the way, thanks for dropping by my blog earlier :)

    • Hi Jovell,

      Your husband has a reason to be skeptical of a lot of the tools of investing. The toolkit presented to us is much too big to manage and much to advanced for the normal person to wield properly. That’s why I’m about simplifying the toolkit and how you use the remaining tools.

      Your fear about losing money with investing is also warranted. But the fear your purchasing power won’t keep up with inflation and taxes – something investing is great at fighting – might be a more legitimate one. Although I didn’t do a written post on alleviating fear with investing, I did do a podcast that covers the topic and a whole lot more. Check out the show notes here or, if you’d rather read the transcript, have a look here.

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