American Association of Individual Investors

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American Association of Individual Investors
Genre Investment
Founded 1978
Founder Dr. James Cloonan, PhD
Headquarters Chicago, United States
Key people
John Bajkowski (president)

The American Association of Individual Investors is a nonprofit organization with about 150,000 members[1] whose purpose is to educate individual investors regarding stock market portolios, financial planning, and retirement accounts.[2] AAII “assists individuals in becoming effective managers of their own assets through programs of education, information and research.” [3] The organization markets itself as an unbiased source of investment information because of its not-for-profit status.

The organization was founded by James Cloonan, Ph.D. in 1978. Over the last thirty years, AAII’s members report “investment returns that are consistently higher than those of the stock market as a whole” [2] (using the S&P 500 as reference). Since 2003, AAII has maintained two real portfolios—a shadow stock portfolio and a mutual fund portfolio – for education purposes. These portfolios’ returns and contents are available online and, the site reports, have outperformed the market considerably over the course of their existence.[4]

Membership[edit] is the organization's main outlet for their educational materials. While it does offer some completely free information, requiring no registration or membership dues, a large portion of the site requires free registration or membership. AAII's best and premium content is made available only to members, who pay fees starting at $29 a year. For this fee, they receive the AAII Journal (the organization's monthly ad-free magazine), access to the organization's model portfolios, techniques for screening stocks, free investment courses, and other benefits.[5] For members interested in using their computers as an investment resource, AAII offers the Computerized Investing journal and microsite for an additional annual fee.[5]


  • Syndicated columnist Humberto Cruz has mentioned AAII in his investment advice columns: In a comparison between's investment education and, he wrote, "For my money, I prefer AAII."[6]
  • has earned a "Best of the Web" award from Forbes.[1]
  • AAII's “Sentiment Survey”, which is a weekly poll (indicator) of its members' opinion on where the market will be in six months, is often written about by financial bloggers and other personal investment organizations, who consider the survey to be among the best of contrarian indicators.[7][8][9][10]
  • was mentioned in a June 2006 Newsweek article: "If you want more-technical information, try the American Association of Individual Investors".[11]
  • was treated more critically by Johnathan Ping in his Mymoneyblog, which not only details the 2009 revenue to salary and marketing costs of the organization, but argues that the performance claims of the AAII portfolios are not entirely honest.[12]

Local chapters[edit]

Many of AAII's members have created local chapters which meet from time to time to listen to speakers and discuss investment. AAII has a page on their website which lists all of these events, organized by city.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b " Best of the Web - AAII". Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  2. ^ a b James Cloonan, PhD. "About AAII". AAII Website. 
  3. ^ Better Business Bureau. "BBB Review of American Association of Individual Investors". 
  4. ^ "Introduction to Model Portfolios". AAII Website. 
  5. ^ a b "Join AAII". AAII Website. 
  6. ^ Humberto Cruz. "Humberto Cruz: Long-term investing or out for the quick buck?". [dead link]
  7. ^ Peter Birchler. "Sentiment Surveys and the VIX". 
  8. ^ "Sentiment Overview: Week of February 13th, 2009". 
  9. ^ "AAII Sentiment Survey". 
  10. ^ "Chiconomics 101: Stocking Up". Archived from the original on July 8, 2011. 
  11. ^ Linda Stern. "Money: Invest The Time Yourself". 
  12. ^ Jonathan Ping. "American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Review – The Numbers Behind The Non-Profit".