Ease of Use
In the market for a service that can help you plan out your investments? AAII, the American Association of Individual Investors, is an online service designed to do just that. This service includes a variety of features for investors such as stock and ETF screeners, model portfolios, investing ideas, a portfolio tracking tool, and educational resources. Will this platform meet your needs? Read our in-depth AAII review to learn more before you decide.
AAII – the American Association of Individual Investors – is an online service that helps you plan out investments. The platform includes stock and ETF screeners, investing ideas, and model portfolios, plus dozens of educational resources for new investors.
AAII offers a number of different paid services that offer access to different portfolios and tools. In our AAII review, we’ll focus specifically on what you get with an AAII membership and the A+ Investor service.
AAII Pricing Options
AAII offers a 2-month trial that includes membership and A+ Investor for $2. After the trial, membership costs $49 per year and A+ Investor costs $149 per year. You must purchase a membership in order to subscribe to A+ Investor.
One key resource you get with an AAII membership is access to the AAII journal. The journal is designed to educate investors about the range of options available to them and isn’t a stock-picking newsletter. Topics covered in the journal include retirement accounts, financial statement analysis, bond investing, and dividend investing. New issues of the journal are issued monthly and are available online.
AAII has several model portfolios that you can follow along with or borrow ideas from.
The most popular portfolio is the Shadow Stock Portfolio, which launched in 1993 and has delivered an annual rate of return of 15.3% over the past 28 years (compared to 10.4% for the S&P 500). The portfolio focuses on undervalued small-cap stocks that are typically overlooked by larger firms. It has around 30 holdings, many of which have been in the portfolio for several years or longer.
AAII also runs the Superstars Portfolio, which uses stock picks from 4 investing gurus to beat the market. The portfolio includes stock picks from William O’Neil, the creator of the CANSLIM investing strategy; David Dreman, who focuses on undervalued stocks; James O’Shaughnessy, a famed technical analyst; and John Neff, a former Vanguard fund manager who focuses on stocks with a low P/E ratio.
The Superstars Portfolio has matched the performance of the Dow Jones index since its inception over 20 years ago. However, you can also view individual portfolios for each of the 4 guru investors, and these have each beaten the market. For example, John Neff’s individual portfolio has produced a gain of 774% since its inception compared to 499% for the Dow Jones index.
AAI releases monthly updates on all of its model portfolios, making it easy to follow changes over time. You can also sign up for email updates to stay on top of the portfolios.
AAII offers several different screeners to help you find investments.
The first screening tool is a custom stock screener. You can choose from a variety of fundamental metrics, including dividend growth, earnings growth, and financial strength. The screener doesn’t include any technical indicators, although you can screen based on recent stock performance. Any screen can be saved for future use.
There’s also a stock grades screener, which lets you filter stocks based on how AAII grades them on 5 different categories: value, growth, momentum, earnings estimate revisions, and overall quality. You can access these same grades from the custom stock screener, but the grades screener offers a simpler and more visual approach that makes it easy to find high-quality stocks.
AAII even has premade stock screeners based on famous stock guru’s strategies. For example, there’s a screen for small-cap value stocks based on the criteria that James O’Shaughnessy uses to select stocks. You can’t adjust these screens or even see the settings that go into them, but you can get a list of all stocks that currently pass the screen to jumpstart your own research.
AAII offers a portfolio tracking tool to help you keep track of your investments. The portfolio tool will analyze how diversified your portfolio is, as well as offer news and grades for each of the stocks in your portfolio. There’s no limit to the number of portfolios you can have and each portfolio can have 200 stocks. The only catch is that you can’t import data about your holdings from a broker or spreadsheet.
AAII Platform Differentiators
None of the tools that AAII offers are especially unique. However, it’s unusual to see so many tools – model portfolios, stock screeners, stock picks from professional investors, and a monthly investing journal – all in one place, and at such an affordable price. If you’re just getting started out with investing, this suite of tools can be extremely useful.
On top of that, AAII makes it relatively easy to find stocks to invest in. You can borrow ideas from the model portfolios or run a simple screen to find companies that some of the world’s top investing gurus are looking at. As you put together a portfolio, you can track your performance and ensure that your investments remain diversified.
What Type of Trader is AAII Best For?
AAII is best for long-term investors who want an inexpensive way to access professional stock research and analysis tools. The platform offers a grab bag of features and doesn’t appear to be geared towards any single type of investing goal. In fact, it seems unlikely that a single investor will use all of the resources available to AAII members.
However, given the relatively low cost of membership, AAII can be worthwhile even if you just need a portion of the tools on offer. For example, AAII’s stock screener is cheaper than many alternative screeners, while the model portfolios are significantly less costly than most stock-picking newsletters. AAII can also be a good option for new investors who can take advantage of the platform’s educational resources, although many of these are free.
- Educational resources for new investors
- Multiple model portfolios that have outperformed the market
- Fundamental and grades-based stock screeners
- Track custom portfolios and watchlists
- Inexpensive annual subscription with $2 trial
- Doesn’t integrate with any brokers
- Website is difficult to navigate
- Not geared towards any specific investment goal