For Fools who are interested in forming an investment club, here are a few tips to help you get started.

Begin by gathering around six to 15 interested people. Discuss your goals and expectations, making sure they're compatible. Don't actually form the club until you're sure you're all committed to it.

Agree on the amount of the monthly contribution per person and where and when you'll meet. Choose a name for your club, elect officers, and file for a Tax Identification Number via IRS Form SS-4 (which you can download directly from the IRS website).

Draft a partnership agreement and bylaws. Open a brokerage account. (Alternatively, you might create a less-formal club, which learns and researches together but stops short of investing actual money together.)

Start meetings on time and stick to your agenda. If learning about investing is one of your club's goals, you might elect an education officer to organize lessons for the group. Members can each read a book or article on investing or business and then report back to the group. Or distribute some required reading at each meeting to be discussed at the next. One member might learn how to calculate some stock valuation ratios and then teach fellow club members. You can all go on a field trip to a local company or stock exchange. Or visit a local library together and ask the librarian to show you some useful reference materials, such as Value Line stock reports. Consider inviting some guest speakers as well, such as a veteran investor, a member of a more-experienced investment club, or someone who works in an industry you're thinking of investing in. These activities help keep interest high among members.

Research stocks Foolishly, studying companies' financial statements, competitive positioning, and business strategy. Just about all the information you need to evaluate a company is available online. Visit our Investment Club area, and let us open a Fool discussion board exclusively for your club. Being able to take care of some business online between meetings can help make your face-to-face time more productive.

There are a few perils you'll want to avoid:

  • Don't under-delegate. Each member should be an active participant.

  • Don't be impatient. Focus on long-term rewards.

  • Don't be "all business." Have fun, offer refreshments, and socialize -- perhaps even with another local club.

Learn a lot more about investment clubs in our Investment Club area and on our Investment Clubs discussion board, where helpful fellow Fools can answer your questions. A key club resource is the National Association of Investors -- check it out. And finally, here's a previous Fool article listing additional investment club resources.