Though April 2008 isn’t officially National Financial Literacy Month in the United States, many organizations are still treating it as such. (Here in Oregon, for example, it is again statewide financial literacy month.) Because I think basic financial literacy is imperative, I will devote the next few weeks to covering the fundamentals of personal finance. If you have a topic you’d like me to write about, please let me know.
To begin, however, here’s an overview of financial literacy resources I’ve shared in the past.
Saving and Investing
Last April, I shared a series of videos from author Michael Fischer. Though designed as companions to his book, Saving and Investing, these short pieces stand on their own. Look past the fact that these aren’t polished and professional — Michael provides some excellent information. Here are links to each part in the series:
- The power of compounding
- Providers and users of capital
- The difference between debt and equity
- What is leverage?
- An introduction to financial statements
- Why do financial markets exist?
- What is a bond?
- What is a stock?
- What is a stock market index?
- The importance of diversification
- What is a mutual fund?
- Types of mutual funds
- The difference between active and passive management
- An introduction to dollar-cost averaging
- The impact of time
- The three enemies of growth
- Coping with high-interest debt
- Getting started
- 5 popular misconceptions about money
Get Rich Slowly
This site regularly features articles about basic personal finance skills. Some of the best from the past two years include:
- 8 ways to take charge of your finances — Eight simple but effective steps you can take to seize control of your money instead of letting your money control you.
- The most important money tip — Spend less than you earn!
- How to get out of debt — Debt elimination involves three steps: stop acquiring new debt; establish an emergency fund; and implement a debt snowball. Here’s how to approach each step.
- How to organize your finances in four easy steps.
- Track every penny you spend — Tracking your spending helps to demystify money. You begin to perceive it as a tool. You gain a sense of power.
- Budgeting for non-budgeters.
- Anatomy of a credit score and How to obtain your free credit report.
- The road to wealth is paved with goals — Goals are the fundamental building blocks of success.
- What is a Roth IRA and why should you care? — Saving for retirement is one of the most important steps you can take toward financial security. A Roth IRA is an excellent way to do this.
As a general rule, the basics category here at Get Rich Slowly contains information about fundamental financial literacy.
Other web sites
There are other excellent financial literacy resources around the web.
- CNNMoney has an outstanding overview of basic personal finance topics called Money 101. Each of the 23 topics includes several pages of information, and many of the subjects include an interactive calculator or tool.
- The Federal government has a website called MyMoney.gov, which is “dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education.”
- The Federal government also provides the Federal Citizen Information Center, which offers free (or cheap) publications on a variety of topics including personal finance. Many of these publications are available in free PDF versions.
- Both Illinois and Wisconsin have sites devoted to personal finance education. These two pages contain a wealth of links to information on many subjects.
- 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy is a site from the American institute of CPAs. It includes many articles on various life stages such as “college”, “couples & marriage”, “home ownership”, etc. A clunky interface, but a lot of solid information.
- Ramit at I Will Teach You to Be Rich has The world’s easiest guide to understanding retirement accounts.
- Rhetorical Device offers A brief history of money. This is actual history. It’s a short article, but fascinating.
Between the Saving and Investing video series, the GRS basics archive, and the other sites I’ve linked here, you have a wealth of personal finance material at your disposal. I look forward to writing more about financial literacy during the month of April!
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