Personal finance is a pretty broad term; it encompasses everything from retirement planning, insurance, savings, investments, budgeting, banking, and tax planning.
The entire personal finance industry is so broad that professionals make careers out of advising individuals and businesses in different areas (financial advisors, insurance salespeople, investment brokers, accountants, .etc).
Here at Paychecks and Balances, we believe every individual, no matter their financial education, income, or background, can set achievable financial goals and begin growing their wealth for generations to come.
To create a concrete plan within your financial abilities, the most crucial step is to become literate in the arena of personal finance.
If you’re a beginner who wants to become financially aware so you can prioritize your finances and make the best decisions for yourself and your money, then you’re in the right place.
5 Resources for Beginners to Learn About Money
Whether you have short or long-term financial goals and needs or if you simply want to dip your toes into the financial world and get the basic knowledge to get by, we’ve created a list of the best resources for beginners like you.
1. For the Research-Faithful Looking to Redefine their Financial Understanding
The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) is as legit as it sounds. In 1972 it created the first officially certified financial education program, which later helped establish the concept of financial planning as a profession.
Their services and initiatives aim to inform consumers, especially those in marginalized groups, about the importance of financial planning and education. All their information is research-driven, focusing on redefining people’s financial knowledge and understanding.
This research-based quiz aims at helping individuals understand, at the most basic and sociological level, how and why they make the financial decisions they make.
Better understanding what drives you will allow you to make better choices, change your outcomes, and improve your financial plan and experience.
These graphics and presentations aim at giving more context to how certain factors affect an individual’s financial well-being and present concepts to help you create and achieve tangible financial goals and outcomes.
These 40 money management tips are much more than just 40 brief bullet points; they’re research-based, comprehensive, and detailed tips covering every personal finance topic from student loans to credit cards and mortgages.
It was created for young adults, and the first ten tips revolve around college costs and such, but the rest are ultra-helpful tips to any individual.
2. For the Bookworm Who Wants a Comprehensive Financial Education
CashCourse is a comprehensive online financial education resource, created by NEFE and The Higher Education Financial Wellness Alliance (HEFW).
CashCourse is entirely free, and its lessons and resources revolve around six prominent areas in personal finance: Earning, Saving and Investing, Protecting, Spending, Borrowing, and Paying off Debt.
The CashCourse site resembles a school dashboard where you can track your activity, set up a profile, and create a lesson plan that focuses on what financial areas you’re most interested in learning about.
They also have automated financial tools to help you use the information you’re learning and apply it to your real situation.
3. For the Tech-Driven that Want to Prioritize Budgeting
Mint is an all-in-one app that’s a one-stop-shop for everything concerning your financial life (spending, balances, budgets, credit score, etc). It’s a free and easy-to-use platform allowing you to connect all of your accounts (checking, loans, investments, etc.) to get an in-depth view of your finances.
Their Budget Categorization system allows you to track and budget according to your specific need. While the Bill Payment Tracker is an amazing feature that keeps all your bills in one place. Mint also offers Financial Coaching at affordable prices in case you need on-on-one help from a professional
Smart Spending Tools
Mint also offers automated tools to help you manage your larger assets and finances. Like their Home Affordability Calculator, which allows you realistically determine how much you can afford on your dream house. Or their Loan Repayment Calculator, which helps you browse the best loan options and figure out the smartest path to repayment.
4. For the Optimists Ready to Start Investing
The Motley Fool is a platform that seeks to offer accessible financial advice about investing to people of all backgrounds and experience levels. They offer advice packages in a range of prices (Their free resources are particularly effective). Motley Fool has a true-and-tried investing philosophy that has given them their stellar reputation in all things investing.
Their intro to investing resources are very accessible to all experience levels. They have Investing 101, Stock Market 101, How to Invest in Stocks—all the basics you need to know, complete with graphics and videos to help your understanding.
Saving and Retirement
Part of the Motley Fool’s MO is saving and preparing for retirement. Their Retirement 101 resources cover topics as basic as “why you need to start saving for retirement,” and they keep it relevant to saving and retiring in this modern era.
5. For the Purist that Wants all the In-depth Finance Facts
If you’re looking for the more fundamental economic facts and information about personal finance there are two databases offering completely unbiased and objective information on everything from mutual funds to return on capital—and if you have no idea what either of those things are then check these links out.
The SEC created this roadmap in PDF form in 2011 to promote information individuals can use to secure their financial well-being. The SEC enforces laws that protect investors, and this brochure gives you the in-depth knowledge to protect yourself and make better-informed decisions regarding budgeting, saving and investing.
Kahn Academy is a non-profit organization that offers tutoring and lessons on all areas of study. They might sound appropriate for a 12-year-old, but their Finance and Economics section is useful to any beginner that wants to learn the basics from the home buying process to the definition of a Hedge Fund, to the difference between cash and accrual accounting.
Excellent personal finance resources for beginners are out there and ready for you to dive into. And you don’t have to look too far either.
Find More Balance has a whole database full of articles and resources to help individuals who are new to money management and get them on the path to financial independence.