Learning about various financial topics—personal finance, saving and investing, buying a home, retirement planning, the stock and bond markets, tax-shielding strategies, to name a few—is essential to well-informed, successful financial decision-making. Financial literacy is a key to achieving important financial goals over the course of your entire life.
What are the best resources for improving your financial literacy? How can you take your financial know-how to the next level? We’re partial to a certain finance website, of course, but the reality is that there are a number of tools that are well worth your time.
Here are some resources that we recommend you explore.
Find a Good Book
For anyone trying to build their financial literacy, one place to start is with a good book. The big advantages of print are that you can go at your own pace and home in on the topics that interest you the most. Most public libraries should have a sizeable selection of publications on financial topics.
Personal Finance for Dummies
Sure, opening up a book designed for “dummies” takes some humility, but those who dig through author Eric Tyson’s expansive tome are usually rewarded. At more than 400 pages, Tyson covers it all—from budgeting and investing in mutual funds to understanding different types of insurance as well as discussing the tax changes that resulted from the 2018 tax legislation. Other topics include cryptocurrency, technology, and even millennial lifestyle changes. Don’t expect a deep dive into every topic. However, for a quick introduction to key concepts, it’s a good place to start. Keep your eyes open for the 2023 edition.
Your Money or Your Life
This book by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez defined the financial independence, retire early (FIRE) movement often tied to the millennial generation. The main goal of FIRE is to save 25 times annual expenses and to withdraw 4% as retirement income. This savings goal requires a very frugal lifestyle and a firm commitment to the system. The book was fully revised in 2018 and is a great financial literacy resource for the topic of personal finance.
I Will Teach You to Be Rich
When a book on finances is described as breezy and irreverent, one might think it not worth reading. In this case, one might be wrong. Remit Seth’s self-described “no guilt, no excuses, no BS, just a 6-week program that works” quickly became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. It’s a go-to resource that coaches readers to earn more, save more, and live a rich life. The revised 2019 second edition teaches you how to choose the right accounts and investments so that your money grows for you—automatically.
Subscribe to a Newspaper or Magazine
With so much great content available on the web, forking over money for a print newspaper or magazine might seem antiquated. Still, finding a publication in your mailbox every day, week, or month may keep you from falling off the finance wagon for too long.
In addition, newspapers and magazines have a way of introducing you to topics and ideas that you might not have sought out on your own. Below are some of the best when it comes to developing your financial acumen.
The Wall Street Journal
One of the leading daily newspapers in the world, the Wall Street Journal has covered business, financial, and economic news since its founding in 1889. For those seeking to improve their financial literacy, this newspaper (available as a digital version, as well) provides extensive daily coverage of business news, economic events, investing, and the markets.
There are other publications that offer personal finance information, but Kiplinger is the only print magazine left that’s focused entirely on investing and money management. Unlike a number of other finance publications clearly geared toward business readers, Kiplinger has always focused on clear-cut advice for everyday investors. Published monthly, it contains articles on investments, tax strategies, estate planning, and more.
For someone with a fairly strong grasp of how markets work, Barron’s is a great tool for tracking specific industries and companies. The weekly magazine offers stock picks, breakdowns of top-selling mutual funds, and other actionable content designed to give active investors an edge.
Compared to the other publications on this list, The Economist is a monthly that casts a broader net. Readers will find articles on economics as well as politics, technology, and the arts. It’s not the straightforward advice-based content you’ll find in, say, Kiplinger. But for readers hoping to get a sense of events shaping the global markets, this U.K.-based magazine is a treasure.
Bookmark a Website
There is an enormous amount of content online for those who want to improve their financial literacy. However, where to spend your valuable time is the question. Here are some suggested sites to start with.
Financial Literacy Resource Directory
Developed by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, this directory provides consumers with a great opportunity to explore a large selection of financial literacy resources arranged by topic. Visitors can find an assortment of educational resources on basic financial capability, credit management, home buying, retirement and financial security, and financial literacy programs/toolkits for youths.
Better Investing was established by the National Association of Investors (NAIC). The mission of the NAIC is to offer individuals an unbiased investing education. It focuses on providing information and useful online stock analysis tools that help people to learn about investing and reach financial goals. Its many resources include articles, classes, stock reports, publications, investor clubs, and webinars.
American Association of Individual Investors
AAII is a membership organization that’s dedicated to providing individual investors with the information they need to make informed investment decisions and reach important financial objectives. Some may consider it most useful for those with investment experience, although its target market includes novices. AAII’s website and monthly journal are packed with information about a range of topics, from coverage of current events, investing for beginners, and personal finance to stocks, bond, mutual funds, ETFs, dividend reinvesting, retirement income, tax strategies, and much more.
CONCLUSION In the end I would like to conclude this article by saying that Improving your financial literacy is a must in order to possess and build on the knowledge you need to develop healthy money habits and invest wisely. Books, magazines, and financially-focused websites abound. With the growth of podcasts, and other digital media, there are more places than ever to get the valuable information that can enhance your financial literacy.