Two of My Favorite Websites to Learn about Personal Finance
Updated: Apr 8, 2021
It's Financial Literacy Month! See, not only does April bring flowers, baseball, and longer days, but it brings you one of the most financially advantageous holidays. How to celebrate? Well, learn about personal finance of course! Look, I know you expect every blogger/writer to brag about their own website as being the place to go for financial advice, but I’m not going to waste your time with that. While I work very hard to provide my readers with concise, practical, and unique advice that helped me get to the position I’m in, I’m sure my site is not the best. No one can say they have the best knowledge, or advice, it’s all relative and subjective, right? Sometimes, you find websites that give you exactly what you are looking for, and provide context, references, or examples to make them easier to understand. Personal finance is hard enough to grasp for many people. There are questions on taxes, refinancing debt, estate planning, business insurance, you name it. Then throw investments in there and it makes it even more complex. Where to even begin? Yes there are TONS of books out there, and I am a fan of many of them. However, what about when you just have a random question while applying for something online and want to search for it in Google? What source do you trust? Government websites such as investor.gov are great starting points, but often they lack the engaging user experience and scope of different options. For what it’s worth, these two websites were instrumental in helping me figure out financial topics for my own.
1) Investopedia.com - I first came across this website when I was studying for my Masters in Financial Planning, and then for my CFP. It has an exceptionally expansive collection of educational articles and definitions for everything related to financial planning and investments. It lays things out in easy-to-understand terms, with definitions and hyperlinks to related content. The formatting is easy to read, with “Key Takeaways” in each section that enable you to find the most relevant information easily. Investopedia is always thorough, and from what I’ve seen so far, unbiased. It’s a great place to start to learn basic financial terminology, such as what an IRA is, the difference between a mutual fund and ETF, what a limit order is, or different asset classes. I have found it to be very objective in providing clear definitions of financial concepts, as well as examples, and then pivots to another relevant concept you might be interested in. In addition, it has a cool “Stock Simulator” to help you get acquainted with investing in the market without risking real money, as well as a ranking tool for things like savings accounts and credit cards!
2) NerdWallet.com - NerdWallet is similar to Investopedia in a lot of ways, being very user-friendly, comprehensive and straightforward information on a multitude of financial topics. Where they really shine, is they provide very thorough and easy-to-understand reviews of various banks, credit cards, brokerage accounts, mortgages, etc. They rank them, give them a review, and list the pros and cons, saving you a lot of time when you just want to find the best auto loan lender. In addition, they have very informative articles on topics you may not find elsewhere, such as using credit cards to pay off a car loan and “How to pause, cancel or reduce your car insurance” The articles are just the right length in my opinion, easy to understand and provide context that helps you understand their rationale. Many times, we think of questions that don’t have a yes or no answer, or a number, associated with them. They are more philosophical or involve comprehensive critical thinking. The articles on NerdWallet, I have found, really take these bigger questions head-on and break them down into manageable topics. They also have some of the most useful calculators, such as how much mortgage you can afford, a capital gains calculator, and even how much life insurance you should apply for. The nice thing is they review offers and make recommendations based on their own objective review, and may receive money if you click through to the vendor. However, companies can’t pay to be placed higher on their rankings or anything like that. The recommendations NerdWallet makes are solely at the discretion of their staff.