The Best Free Resources to Start Investing

If you feel like investing is a confusing topic, filled with tons of jargon and endless complexity, you’re not alone. According to a survey by Ally Bank, 61% of adults find investing in the stock market “scary or intimidating.” Compounding that problem is the importance of investing. From that same survey, a majority of Americans (and 70% of millennials) recognize that they need to be more financially secure someday, but they don’t know how to get there.

The solution to both problems is to start learning about investing. Here, we’ve collected some of the best resources for learning about investing, including online resources, books and podcasts. Many of these are great investing resources for beginners, while others serve to deepen understanding of investing or serve as an all-around reference.

If you’re intimidated by investing, this is the place to start.

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In this article

    Online resources for learning about investing

    This collection of some of the best online resources for learning about investing includes videos, online classes, and written material that you can access for free.

    Online investing resources for beginners

    If you are a beginner investor, start with some of these options.

    • BYU’s Personal Finance for Self-Reliance is an online course that walks through some basic personal finance principles as a bedrock for some of the later lessons, which dig deeper into investing. Follow this up with its Money Wise Financial Course.
    • You can also use The Simple Dollar’s Teen’s Guide to Investing in Stocks and ETFs — it’s a perfect choice for young investors who want to take their first steps into putting their money to work for them.
    • Udemy’s Basic Investing Concepts course covers the ideas of investing, then effectively translates those ideas into practical steps you can use.
    • The University of Illinois’ Financial Planning for Young Adults class is a great overall introduction to personal finance and particularly investing. The investing material does not kick in fully until the sixth module, but it builds wonderfully on the earlier concepts.

    If you’re looking specifically for a place to start investing yourself, our lists of the best online brokers for beginners and best investing apps can help.

    [ More: 12 Things You Need to Know Before Investing in Stocks ]

    Online investing resources for intermediate investors

    If you feel confident with the basics of investing, take a look at some of these free resources.

    [ See: Pop Culture Trends and the Stock Market ]

    Investing books

    Your local library is full of great books on investing. If you learn best from the written word, here are some great choices.

    Best investing resources for beginners at the library or bookstore

    For beginners, look for these three books.

    • Investing for Dummies” by Eric Tyson is a great all-around beginner’s book on investing topics, covering everything from stocks to real estate and from wealth building and early retirement to retirement planning.
    • A Beginner’s Guide to the Stock Market” by Matthew Kratter focuses specifically on stock market investing, applying a great teaching perspective from the first page.
    • Investing 101” by Michele Cagan does delve into some more advanced topics by the end, but the entire book is written in a wonderful hands-on way that will click really well for those who learn best by example.

    Best book resources for intermediate investors

    Those who already understand the basics of investing may want to turn to these books.

    • The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing” by Larimore, Lindauer, and LeBoeuf is a thorough guide to low-cost index-based investing, taking a whole-life approach starting with lifestyle choices and moving that through everything you need to know about different aspects of investing for value.
    • The Simple Path to Wealth” by J.L. Collins rides the fine line between beginner and intermediate, with Collins’ approachable voice doing a wonderful job of making some more complex aspects of investing clear.

    [ Next: What to Do If Your Retirement Goal Is Too High ]

    Investing podcasts

    Perhaps you learn best by listening and want material to listen to during your commute or while walking. While audiobook versions of the above books are great, consider choosing a podcast or two as well. Here are two great options that made it on our list of the best financial podcasts for 2021.

    • Chit Chat Money,” hosted by Brett Schafer and Ryan Henderson, spends each episode digging into a basic investing topic or applying the topics from previous episodes to a specific investment, and do it with a great lighthearted and conversational tone.
    • Wealth, Taxes, and Finances” with John Cindia talks about investment topics from two important perspectives — retirement and taxes — but renders those complex issues into simple explanations that feel like a breath of fresh air.

    [ For You: Best Free Stock Trading Brokers ]

    We welcome your feedback on this article. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

    Trent Hamm

    Founder & Columnist

    Trent Hamm founded The Simple Dollar in 2006 and still writes a daily column on personal finance. He’s the author of three books published by Simon & Schuster and Financial Times Press, has contributed to Business Insider, US News & World Report, Yahoo Finance, and Lifehacker, and his financial advice has been featured in The New York Times, TIME, Forbes, The Guardian, and elsewhere.

    Reviewed by

    • Courtney Mihocik
      Courtney Mihocik
      Loans Editor

      Courtney Mihocik is an editor at The Simple Dollar who specializes in personal loans, student loans, auto loans, and debt consolidation loans. She is a former writer and contributing editor to Interest.com, PersonalLoans.org, and elsewhere.