Six Invaluable Online Resources For Personal Finance Education

Occasionally, I bump into web sites and information collections online that are truly impressive in the quality and usefulness of the content. Along with a handful of books, these web sites serve as the primary reference source for the material I write for The Simple Dollar.

Here’s the cream of the crop of online resources for personal finance education. I’ve read through each of these resources in detail and used them time and time again as references for things I”ve written. I hope you find them to be useful as well.

CNNMoney’s Money 101
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/money101/index.html
If you’re just getting started learning about how to manage your money, how credit cards really work, and things like this, CNNMoney’s Money 101 tutorial is a stellar place to get started. The material is neatly broken up into 23 lessons, each of which can be read through in fifteen minutes or so – in other words, it’s a great place to bookmark and go through slowly.

Morningstar’s Investment Classroom
http://www.morningstar.com/Cover/Classroom.html
This is a great place to get started learning about how stocks and bonds work, what mutual funds are and how they work, and how to start investing. Better yet, if you go through the entire course, you can earn “credits,” which allow you to get up to sixty days worth of Premium Morningstar.com for free – which can be invaluable information if you’re just beginning to invest and are picking your first mutual fund.

Yahoo! Finance’s Index of Experts
http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/index
Whenever I’m struggling for insight into a particular idea, I usually turn here to look for perspectives on that idea. Digging around in the archives will almost always help you find a mountain of interesting articles to read, no matter what your specific interest is. I can usually find several different well-written perspectives on whatever my topic might be.

Bankrate.com Financial Calculators
http://www.bankrate.com/brm/rate/calc_home.asp
Quite often on The Simple Dollar, I talk about “running the numbers.” Usually for me, that means one of two things: firing up Microsoft Excel or using one of Bankrate.com’s stellar calculator tools. I actually find that, in some cases, the calculators here are more convenient and useful than the equivalent calculators in Excel.

PFBlogs.org
http://www.pfblogs.org
PFBlogs.org is an aggregator of a huge number of personal finance blogs. Although you can’t read full posts there, it’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of what personal finance bloggers are writing about at any given moment. The “recently popular” page there is usually a good place to find fresh, sharp opinions on personal finance topics.

Investopedia University
http://www.investopedia.com/university/
Once you’ve finished that Morningstar Investment Classroom, this is the next step. It covers a lot of advanced investment topics in a tutorial-like fashion, digging deep into investment theory and how to apply it. I’m still actually absorbing some of this material as I educate myself on how to invest my family’s money as we emerge from debt.

If you have online resources that you find particularly useful, please mention them in the comments!

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