While the basic principles of personal finance should be taught in school (if not already) it is also something we need to consider from time to time. On the one hand there’s the most basic concepts of budgeting, paying bills and living within our means. From there we learn to think about saving, the importance of credit scores and hopefully the dangers and many pitfalls of loans and credit cards.
Eventually some of us move on to the more complex realm of investing. But for so many others, because this topic is so distant and overwhelming, there is often a sense of resistance and dread at the thought of trying to figure out where to start.
This isn’t a sponsored post and to my knowledge FINRA is a non-profit organization. It’s primary mission is, “…to protect investors by maintaining the fairness of the U.S. capital markets” along with, among other things, “educating investors.” Which to that point it is doing (I think) an admirable job – because that’s what I’m hoping to pass along with this entry. Aside from those with a natural inclination for finance, investing is an intimidating topic; but what FINRA has managed to do is break it all down into easily readable, digestible bites that you can spend a few minutes (in short daily sessions) reading through one at a time.
Start with the section: Prepare to Invest to learn about setting up financial goals and managing debt. No hurry; no pressure. Once you’re done there you’ll be ready to start learning about the various types of investments and investing concepts – Products & Professionals. I’d like to emphasize again what I most admire about FINRAs work here in that these articles are concise and easy to read, even for beginners. That’s probably helped in part by the fact that, as far as I can tell at least, they’re not looking to profit from you. FINRA describes itself as as a “non-governmental organization” that helps to regulate and hold accountable U.S. securities firms. So in a sense, the more educated investors are at every level the easier their job in the broader term.
I think there are many people who, like me, wish they’d been better educated around matters of personal finance… especially near the time we became eligible for our first loans and credit cards. As for saving and investing, it turns out that just about anyone, including ‘regular people’ can do this. They only need to get informed with a basic understanding and, from there (with a better ‘finance’ vocabulary) enjoy the ability to talk with the kinds of professionals who help in setting up and managing a brokerage account, IRA’s and other tools you’ll learn about.