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There are so many ways to earn, manage and invest your money that it really takes some preparation to get it right. By educating yourself about your finances, you can gain more confidence in your abilities to do so, and make better decisions with your hard-earned cash. But where do you start? Here is a list of some great free resources to learn more about managing your money.
Several government agencies offer free learning resources for new investors. These include information on many common topics, including investment information for beginners; how to manage credit cards and other debts; how to manage a savings account; information about Social Security and student loans, and much more. Here are some of my favorite resources:
The IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant program offers a plethora of answers to common tax issues and questions. It’s a great resource during tax season and beyond: https://www.irs.gov/help/ita
The SEC offers an excellent practical guide on investment management for beginners. Its primers on mutual funds and avoiding fraud are also excellent.
The Social Security Administration also offers excellent resources for mapping out any benefits for which you might qualify – how much you can anticipate to receive in Social Security or SSDI benefits; Medicare; and more.
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The Financial Literacy and Education Commission offers the MyMoney.gov site, which covers a wide variety of financial topics for beginners
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau offers excellent tools for avoiding scams, reporting fraud, and roadmaps for addressing common financial issues, such as paying for college, planning for retirement, or buying a new home.
The FDIC’s MoneySmart website ahs a long track record of providing useful financial education for adults of various employment backgrounds and circumstances.
There are several private entities that also offer great learning resources. Some examples include:
The American Institute of CPAs offers an excellent website for financial learning.
SmartAboutMoney.org provides introductory cash management courses, as well as more personalized planning course tools for builing an emergency fund, planning for healthcare costs, and many other common situations.
Several universities now offer free online courses in money management, finance and more. Duke University’s Coursera course on Behavioral Finance is one such option offering rave reviews.
Finally, the simple fact that you are reading this article implies that you are already taking important steps to educate yourself. Consuming articles and news about money helps you increase your financial awareness at a comfortable pace, and without pressure. Remember that each step you take toward financial self-education is another step toward your future.