Schools generally do a poor job of teaching students about personal finance. Most Americans would like for the education system to do a better job, but inertia makes change slow and difficult. Despite this setback, it’s possible to learn about personal finance and improve your financial situation as a result. Teaching yourself about money management is the route to go and the sooner a person realizes this in life, the better.
Who Can You Trust?
There are people who have employment as financial advisers. These folks generally do quite well for themselves, but they might not always do the best for their clients if investment firms are paying them to endorse their financial products over others. This amounts to a conflict of interest. While the Obama administration put the so-called fiduciary rule into place to curb this practice, the Trump administration has put that effort on ice, with a death blow coming in the form of court rulings against the rule.
Language Can Be Confusing
The terms, phrases, and concepts used and executed in the financial world can be hard to understand even for the pros. There are stocks and bonds and annuities. There are easy installment loan options and hard to attain unsecured bank loans. There is compound interest and simple interest. All of these terms and ideas can be confusing to those who might not have previous experience in dealing with personal finance. If you do choose to hire a financial adviser, it’s a good idea to choose one who will explain everything, including the management fees and other costs mentioned above.
There are money folks who would prefer not to have to worry about dealing with an adviser. There’s never been a better time to fall into this camp. Learn as you go finances have never been easier with the free flow of information that the Internet can offer folks who are willing to do even a minimal amount of digging.
There are many online resources that are dedicated to improving personal finance and building wealth. These resources are usually free to use or in the case of government-mandated consumer advocacy, are paid for by your tax dollars. These are relatively cheap when compared to the cost of actively managed funds and annuities. Those who are interested can learn about all sorts of investing topics.
Seeking Alpha is a crowd-sourced site that covers just about any topic in the financial sphere. There are also sites like Mr. Money Mustache, The Wallet Doctor, and Early Retirement Extreme that give recommendations for reaching financial independence at a relatively early age. Finally, sites like Forbes and Investopedia can give all sorts of solid recommendations related to achieving a great deal of financial knowledge and wealth for the individual.
While it would be good for most people to have a financial adviser that put their needs first, this situation can be easier wished for than actually achieved. Advisers can be quite costly and unfortunately can’t always be trusted to do the right thing. However, knowledge can be priceless and free. With the rise of the Internet, solid knowledge can now be just a few taps on a keyboard and a few clicks of a mouse. Learning from the mistakes of others in a cheap, or even free environment is a good way to achieve a high level of financial knowledge.