Want to learn how to manage your money wisely? Good news! There are truckloads of solid financial education materials available – for free – to help you get up to speed.
Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll come across a financial product dressed up as education – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It can be hard to tell the difference. To help you avoid the wolves, we’ve curated our favourite resources into this list.
These are genuine founts of knowledge. Some have paid services you can choose to access. All are offering top-notch (general) advice in their free resources.
They’re not selling specific investments, so they’re not trying to lure you in to invest in their particular strategy or product so they can get a cut of your cash. If we find out they are, they’ll be off this list quick-smart.
In case you’re wondering why Money School, a financial education business, would point you to a bunch of free resources:
- The more financially literate our population becomes, the better it will be for everyone. Us included.
- We want to work with people who have savings and are ready to start investing. If you’re swimming in credit card debt and you don’t save, we can’t help you. So, use these free resources to get on top of the basics then come see us when you’re ready to learn about investing.
- We also have free resources to share – we hope you’ll find them useful.
Head to the library and check out these books. I’ve kept the list very short deliberately, and in the order I’d recommend reading them:
- ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ by George S. Clason
- ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki
- ‘Money: Master the Game’ by Tony Robbins (read my review)
Also coming soon: my book on my mum’s story, about how she started as a single mum on $30k a year, began investing in her late 40’s, and is now a self-funded retiree.
The Barefoot Investor’s new book ‘The only money guide you’ll ever need’ deserves a mention here. After reading an interview from Neil Gaiman on ‘American Gods’, I’ve stopped reading finance books while I write mine so I haven’t read it, but I’d bet it’s fabulous even though I disagree with Scott on three key points.
Thank you, interweb, for making it possible to access fabulous free articles from a plethora of devices at our convenience. Now we don’t have to read whole books to find the good juice, we can simply skim some articles.
Here are some blogs I enjoy and subscribe to. All are filled with ideas and suggestions to help you get on top of your finances. All are written by people who follow a similar theme of treating money as a resource to be used wisely:
- The Frugalwoods
- The Simple Dollar
- Mr. Money Mustache
- The Barefoot Investor
- Good Shepherd Microfinance
- From Money School:
Other online resources
For those seeking more comprehensive resources – calculators, how-to guides and tutorials – there are a number of resources you can access. Most act as libraries of information so you need to know what you’re looking for. The Sharemarket game needs a special mention – not only do you get education, but you get to apply it with virtual money (how awesome is that!)
- Reserve Bank of Australia
- Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) education
- ASX sharemarket game
- The Smith Family’s Saver Plus education program (eligibility criteria applies)
- How the Economic Machine Works (the best economic education you can get in 30 minutes)
Getting help from a human
Reading is all very well, but sometimes you just need to talk to someone. Fortunately there are awesome free services on offer, most of which involve the opportunity to talk to someone about your specific situation.
- Financial Information Service
- Consumer Credit Legal Service WA
- Financial Ombudsman
- Credit and Investments Ombudsman
- Financial counsellors
- National Debt Helpline
Also coming soon: Women and Superannuation information sessions in Perth, WA, sponsored by the Women’s Interests group in the Department of Local Government and Communities.
Another handy trick is booking in for a free ‘discovery session’ with a financial planner. Most planners and advisors will offer a free 45-60 minute session, during which you can talk specifics about your situation. If you are considering hiring a planner, make sure they are fee-only to reduce the potential for getting ripped off.
Free education is fabulous, but it can be overwhelming. There is a vast ocean of information out there and sometimes you need help navigating it. This is when it can be worth paying for some help. I’m not recommending hiring a financial planner or advisor – I’m talking about more carefully curated bodies of knowledge that will lead you through what you need to do.
‘Cheap’ is obviously a relative term. I use one week of the Australian age pension per 12 months as a cut-off (that’s $438.65 at the time of writing).
- Financial Tool Box series – presentations delivered in Perth on a range of financial topics with exceptional speakers
- The Barefoot Blueprint – a ‘one size fits all’ financial plan
- Alan Kohler’s The Constant Investor – for those interested in shares, Kohler’s commentary and access to his private Facebook group
- Money School’s Achieving Financial Independence online course – for parents that want to raise financially savvy kids
Thanks for reading
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Lacey Filipich is the co-founder and director of Money School. She helps parents raise financially savvy kids and adults get on top of their finances. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow the Money School Facebook page to learn more.