Beyond gaining the knowledge to make better day-to-day financial decisions, teaching yourself to be more financially savvy will make it far less likely that you will get ripped off or make an error costing you tens of thousands of dollars.
And you don’t have to read a tonne of books or study a diploma. Fortunately, there is an excellent source of free information on the net in the form of blogs and financial websites that provide regular advice and tips.
If you are not familiar with modern blogs, don’t dismiss the idea because you think the content is only written by amateurs. Many of the best financial commentators provide their thoughts and insight via their own blogs. There are also newspaper and magazine websites with financial sections that produce great content aimed at the everyday Australian.
And you only need 15 minutes a week. Join the email list of 2-3 blogs that you feel speak to your values or meet a gap in your current knowledge. Then simply leave time each week to review any updates.
There are several benefits of reading financial blogs and websites.
Lessen the chance of you following bad advice
You can get a range of opinions and read the advice of independent experts.
Just be careful of anyone publishing content with the sole intention of getting you to invest in products they are associated with. A rule of thumb: bloggers who give general advice, without mentioning specific products or investments, are far less likely to benefit directly from you following their advice.
If you have a question, or are unsure of the advice you have been given, most bloggers encourage questions. You can also search previous Q & A.
Gain deeper insight on an issue
Bloggers can provide their own analysis on issues featured in the mainstream media. And their goal is to make it easier for you to understand what’s happening in the news.
Know what people are talking about
Learn the lingo so you can understand your own personal financial advice.
You can discover resources and advice that can make (or save) you thousands.
And a benefit that could save you immediate cash…
If you’re paying your financial planner for ongoing service that doesn’t amount to much more than a regular newsletter, make sure it contains useful and unique content, produced by them. With the high quality of free content available on the net, I don’t think it is acceptable for your planner to charge you for ‘canned’ content.
Here are a few blogs/sites I suggest:
ASIC’s website has some very helpful calculators and tips covering a wide range of areas.
Scott Pape’s advice is independent, practical and pitched at the average Australian who wants financial freedom using sound financial planning principles. Scott’s views are often contrary to the established financial world, so his ideas provide food for thought for many people used to the mainstream point of view.
This blog has a bit of a cult following. And for good reason. Much of the content is based on the idea that (1) we spend too much on stuff we don’t need, stuff that doesn’t make us happy and (2) we have a far greater chance of achieving financial independence if we control our spending and create surplus cash flow, which we then save.
At the same time, we are reducing our negative impact on the world by consuming less.
Check out the interview with founder, Pete Adeney on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. It’s worth a listen.
I’ve just started to check out this blog. I stumbled across it after my blog was mentioned in one of the forums. This discovery coincided with a time where I was increasing my focus on how my clients are spending their money (beyond financial costs).
Over the last year, I have had in depth conversations with clients about how they spend their money and how we can reduce this cost without reducing quality of life (using Money Brilliant). I see families who have substantially reduced their (unnecessary) expenditure with a positive (rather than negative) impact on their happiness. And yet, I see others struggle to live on 3 times what most people spend. So, it’s an area I plan to explore further and write about in more detail.
Some great articles across a wide range of financial topics. Just remember this is a commercial publication with links to financial products and rating tools that pay commission and don’t always include every possible product available.
This blog is American, so some of the content isn’t directly applicable to Australians. But it’s hugely popular because it’s written by an every-day guy who publishes his personal financial details and documents his own journey out of debt.
An independent publication (blog/newsletter) written by practicing industry professionals with extensive experience. Cuffelinks doesn’t push any products or services. And, as opposed to other publications written by professionals of similar calibre, doesn’t charge you to subscribe.
If you are like most people, you will constantly rotate the blogs you read. You will either outgrow content and want something more sophisticated, or get to a point where a blogger is writing about topics and ideas already covered. This is normal and a sign you have learnt something.
What financial blogs do you already read, and why? Have I left out any must-read blogs? Let me know.