April is National Financial Literacy month, and therefore seems like a great time to highlight some excellent resources on the web to help investors and savers improve their knowledge in dealing with money matters, regardless of their current level of expertise.
For young people, and especially for parents interested in helping their kids learn about money, a terrific starting point is www.TheMint.org. This site sponsored by Northwestern Mutual is elementary but colorful and engaging, a nice basic introduction to saving, spending and investing. Another interesting offering is BizKids.com, the companion website to the public TV series of the same name that educates kids on money and business through an entertaining series of videos, games, newsletters and a blog. And for more ideas and suggested resources for teaching young people, visit the Kids.gov site sponsored by the U.S. General Services Administration, the government's official "kid's portal." It features loads of materials and ideas to help
parents and teachers educate kids about money.
Adults seeking to learn more about personal finance have a plethora of options in the Internet age. Looking for a quick definition or a brief introduction to a financial topic? Invetopedia.com is the place to start. The site has expanded significantly since its early days and features a useful glossary of financial terms and concepts.
Long before Al Gore ever dreamed of the Internet, the iconic Kiplinger letter was making its way via snail mail to nearly 1 million subscribers. Today, Kiplinger.com hosts a variety of useful free information and tools for the individual investor, in addition to the paid-content section of the site.
Another excellent educational resource is Bankrate.com, featuring lots of good articles on saving, borrowing and credit management. Heavy on the advertising, but a great resource for learning more about money, banking and credit.
For a lighter and more conversational take on personal money management, sample one of the numerous finance blogs. Bargaineering.com, GetRichSlowly.com, and the Bucks blog at The New York Times (bucks.blogs.nytimes.com) are three of the better ones, but many more exist on the web and on Twitter. Visit WealthTurtle.com for one (far from exhaustive) list of interesting money blogs.
To the more experienced investor, the web is truly an invaluable resource. Yahoo! Finance is still the go-to site for stock market and company information, and remains the default home page selection for many professional investors. Bloomberg.com, the public access site for Bloomberg LP, features a broad collection of global news relevant to active investors. StockCharts.com is a great resource for generating interesting and useful graphs and charts of nearly endless variety. And visit the Wall Street Journal's Marketwatch.com for a very current compilation of market-moving news, economic data, and expert commentary.
Finally, for a more risible and satirical look at the world of finance, look up the London Daily Telegraph's "Alex" cartoon series from Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor (telegraph.co.uk/finance/alex). Or simply check out Cramer each weeknight on CNBC. Just be sure to press the mute button.
Get answers to financial questions on Wednesdays from our columnists who work in the financial services industry. Christopher A. Hopkins CFA, is a vice president at Barnett & Co. Submit questions to his attention by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at email@example.com.