How Technology Facilitates Learning About Personal Finance

Learning about investing can be a bit intimidating. There are the stock markets with hundreds of stocks, and there is a lot of terminology and a dizzying array of statistics, charts and graphs. Not to mention alternative investments strategies like short sales, ForEx, and other speculative investments. Thirty years or so ago, it was much harder for new investors to get up to speed and be able to stay on top of their investments. Today, with all of the investment technology at our disposal – much of it free – things are much easier.

Let’s look at how technology can help you learn about investing without having to spend hours and hours every night.

Where to Begin –

Overviews –

Since investing is undergoing massive changes due to technology, it is essential that new investors learn about how one invests today, while they have an eye towards how investing will change in the near future.

Dave Ramsey Blog – “Micro Investing” –

Ramsey provides a really important overview for anyone looking to learn about investing in this article. The key point is that micro investing is not really as good of a strategy as having a budget, gathering up a $1,000 emergency fund, paying off all of your debt and then expanding your emergency fund to cover three to six months of expenses in the event of a layoff. Only then can people safely dabble in the world of investing. Over half or more of all Americans do not have these basics covered. Ramsey urges us to begin debt-free and with a good emergency fund before incurring risk.

Investopedia – “Investing Essentials” –

This online Investopedia article on essentials for investors helps new investors first establish what type of investing is best suited for both the money and time that they have available to devote to investing. It explains the four major types of investing: value investing, growth investing, momentum investing and dollar-cost averaging investing. Each type of investment is explained in depth – what type of investor is best served by the practice and the tools that each type of investor uses to choose stocks. This article is a good place to begin before you make any trades.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – “Investor Basics” –

The online SEC article on investor basics shares some really great, common sense information, such as mixing up your types of investments and not putting too much of your nest egg in any one company. They also remind investors to protect themselves from investment fraud and consider their exposure to risk and how much risk they can personally afford.

Fisher Investments – General Investment Videos –

Fisher Investments provides short YouTube videos on general investor information topics, such as global investing, asset allocation, market volatility, market benchmarks and fraud prevention.

In-Depth Investment Courses –

Once you know the basics, it is time to take an online course to help you understand how to manage your portfolio. For beginners, Benzinga Money recommends three choices. One is a LinkedIn Learning course that will cost just $29 a month until you have completed the course.

Another offering recommended by Benzinga is a Coursera set of five courses on general investing as well as managing a portfolio and risk. The Coursera investing primer is taught by the University of Geneva and lasts three months. You will need to commit eight hours per week. The final course in the series is a hands-on capstone project.

There is also an online course taught by the Indian School of Business that covers building a financial portfolio and measuring how it is performing. This course has five modules and takes 15 hours of your time.

Keeping up on Current Conditions –

Once you are financially stable and are armed with the general knowledge of how to invest, you will be able to use technology to automate how you keep up on market conditions and world events.

World Events –

It is important to look to a wide variety of sources of news. Most all news organizations today have an online presence as well as YouTube vlogs or videos on their own website. Once you have reliable sources, you can subscribe to them on your YouTube feed and set notifications when a new video is posted. These are easily digested in the background of other daily tasks, like cleaning the house or driving to the grocery store.

Current Market Conditions –

Market news covered by Fisher Investments can be found on their YouTube channel. They have the Market Insights series that features a short synopsis of key events in the markets from the past week as well as the longer Market Insights Podcast that breaks down the week’s developments and their analysis in about 20 minutes.

Put All Current Market Conditions Information in One Spot –

You can use Feedly, an RSS reader, to keep all of your market and news sources in one spot. You just paste the RSS link from each trusted source into your Feedly account, and you will be notified of new blogs, articles and videos from each one. Then, you can decide which ones are worth your time to click on.

Get Notified About Key Indicators or News About Companies –

You can set a Google Alert for news information about topics you are following that are relevant to your investments, such as news information about companies you have an interest in. You can also set an alert for when some event occurs that will cause you to decide to buy or sell the stock. Google will email you when relevant information is added to the web.

The secret to getting up to speed as a beginning investor is to learn the basics online through blogs, articles and courses. Then, you are ready to stay abreast of the markets by following trusted news and markets sources. Using an RSS feed and Google Alerts will help keep all of your information in just a few places.