No matter whether you might have just started your journey to financial independence or you are a seasoned investor, it is important to increase or keep your financial knowledge to enable you to see new opportunities or to make important financial (investment) decisions.
But how? Don’t panic! While it may seem daunting at first, it is easy and can even be fun to start learning. Below, we listed 5 easy actions you can take TODAY to increase your financial knowledge. Let us know in the comments below what other tips you have or what your favorite resources are!
- Make a list – all learning starts with the first step. What are you actually interested in most? Make a list of financial or investment topics that interest you most or that you feel are most important to learn about for you at this time. Start a long list but narrow it down to max 3 topics to keep it manageable. When you need inspiration, you can always come back to this list. As an added bonus, you can make a note on how much you already know on a certain topic and where you would like to get. In this way, you can see where your biggest gaps are and track your progress. For people new to the topic of financial investing we suggest starting with topics such as pensions, tax deductions and Exchange Traded Fund investing in your country.
- Get online – Well, technically speaking, you have already done this as you are reading this (congratulations!). It might sound almost too trivial to mention this here, but the amount of resources you can find on the internet on financial education are endless. Find a great blog (next to ours of course ;)), watch some YouTube videos, join a community or read up on information provided by players of the financial industry. As with each online research, be aware to not blindly take information at face value but check them for their source and the motivation for providing this information and of course whether you feel this information makes sense. If it sounds too good to be true, it always is! For example, you could start with your country’s Government website, or the website of your existing pension fund. Investopedia.com is also a good starting point to help define financial terminology. Big global banks (e.g. HSBC, JP Morgan) or your local banks are also a good place to start, but try to resist their “calls to action” to buy their products until you have a better understanding of the full picture. Here we suggest big banks because they are subject to a high level of scrutiny.
- Speak to a friend. “Friendship ends where money starts” is a popular German saying. However, don’t be put off by that – your friends are not only the people who know you or your circumstances best, but they might be at a similar stage to you with similar questions, or they might have some experiences they are happy to share. Also, speaking to someone will create some clarity around all the thoughts and questions swirling in your mind. You can also write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Bear in mind that talking about money can bring up lots of different emotions in others, including very strong negative emotions. Don’t let them put you off. Your Finance Sisters are here to help you when facing the opinions of other people.
- Find a community. Next to speaking to single friends or experts, we have found some of the best information and support in (online) communities. This can be Facebook Groups or online networks, just to name a few. Not only do they provide great resources or offer a place for general discussion- often, they are very welcoming to newbies and a great place to interact with like-minded people, find mentors or ask questions. A great place to start is the global F.I.R.E (Financial Independence, Retire Early) community that has countless local groups.
- Download our free e-book. We have to be a bit cheeky here ;), but we wrote our e-book “Becoming Financially Independent” as a quick and handy guide and overview to get you started on this important issue. We hope it can give you more clarity and an answer to your most burning questions and – most of all- show you that taking care of your financial independence is not only important but also fun! And if you are serious on becoming a Finance Sister – or if you like our free resources, have a look at our Full E-book “Rule your Financial World” – more than 130 pages and a few spreadsheets taking you through this exciting journey from start to finish 😉