Learning how to invest your hard-earned money is a critical skill, but unfortunately few high schools provide this type of education. Even at the college level, financial education classes are few and far between, and many people never get the financial education they need. Fortunately there are many different sources of financial education--the key is to know where to look.
Morningstar Investment Advisors
Morningstar has long been recognized as a leader in the mutual fund industry, so investors who are considering mutual funds may want to head to the local library or head online to see what Morningstar has to say. The Morningstar mutual fund-rating service is so well respected that even professional investors use it. Morningstar five-star funds have a long track record of success, and those funds can be a good place to start any investment portfolio.
The Yahoo! Finance website is one of the most powerful tools new investors have. This well-researched website includes sections devoted to retirement planning, college funding, credit concerns, personal finance and much more. By visiting this site, new investors can learn a great deal about how the stock market works and how their funds can grow over time.
To make this easier, the Yahoo! Finance website also includes calculators for retirement income, mortgage costs and more. Investors can also check stock quotes and see how the stock market is doing.
The Motley Fool
Located at fool.com, the Motley Fool website is home to a vibrant community of users anxious to share what they have learned with other investors. The Motley Fool website includes tips on how to research companies, determine cash flow, calculate long-term debt and read an annual report. Investors who are puzzled by the legalese and arcane terms companies use to describe their earnings outlook may want to head over to fool.com for a thorough education.
The Vanguard Funds
Vanguard has long been known for its low-cost approach to investing, and the company can be a rich source of information and education for the beginning investor. The Vanguard website offers a wealth of information, including financial calculators investors can use to determine how much they will need to save for a comfortable retirement.
T. Rowe Price
T. Rowe Price is another company dedicated to the success of the small investor. T. Rowe Price offers valuable assistance in a number of different ways, including free telephone consultations and a comprehensive website. The company also offers a number of index and managed mutual funds, investing in a diversified mix of stocks, bonds and stable value investments.
Some books stand out in the crowded category of investment advice. "Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" (1995) traces the history of bubble economies, from Holland's Tulipmania and the South Sea Bubble to the modern age. Investors who are still reeling from the housing market meltdown will find a lot of cautionary tales in this classic book.
The founder of Vanguard also makes the short list of must-read investment volumes with "Common Sense on Mutual Funds." In this indispensable resource, John Bogle lays out the goods on the mutual fund industry, providing valuable insights every investor can use.