One thing that has been overwhelming for me as a student in family finance is all the new terms to learn without actually experiencing them yet. For example, I am not yet a homeowner and have not had to go through the process of getting a mortgage loan, but I know I will need to be familiar with ideas like mortgage, real estate, appreciation, amortization, down payment, closing costs, debt-to-income ratio, and more when I am ready to own a home. These terms and others like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds will make a difference in all of our financial lives. So if we haven’t yet become homeowners, if we haven’t started investing, or if we just don’t yet feel comfortable with our financial knowledge, how can we know these terms well enough to start? This post will include 3 tips on getting familiar with financial terms on your own and resources that will help you do it.
1. Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to learn about finances. You can listen to quick ones in the car on the way to work, while cleaning the house, or while cooking. In fact, one podcast, Popcorn Finance (popcornfinance.com), is designed to discuss finance in about the time it takes to make a bag of popcorn. Another quick one is Optimal Finance Daily (oldpodcast.com), which narrates blogs about personal finance so that you don’t have to find and read them yourself. Dave Ramsey is a famous personal finance advisor who has created many resources including a podcast called The Dave Ramsey Show (daveramsey.com) that is very popular.
As a beginner in personal finance, you may not know where to start or what things you should be familiar with. The benefit to these podcasts is that you can simply start listening and discover what there is to learn. However, if you do have something specific you would like to know about, like investing, you could go searching for that on the podcast and listen to related episodes. You can listen to these podcasts, and more, on spotify, apple podcasts, google podcasts, and their respective websites.
QUICK TIP: Once you have found a podcast that you like and is helpful to you, follow its social media to have more of that educational influence in your daily routine.
2. Continue Learning About the Terms You Have Discovered
Once you have been introduced to various new terms through listening to podcasts or through discussions with friends and family, you will want to dive deeper into those that really interest you. Investopedia (investopedia.com) is a trustworthy and easy-to-understand website that will help you progress in your personal finance knowledge. By searching for a term like “credit limit” on investopedia.com, you will be able to find articles that define it, and sometimes a video to explain it as well. If you are a visual learner, videos will be great for you. TD Ameritrade is an online financial services company that deals with online stock trading and investing. Ithas videos on its YouTube channel that are quick and informative on financial terms.
Another way to deepen your study on the terms you have discovered is to ask friends and family to share their experience. If you are not yet a homeowner, talk to one about his or her experience. Real examples, especially the examples of people you know, love and trust, will do much more to increase your understanding than any quick definition online will.
3. Set Goals Based on What You Have Learned
These new financial terms will be effective in your life once you put them into practice. After discovering new things and learning more about them through podcasts, social media, websites, and discussions with friends and family, set a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound) for when and how you want to start trying those things for yourself.
When something like investing or budgeting is new to you, you won’t start it unless you make a goal to do so.
So, if you don’t feel comfortable with your personal finance knowledge and don’t know where to start, how can you learn about it on your own? Listening to podcasts, diving deeper into newly discovered terms on trusted websites and through discussions with loved ones, and setting a goal to get started experiencing it yourself by a specific date are three ways to start your journey toward being a financial guru!