Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Learn to Manage Money Online

Thanks to the internet, the world is now literally at our fingertips. It is now possible to pay your bills, replenish your wardrobe, complete your Christmas shopping, register for a university, chat with friends in China or Australia, search and apply for a job, request library books, and research everything you ever wanted to know about the pygmy monkey. All before noon and all while still in your pajamas. It is an age like no other, and investing is no exception to this rule. If you can manage the Google search engine, there is a plethora of online websites that can teach you whatever you might wish to know about investing and managing money. The internet is the world's largest library with virtually an unlimited amount of resources on investing and money management and is available right from the comfort of your own home.

While I have no illusions that I have managed to gather every site out there, I have tried to compile a list here of some of the sites out there on the subject to give you an idea of what's available and tips on further places to look for more information. is a website aimed at middle school children (though I enjoyed it too!) that teaches about money management through a series of interactive adventures. Similar to the old choose-your-own-adventure novels, the adventurer firsts blasts off to the Planet Knab. Once on Knab, your first task is to find a job. Decision making skills are introduced here as you are allowed to choose from a job that starts at a higher wage of $18 an hour but is known to be slow about giving raises versus another job that starts at $12 an hour but is quicker to reward a good worker with a raise.

I had to test it so I first went with the higher wage. I was then asked to fill out a simple form called the W-4 and could take deductions to have less taxes withheld. I was then shown my gross income and my monthly expenses on the next page and given some choices on how I could reduce them and what that would mean though in terms of my job and convenience. I then went through purchasing a home, choosing a car, investing, and at the end had succeeded in my mission of earning enough money to return to my home planet so apparently I invested wisely. (Now if only I showed that common sense and frugality on this planet!) However, this really is an excellent site. Simple to navigate and truly educates children while keeping it as a fun game so it maintains their interest. I would recommend it to anyone with children between the ages of 5 and 16 since teenagers can certainly benefit from it as well. I may even be returning soon myself.

For adults, of course, there is a multitude of websites on investing offering a variety of approaches. offers all the latest headlines of the daily market and how various companies are faring. The site also offers tool for interested parties to set up their own online portfolio, track various stocks and funds each day as well as keep track of personal finances online. Though the sheer amount information available makes the site a bit unwieldy at first, there is a great deal here for those willing to wade through it.

Similar in execution is Though this site offers slightly less news about the daily market, it makes up for it with an abundance of online calculators for any financial quandary or question imaginable. Home equity calculators, investment calculators, auto calculators, mortgage calculators, cost of living calculators and more, this site gives you a chance to anticipate your future costs and earnings. With a very accessible and user-friendly layout, the site is easy to navigate and is ideal for anyone looking to organize their personal finances. The site also offers helpful advice columns for any questions or concerns you might have such as purchasing a second home versus a rental, debt and divorce, and changes in pension law just to name a few.

For direct focus on the market, is the place to go. Run by CNN, the site offers the latest comprehensive news on the stock market and all the current rates. This site also offers the option of managing and organizing personal finances online through their website though a pop-up ad on the side of the site kept distracting me and made my experience at this site less enjoyable and shorter than it might have otherwise been.

For teenagers, young adults or just anyone who wants a refresher course in the basics of managing money well, the government hosts Laid out in a simple user-friendly format, this site asks simply 'Do you want to learn how to save, invest and manage your money better?' Though I was at first dubious about the credibility of the site considering the source, I was quickly and pleasantly surprised as I began to navigate. The website offers all the basics of money management from knowing how to balance a checkbook to buying your first home, managing credit, starting a business, investing, paying for education for you or your children, and preparing for retirement. Each of the sections also offers a large amount of up-to-date and helpful links so that no matter what you wish to research, there is an abundance of information available. The site also had the distinct advantage of being completely advertisement and pop-up free which anyone who spends any time online can quickly appreciate. I found this one of the most informative and best designed of the online money websites and have bookmarked it to my personal favorites.

In a similar vein is, a website run by the non-profit foundation The National Endowment for Financial Education. The National Endowment for Financial Education introduces itself as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation dedicated to helping all Americans acquire the information and gain the skills necessary to take control of their personal finances. They offer a variety of online courses and tutorials on money management ranging from checking to home buying to protecting yourself from identity theft. Courses are available for teens, adults, and the elderly. The site also has an online assessment quiz to give you an idea of where you are personally and a 'life tree', a graphically designed tree that makes it easy to review and plan for the various expenses at different stages of life.

For small business owners or those contemplating starting their own business, focuses on money management for small business owners beginning with starting a business, securing loans, and finding investors. Those who already have a business underway can also benefit from the site as it gives plenty of tools and information for managing deflation, credit, and straightforward advice on to run a successful business of your own and avoid common pitfalls. offers financial help for the whole family. A comprehensive site that has sections just for children, for teens, for adults and for small business owners. Educators and parents may also request free teaching materials. In addition to a vast amount of straightforward articles about money management, the site also offers a variety of games for learning to manage money such as Financial Football, Smart Money Quiz Show and Cash Puzzler just to name a few. This is one of the most comprehensive and easily navigated sites on the web. In addition to news articles, the site also offers many tutorials, personal budget planners, and free learning materials.

For those approaching retirement or already there, the AARP website offers a site exclusively aimed at the financial concerns of retirees (and also includes the option to increase text size on the home page!) With an excellent graphic layout, the site is user-friendly and offers a wide array of articles on financial planning, social security, home mortgaging, credit and debt, how to choose a good lender, shop online safely, pros and cons of annuities, and more. Highly recommended for any senior approaching retirement.

And last but not least, for those who are interested primarily in investing and investing online, there is This site is aimed exclusively at investors and those who wish to invest online. For those just getting started it explores the things you need to know to safely invest online, how to find a good online broker, and the facts about after hours day trading plus numerous links to more information. It also offers a simulator to practice with so you can see what investing online is like and how it works.

These are just ten of the sites available out there, but no matter what your interests are, it's safe to say that somewhere on the web is a site with the information you need!

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