A recent college graduate approached me recently to ask about saving and investing. He had begun investing using one of the micro-brokerage apps, and had a few questions about getting started with saving and investing.
We briefly talked about saving concepts, including emergency funds, goals for saving activities and whatnot, as well as the concept of diversification. But I knew that the brief amount of time we had available to talk would not be enough to answer all of his questions. In addition, although at one time I was in his very shoes (starting his first “real” job, living on his own, etc.), it was in a very different time and place. For example, he didn’t have to worry much about being eaten by dinosaurs – which was a primary concern for me right out of college.
I also didn’t have the internet available to me. The closest we had to the resources of the internet was a library, and the comparison between the internet and a local library is laughable, of course. Yes, one might find a lot of useful information at the library, but the amount of time required to find it was enormous by comparison to a Google search today. Plus, the internet has opened up avenues to millions of additional voices, whereas in the old world we mostly had the academics (primarily) to draw knowledge from.
The downside of that Google search is that you don’t often know for sure if the source of the information you’ve found is legitimate, or if it’s a scam, or worse, just some random spewing of someone’s manifesto.
So I called upon my friends and colleagues at FinCon to give me some ideas of resources to share with my friend. FinCon, in case you don’t know, is a community of financial content creators. By “content creators”, think in terms of blogs, podcasts, and video-logs (like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok). The mission of FinCon is:
To help personal finance content creators and brands create better content, reach their audience, and make more money.
Part of the “help” that FinCon provides is the structure of a community where ideas and resources are shared among creators from widely-diverse walks of life. I’ve found the FinCon community to be extremely creative, helpful, and resourceful, giving new perspectives that I had never considered, even as a long-time member of the financial professional community. As you’ll see from the suggestions, there are many diverse points of view, and lots of fantastic advice given, as well as knowledge to be gleaned from the creators.
Below, in no particular order, are the suggestions received from the FinCon community to my request for “all-purpose content for a recent college graduate”. Hope you find some nuggets here that are helpful to you!
One of the first stops on the list of sources of good financial information is the Plutus Foundation. You can read in-depth about the Plutus Foundation on their website. In a nutshell, Plutus (a charitable organization) exists to foster and promote the creation of financial media to enhance financial literacy, education and empowerment. Part of the fostering and promotion activities includes awards that are presented annually to many different categories of financial content creators.
For a list of this year’s nominees, check out the 11th Annual Plutus Awards Finalists. These are the cream of the crop, in categories ranging from Best Content Series to Best Generational Financial Literacy Content to Best New Personal Finance Blog, with many, many other categories in between (27 categories altogether). The winners will be announced in a virtual format (yeah, thanks 2020!) on November 13, 2020.
The finalists list is linked to the actual content, so spending time among these nominated entries is an excellent place to start your journey to find financial education and guidance.
One of the authors nominated in the Best New Personal Finance Blog category (Lauren Keys) reached out to me to tell of an article that she’d written that seems to fit the request for my friend very well:
… my Financial Roadmap resource is geared specifically at helping take young people from college to financial independence in just 6 steps.
The blog is Trip of a Lifestyle, and the article is Financial Roadmap: Save Money, Travel Tons, & Retire Young. I particularly like the fact that the guidance offered here is flexible enough that it can fit into many different overall financial strategies, from the extreme “retire by 35” to the more pedestrian “I just want to be comfortable and retire at 65” as well as everything in between. There are action-oriented checklists to help along the way as well.
Wealthtender is a website that
exists to help people discover the most trusted and authentic professionals and educators in the finance community.
As such, Wealthtender curates a directory of personal finance blogs and other content, and part of this curation is a list of new blogs to keep an eye on. You can find the current year’s list of Finance Blog Startups to Watch in 2020 at this link. Previous list members are also available, and these also present a fantastic place to locate some very valuable financial content all in one place.
The College Investor
Robert Farrington, author at The College Investor, brings forth the following article as especially useful for the recent college graduate: How To Start Investing In Your Twenties After College For 22 – 29 Year Olds
This article is a one-stop shop, a primer that gives you pretty much everything you need to know and think about as you start off on your financial life. Robert covers whether an advisor is needed, what kinds of account to start with, how much to invest, and allocation (among other things). I believe this single article is probably the best place if you have little time to work with, to provide yourself with a base foundation of knowledge about getting started in investing.
Youtube has become one of the fastest-growing areas where financial advice content is created of late. Apparently the video presentation is a compelling way to receive this information, and the numbers seem to back it up. There are thousands upon thousands of videos covering pretty much anything you can imagine in the financial sphere.
Magic of Finance
One channel in particular that I was directed to (from my FinCon query) is Andrei Jikh’s Magic of Finance. Andrei has a very relatable style, and he presents some very interesting concepts in detail, in short, bite-sized videos (running around 10-15 minutes on average).
Another channel pointed out is The Bemused. This channel is produced by Akeiva and Meshack, a young couple (aged 22 and 24), who are
… passionate about helping people like us adult with their finances.
I especially liked the fact that Akeiva and Meshack are wide-open and relatable with their own financial journey, sharing their wins and stumbles along the way. They talk about everything from paying off a car, to decisions about finances as they plan to get married, along with paying student loans, and all sorts of topics of interest.
If video is your favorite way to receive content, these are great channels to check out to find great financial content.
If your lifestyle fits in more with listening to podcasts, you don’t have to look far to find lots of content in this medium. (I’m not a big fan of podcasts or video-logs, I prefer to read my content, but I’m not the target here, right?)
One podcast that was suggested that should fit the recent college graduate’s needs is Young Money. Creator Tracey Bissett (a Chartered Financial Analyst) has generated a boatload of content on a myriad of topics.
This mode of content, as is pretty common, is a bit more lengthy than the YouTube articles, generally running from 15 to 30 minutes in duration. Creator Tracey Bissett covers the gamut of financial advice, from evaluating your financial situation, keys to success (regarding love & money), to a series called Adulting 101 – as well as all points in between. Tracey gives great, actionable advice, that can fit into many situations across the spectrum of needs.
Find Your Freedom
Another suggested podcast, Find Your Freedom, is specifically targeted toward
lifestyle design + financial independence for twentysomethings
Find Your Freedom’s creator Becky Blake shares her own personal story about her financial journey from paying off student debt, to reaching financial independence, to traveling the world, having created her dream life. Some of the content is podcast, and some is by way of the Twenty-Free blog, which is a common theme I’ve seen among podcasters. Becky shares her insights the topics that she has encountered, either personally or through coaching clients.
In particular, I enjoyed the topics that provided guidance on defining and designing your “ideal life” – one of the most important aspects of starting out in the financial world. Without well-defined goals, it’s hard to determine what you’re aiming for, so setting your goals should be a high priority.
As with any compilation, I don’t intend for this to be all-inclusive. The above listing is simply the result of my query to my colleagues in the FinCon community. Just knowing that the FinCon annual Expo often has 2500+ attendees tells me that there are many thousands of content creators that aren’t on this list, and many may fit the bill for my college graduate friend just as well or even better.
If you have a particular resource, whether it’s a blog, podcast, video-log, or some other medium, that you think would meet the needs of my friend (and the others reading this!), please leave your description and link in the comments below. Please no spamming – I’ll allow only one link to each (legitimate, financial guidance-oriented) source with as many comments as each source commands, unless it gets out of hand at which time I’ll shut down comments altogether. No commercial pitches either, these will be removed – this is about sharing content, not pitching products or schemes.