Where to begin your financial education

Ask the Experts: How do I begin my financial education?

Hi – I would like to know if you teach or know where I can get financial education. I want to understand money. I have a family that I would like to prosper. That's why I’m looking to know about money and understand many other things that I know I am not aware of. –Andrea

Thanks for the question Andrea! Getting up to speed on all things financial can seem like a tall order, but it’s not exactly a mountain you have to climb. It’s more like a nice, big swimming pool. You can start at whatever edge or corner you like. You can stay in the shallows or swim out to the deep end. There’s no one direction you have to go.

With that in mind, we’re all about financial education here at MMI. It’s right there in the slogan – Improving lives through financial education. It sounds like you’re ready to start improving your life, so here are a few different places to begin.

Workshops

Workshops are educational presentations on a particular financial topic. MMI presents educational workshops across the country (take a second to see if there are any upcoming workshops in your area). We’re not everywhere, though, so you might not have access to an MMI workshop in your neighborhood. If you like the idea of an in-person learning experience, check with your local financial institution – banks and credit unions often sponsor financial seminars for the local community. Other community organizations, like clubs or churches, also sometimes sponsor educational workshops.

Webinars

Our educators might not be located in your community, but you can still take part in our live financial education by signing up for one of our online webinars. Webinars allow you to view materials on your computer and listen in while one of our trained educators provides tips, advice, and guidance. Webinars typically last about one hour and are a great way to jump start your understanding of some specific aspects of personal finance – like saving money, reducing debt, and creating a smart budget.

High quality, interactive education from the comfort of your home – what’s not to love?

eBooks

If you like to go at your own pace or our available live presentations don’t work for you, we’ve got a ton of material right here on MoneyManagement.org that you can read at your own pace. Some of our best, most in-depth reading materials are our eBooks. Ever wondered how credit works? Do you worry that you spend too much on food? Considering starting your own business someday? Check out all of our eBooks – I can (almost) guarantee you’ll learn something.

Educational articles

Still hungry for more knowledge? There’s more to read and learn! Take a look at the Financial Education section of MoneyManagement.org. You’ll find scores of helpful articles sorted by topics like Earning More Money, Surviving a Financial Crisis, Building Your Savings, and more. Meanwhile, Blogging for Change is updated regularly with new articles on financial topics.

Money and kids

If you’ve got children you should take a minute to read our article Do your children know enough about money? It will help you understand what financial lessons your children should be ideally learning at certain ages. A lot of financial education doesn’t come from experts like MMI – it comes from living with money and passing that first-hand knowledge on to others. Just talking about money is a great first step for any family.

The opportunities to improve your financial IQ are out there. Stay connected to what’s happening in your community and read, read, read. Just take your time and don’t get overwhelmed. Pick one area to better understand and focus on that for a while. Once you’ve got that down, pick a new focus.

The more time you spend in the financial education swimming pool, the more confident you’ll become. You might start off just wading, but pretty soon you’ll be swimming laps from end to end. Good luck!

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

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  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

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  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.