We face an unfortunate reality here in South Africa: the vast majority of the population faces financial instability, uncertainty and pressure. This doesn’t necessarily come down to the wildly fluctuating Rand, a low income or inflation. Rather, the biggest cause of money problems in our country is financial illiteracy: the majority of South Africans don’t understand how to manage their money. Essential practices like budgeting, investing, and financial planning are all alien concepts and as a consequence, households suffer.
Financial literacy is important, and the good news is that with the abundance of free online learning resources, you too can master the key concepts behind how money works. It’s just a matter of making the time, sitting down at your computer, and learning some key concepts and practices that could totally change the way your household lives in 2018. Here are five fantastic online resources you can make use of to change your financial situation and become financially literate!
The Money Academy
The Money Academy is brought to you by Wonga and contains video lessons and quizzes related to financial literacy. This financial learning portal aims to teach you about the four pillars of personal finance, namely; Debt, Saving, Budgeting and Investing with punchy, to the point animated videos.
Finance at Khan Academy
The Khan Academy has created a vast and comprehensive library of video presentations that teach the user all about personal finance, covering topics such as taxes, accounting, insurance, retirement, debt, interest, housing and more. It also covers broader financial topics to provide users with the “bigger picture” from investment vehicles, stocks and bonds, inflation and current economics. The context for these lessons is set in the United States, however, the content itself and the take-home messages are also relevant to South Africans.
Using the Internet as a platform on which to become financially literate can seem extremely intimidating. Within seconds, you can become inundated with complex terms and concepts that are overwhelming and confusing. This is where Investopedia proves to be an invaluable tool. Consider this hub your essential financial dictionary. Type any word, concept, or even question into the search bar on the home page and you’ll get a list of relevant answers that are almost always guaranteed to improve your understanding. Investopedia is also a bustling hub for information on current affairs, economics and finances.
Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning Free Course
Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning is a fantastic free course offered by the University of California-Irvine. The course consists of eight modules of anywhere between one to six lessons each (22 in total), covering essential topics such as setting goals, taxation, investing, retirement, college planning, student loans and more. The baseline here is helping people to monitor and effectively manage their own finances. While, once again, this course is set in the United States, it’ll leave students with a comprehensive, conceptual understanding of all aspects of wealth management and you’ll find yourself all the more empowered because of it.
Freakonomics Radio on Personal Finance
Freakonomics Radio is a weekly podcast that tackles a vast suite of subjects, including personal finance. This award-winning show sees millions of monthly downloads and is so popular, it appears across numerous public radio stations and major airlines. The podcast is fun, engaging, and features experts in relevant fields. Some of the topics covered in finance include: “Everything you always wanted to know about money (but were afraid to ask)”, “Suze Orman answers your money questions”, and “The stupidest thing you can do with your money.”
With Freakonomics Radio, you’re guaranteed to learn and be entertained!
Budgets are Sexy
“Budgets are Sexy” is a fun and whimsical blog written by a guy who learned the importance of financial planning the hard way (much like the rest of us). His writing is accessible and incredibly entertaining and yet, delivers nourishing advice, knowledge, and titbits on budget planning, credit cards, retirement, money matters, and overcoming the kind of obstacles faced by real people. The reason we’re recommending this blog as an online resource for improving your financial literacy – in addition to the general content – is the free budget templates he provides. These colourful and easy-to-use templates can be downloaded in Excel or Google Docs and used to get your finances in order and your 2018 budget off to an excellent start.