5 personal finance resources for beginners

Two years ago, personal finance was a mystery to me.

I didn’t have any grasp on my spending or saving habits and how they fluctuated over time. I thought that in order to invest, I had to spend a lot of time actively buying and selling stocks when apparently, that’s not the only way (or the most successful way) to invest. I didn’t have any concrete financial goals.

At some point after I started working full time and receiving a paycheck, I realized that I should probably figure out how to manage my money.

Today, I’m by no means an expert in any way, but I have a much better grip on my money and what I hope to do with it in the coming years.

This post is for the folks in a similar position – interested in getting their personal finances in check, but totally bewildered on where to start and how it all works.

1. R/PersonalFinance

Reddit Personal Finance: The Missing Guide - Financially Alert

This subreddit was recommended to me by my boyfriend as a great starting place to answer preliminary questions about all things personal finance. Consider this a Wikipedia of sorts for the fundamentals.

There’s a huge volume of expansive content, neatly organized and broken down into sections like Budgeting, Investing, Employment, etc. There are even sections designated for people in particular age ranges (ex. 15 to 20, 18 to 25, etc.).

Two of the biggest benefits this resource offers is the opportunity to ask questions yourself and hear from a lot of other people who were both successful and unsuccessful in their endeavors.

I started on this page and clicked around to other resources that were relevant to me.

Advice for young adults | ages 18-25

2. Get Started Investing

I listened to this Australian podcast about a year ago as one of my first deep-dives into investing, what it really means, and how someone like myself can get started easily.

This podcast puts investing into very simple terms, starting with basic explanations and building up to more intermediate concepts.

It’s perfect for beginners who just want to know how investing works – it taught me that investing is much more than buying and selling individual stocks during the day (aka day trading). Spoiler alert – it’s

Many other resources I’ve discovered preach similar principles, but Get Started Investing also drove home the point that time is the greatest advantage in investing, and (in most scenarios) to buy stocks without the intention of selling them in the short term.

3. Graham Stephan

Graham Stephan - YouTube

You’ve probably seen Graham Stephan on CNBC’s segment, Millennial Money.

He’s got a confident personality, doesn’t beat around the bush, and knows how to succeed. In his videos he clearly breaks down comprehensive and concrete steps to save money, invest in stocks & real estate, etc.

He’s had a wide variety of unique experiences – he became a realtor at age 18, purchased many of his own rental properties and is now one of the most popular Youtube channels in the personal finance genre.

A few of my favorites:

4. The Financial Diet

The Financial Diet - YouTube

TFD is a woman-led online platform that covers personal finance, productivity tips, career advice and other broader topics. Chelsea Fagan & her team produce content with easy-to-understand explanations of key personal finance concepts.

A few of my favorite videos:

5. How to Money

Listen Free to How to Money on iHeartRadio Podcasts | iHeartRadio

This is a podcast run by two guys – Joel and Matt – who discuss money topics ranging from the basics – ways to save more money, overcoming common financial mistakes – to more advanced topics like how to manage rental properties. There are different themes every week, and they also interview guests with interesting backgrounds and unique insights.

I think this podcast can offer something slightly different to each person – I like to scroll through their episodes and listen to ones that stand out to me and where I’m at.

A few of my favorites:

Investing In a Volatile Market – Episode 200

Money Chores to Crush During Quarantine – Episode 191

The Pros and Cons of the FIRE Movement – Episode 221

The Simple Steps to Achieve Fire – Episode 224

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What are some of your favorite personal finance resources?

Life update – being an adult

I thought that since I have consistently felt like I didn’t know what to say here for the past few years, I would go back to basics and report on the latest life chapter of my existence – being an “adult.”

I put that word in quotes because by society’s standards, I’m nearly a full-blown adult – eligible to vote, legal to drink in the US, all that jazz. But I still feel like I’m a child in many ways. I can be responsible, but sometimes I don’t want to be. I have a job now, but I still don’t really know what I want to do with my life.

Right after I graduated college, I had a very tough time transitioning to my new working lifestyle. Routine suddenly became much more central to my life, with the days of the week taking on very different connotations than they did in college.

Sunday was no longer a second Saturday – it was now a pre-Monday. I found that it made the most sense to designate a certain day of the week to doing inevitable chores, like laundry and vacuuming.

Over the years I’ve lived through key life lessons, teachings that I’d heard but didn’t internalize until I felt them firsthand. The thing is, they often don’t look like a lesson in the moment. A lot of the learning happens after the fact.

It turns out that overcoming difficulties builds character and helps you become a stronger individual overall.

COVID-19 has me feeling very introspective and nostalgic, thinking about people that I was once close with. Lately I’ve found myself wondering why we’re no longer in each others lives.

Apparently there’s no rhyme or reason to it, but I’ve realized that in order for me to be at the place that I am today, my life had to play out the way that it did.

Still, that’s one thing I don’t think I’ll ever get over – is people coming and going in life. On one hand, someone you used to share secrets with, the first person you wanted to share exciting news with, your go-to person for consolation in hard times, is no longer in your life.

On the other, even having access to such pure and joyful memories is a privilege and testament to the positive impact they had on my life.

But I’m repeatedly reminded that everyone changes, and people naturally drift apart. And that’s okay.

You thought you were one thing but it turns out that was just a phase of your life. One of the first chapters in hopefully many – personality ends up being constantly in flux based on where you are, what you’re doing and who you surround yourself with.

Being a zillennial (Gen Z + millennial combined – that’s pretty much what I am) also adds a fun twist to the whole thing. Being connected to people on social media from not just your present day, but also your past is an interesting phenomenon. You know about their new dog, but you don’t know them and how they’re ~really~ doing.

Another everyday phenomenon that never ceases to overwhelm me is the passage of time – brutally rigid and treading in just the one direction – forward.

In some ways it’s terrifying – worsening eyesight, small body aches that creep up, eye wrinkles, gray hairs…

When I was a kid, death was something I read about in books, but didn’t happen to anyone I knew. It was just a concept I had yet to grasp. Slowly, I’m learning that it’s an inescapable fate, which means that everything up until then is meaningless in both a depressing and uplifting way.

In other ways, the passage of time is magnificently beautiful. Places you once regarded as foreign and unfamiliar, become places that you’ve physically walked, experienced delightfully for a moment in time.

——

Here’s some music I’ve been loving lately:

excerpts from my journal

Photo credit: sanatlibiblog.com

12/20/19

Coming home and seeing my parents is always a little surreal, nostalgic and sad.

  • surreal because most of my interaction with them now are on the phone so it’s weird coming back and seeing how much our house has changed and all of the new things they’ve bought, and how they prepare for their kids coming home (fresh produce, our favorite foods, etc).
  • nostalgic because I’m an “adult” now and everything I’m back, I’m a little more mature/grownup/feel less like a kid. And they have less control over me, which is half nice but also…bittersweet

Earlier tonight I was just standing there for like 5 minutes watching them unpack groceries. Almost wanted to cry.

12/23/19

Lessons learned/realizations had:

  • universal truth: there is no universal truth
  • time is not linear, it compounds
  • even for introverts, relationships/friendships are crucial
  • the fact that I am who I am + living at this exact point in time is so special
  • what do we crave? attention, acceptance, to be related to, to be comfortable, successful, leave a legacy, to flex, to travel, learn + grow. some vapid, some deep. all culmination in some ultimate form of “happiness” or something that feels like it. fulfillment? purpose? it’s a little different for everyone

1/11/20

I forgot how to be my own person. solitary, independent, driven & also confident. I have lost that confidence through body image issues, career blunders, etc.

And existential crises are hitting hard + mentally paralyzing me. Fear of failure + indecision are stopping me – PREVENTING ME – from making moves. Why, just cuz I’m 23 almost 24?

Ah, a near perfect quarter life crisis.

Inspired through, and working through it. Listening to podcasts, exercising some, eating okay, taking a break from drinking, cleaning more regularly, working hard at my job, being better about friends.

But also consuming way too much junk content online, worrying, being lazy/indecisive/unmotivated. Losing that drive. That thing that pushes you forward. Being influenced + clouded by friends, partner, family, society, my upbringing.

I want to…allocate my time better. Be more intentional with what I want to do.

2/9/20

Key discovery: I hold myself from action more these days than I used to. Why?

FEAR – probably #1. Fear of failure, social embarrassment, parental disapproval, taking a leap without a safety net/instructions, fear of the unknown, the future, the possibility, coming off as basic/tryhard, tying my identity + my life to a project.

but the real question is:

WHAT HAVE I GOT TO LOSE? WHAT IF SOMETHING GOOD COMES OUT OF THIS?

music I’m listening to:

I started a podcast!

Spin Shark.png

This podcast is inspired by the following text post I saw on Instagram a few weeks ago:

“You’re not behind in life. There’s no timetable that we all must follow. It’s made up. 7 billion people can’t do everything in the same order. What’s early? What’s late? Compared to who? Don’t beat yourself up for where you are. It’s YOUR schedule and everything is right on time.” Continue reading