Liz Weston: Painless, even fun ways to learn about money

The online landscape is filled with horrible personal finance advice: teenagers promoting day trading strategies, “influencers” whipping up questionable investment schemes, and people with dubious credentials insisting you shouldn’t invest in a 401(k).

The outrageous statements and flashy graphics draw attention, but there’s also a lot of solid, fact-correct money content, and some of it is even entertaining. So if you want to learn more about manage your finances while having at least a little fun, here are some ways to do it.


With podcasts, you have a ton of options (sorry I couldn’t resist). One to try is “Stacking Benjamins,” which a Fast Company article accurately describes as surprisingly “a great balance of fun and functionality.” Former financial advisor Joe Saul-Sehy and certified financial planner Josh Bannerman combine news, jokes and education with the help of regular contributors Paula Pant and Len Penzo, plus a wide variety of guests. (Full disclosure: I’ve been a guest on “Stacking Benjamins,” among other podcasts, and co-host “NerdWallet’s Smart Money Podcast.”)

Also, check out two public radio podcasts: “Planet Money,” which explains how the economy works, and “This Is Uncomfortable,” which describes itself as a podcast about life and how money interferes with it. Public radio isn’t known for being a laugh a minute, but the high production values ​​and good storytelling will keep you interested.

If you like to learn by listening, the Clubhouse social media app is also worth exploring. This voice-only app lets you listen to and often participate in live conversations on a seemingly endless number of topics. Consider starting with the Personal Finance Club. (Clubhouse started out as invitation-only, but is now open to everyone.)

Of course, as with all social networks, proceed with caution. Having a large following does not mean someone is credible, honest, or knowledgeable. Many people pose as experts without the credentials or experience to be one. No one is required to disclose conflicts of interest, and your default assumption should be that what you are hearing or seeing may not be in your best interest.

Information or advice shared on social media isn’t tailored to your unique circumstances, says CFP Lazetta Rainey Braxton of Brooklyn, New York. Research the ideas to make sure they make sense for your situation, and consider consulting an appropriate expert, such as a tax professional, CFP, or attorney, says Ella Braxton.


Suppose you are more of a visual learner. In that case, you’ll find plenty of reputable experts to follow on Instagram, including CFP Brittney Castro and Certified Financial Education Instructor Bola Sokunbio of “Clever Girl Finance.” But for sheer fun, it’s hard to beat Berna Anat, aka “Hey Berna,” a financial educator whose stated goal is to make “financial education more fun, more accessible, and darker for young people around the world.” .

Anat and several other Instagram-worthy creators like “The Financial Diet” and “His and Her Money” are also on YouTube, along with a host of finance and investment channels airing sketchy advice (often interrupted by even sketchier commercials). .

Beware of creators who pretend that making large sums of money is easy or who promote risky strategies such as options trading or lending money to buy volatile assets like cryptocurrencies, especially if you are new to investing.

Also, be skeptical of creators who aren’t transparent about their financial situations or strategies, says Nashville-based CFP Jeff Rose, a blogger for “Good Financial Cents,” who has hosted the Wealth Hacker YouTube channel since 2011.

Many people claim to be spectacularly financially successful, but in reality they are trying to lure you into buying courses or other products that make money for them and are not in your best interest.

That’s especially true on TikTok, where videos are often only a few seconds long, and bold claims about instant wealth seem to be the norm. Even here, however, some people are creating substantial and entertaining money content. Two to watch include Humphrey Yang (@humphreytalks) and Delyanne Barros (@delyannethemoneycoach).


If books are your bag, you won’t have to consume caffeine to read the following personal finance tomes that pepper your education with plenty of humor:

● “Stacked: Your Super Serious Guide to Modern Money Management,” from “Stacking Benjamins” host Saul-Sehy and co-author Emily Guy Birken.

● “Bad Money: The Imperfect Art of Getting Your Financial Sh(asterisk) in Order,” by comedian and LGBTQ activist Gaby Dunn.

● Any of three Erin Lowry books, including “Broke Millennial,” “Broke Millennial Takes On Investing,” and “Broke Millennial Talks Money.”

One last recommendation: “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason. This little book of parables isn’t funny, but it’s entertaining, easy to read, and amazingly relevant nearly 100 years after it was first published.

The ways we learn about money can change dramatically, but a lot of the best personal finance advice doesn’t.


This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance site NerdWallet. The content is for educational and informational purposes and does not constitute investment advice. Liz Weston is a columnist for NerdWallet, a certified financial planner, and the author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: Twitter: @lizweston.


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