One of the main reasons we were able to pay off $109K worth of debt was the fact that we increased our knowledge about personal finance. We were naive before June of 2010 in the ways of money and I knew it. I began to poke around on the internet for information prior to that time but was unwilling to make any habit changes until we hit rock bottom. Once we were ready, we began to educate ourselves from a number of sources. The internet was the easiest way to find information at first. I then moved on to books and podcasts. This has been a constant during the last 4 years. I have now added a new wrinkle to the continuing education fold by enrolling in two classes at a local community college. I’m hopefully that these two classes will be a nice springboard for the next phase of our journey.
As I’ve mentioned before Ninja over at Punch Debt in the Face was the first blog I found. I once guest posted on his site too. Today I read 10-15 blogs a day and seem to discover new ones each and every day. It’s great to read varies perspectives from so many. I read posts from younger, older, wealthier, smarter, poorer, and healthier points of view every day. They help me in my day-to-day life, and giving me things to consider. I list a bunch of my favorite blogs during my week-end round-up posts each Friday, but wanted to highlight a few that I regularly visit and here’s why:
Budgets are $exy – J Money is the man! He’s very willing to lend advice or answer any questions you may have. His posted keep me thinking.
Enemy of Debt – Travis and I share a very similar story, right down to the $109k worth of debt. It’s nice to have advice from someone going through some of the same challenges as my family.
Club Thrifty – Holly and I both met our significant others online. I have recently rediscovered her blog and can’t remember why I did stick with it from years ago.
I have lost count of the number of books I have read over the last four years, many more than in the previous 20. The first two books I read were Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Make Over” and Thomas J. Stanley and William Danko’s “The Millionaire Next Door.” Ramsey book was the aha moment for me, his baby steps were so simple, and reading the stories of others accomplishments with paying off debt made me want this success for myself. The Millionaire Next Door solidified what I learned in Ramsey’s book, by taking these basic principles further you can build wealth, incredible wealth. If you haven’t read either of these books I would suggest that you do.
The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy – by Stanley & Danko
As some point along the way I began to listen to podcast. I usually do this while I’m working around the house or taking my dog “Mushu for a walk. Ramsey’s podcast is still my favorite. It can be a bit repetitive, but hearing debt free screams always motives me. We will be appearing on Dave’s show in November to perform our debt free scream. I also listen to Well Kept Wallet, Smart Passive Income, The Art of Charm, and Couple Money podcast. I was a guess on the Couple Money podcast just a few weeks ago.
Dave Ramsey -the 40-45 minute podcast is perfect way t get a nice taste of Ramsey and you usually get a debt free scream to keep you motivated.
48 Days to the Work You Love – Dan Miller’s podcast provides help information for careers, hustlers, and entrepreneur. He has a great online community too.
My most recent self-improvement education endeavor is two classes at a local community college. Over the next 2-weeks I’ll be taking 4 – 2 hour classes covering stocks, bonds, mutual fund investing and financial planning. For a $79 investment I thought it was a good idea to see what these classes had to offer. I have attended one of the investing classes so far. It’s being led by a Merrill Lynch advisor. We have covered a general overview of investing, including the definition and differences between stock, bonds and mutual funds. The best part of the class so far has been the Q&A and the interaction with my 15 or so classmates. This has been a good change of pace from the self-taught forms, non-group educational items I’ve mentioned. Having good interaction in form of conversation is great. I enjoy reading and responding to comments here at my blog, but having the group session with everyone focused on the same topic has been rewarding. I’m looking forward to the additional classes.
What are your favorite resources to stay educated on personal finance? Which training method do you prefer self-taught or formal?