As much as I love that Pink Floyd song ‘We Don’t Need No Education’, we could probably all agree that a little education would go a long way. I went to Target last week to buy some cleaning products. There were so many choices it was hard to decide and I just wanted someone to come along and point to one and make the decision easier. Sometimes wading through all the financial options and services available to consumers is a similar experience. There are more and more short term loan options, a myriad of options for prepaid, debit and credit cards, not to mention all the options available for traditional banking services.
Research shows that often people make financial decisions based on emotions, or with pieces of information without having the whole picture. During the Great Depression, even economists had trouble evaluating the causes, demonstrating that even these scholars had a limited understanding of the economy of the time.
With the availability of the Internet, there are now many online resources to help consumers wade through complex financial information to make an informed decision. Here are a few examples where you can turn for help:
AmericaSaves.org: Site supported by a broad coalition of nonprofit, profit, corporate and government organizations to help consumers save money and build wealth. The site offers articles, tips and free resources for how to protect yourself in case of emergencies and build savings. Great resources for how to begin saving money everyday can be found here.
FDIC.gov: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation provides information and resources on topics from real estate and housing, identity theft, consumer protection, and financial education to information on bank closings and foreclosure prevention.
New Mexico Payday Loan Overview: Many states offer overviews on payday loans and short term borrowing, as well as resources for managing debt, saving money and how to determine if a payday loan is best for you. We have provided a link to a site in New Mexico which provides additional links for financial tips; for state-specific rules in your area, be sure to do an additional online search.
thebeehive.org: A great nonprofit resource for families on topics varying from how best to manage money, and topics for better living including health, jobs, schools and housing. The site aims to help consumers enter the economic mainstream and connect to educational tools and services to inform and empower people to improve their lives.
For additional resources, including online sites geared for kids and youth, a comprehensive list is found here.
In addition, don’t miss resources on this site for how to set up a budget, financial tips for single parents, and other articles in our financial literacy category