One of the things I found extremely useful when I was first giving myself a financial crash course was the aid of the assorted personal finance magazines out there in printland. The big three are Money, Kiplinger’s, and SmartMoney. I still have a subscription to my favorite, Money, and have found that it helps me in my financial life on several fronts: As a refresher tool to reinforce things I’ve learned in the past, a monthly affirmation of my money goals, and a means to learn new things. Even if it’s something that won’t affect me until later in life (and there’s a lot of that), it’s never too soon to get at least a cursory grasp of it now. Money also seems to do a better job of explaining things in an easy fashion, often with a touch of humor.
Now, a few caveats regarding all personal finance magazines:
- They have a tendency to repeat themselves. Big time. There’s a lot of repetition to financial advice. I’ll say that again: There’s a lot of repetition to financial advice, and a lot of the articles strain to find new takes on concepts that haven’t changed in years or decades, if ever. Still, the reinforcement doesn’t hurt.
- They are largely written with Boomers in mind. Hey, it’s their target demographic and the bulk of their subscriber base, so you can’t blame them. So a lot of the content is geared towards the assumption that you are older than you are and have more money than you do. Not a problem, but take into account that you probably don’t need to know the ins and outs of tax-loss harvesting yet. I know I ain’t there yet. And when you hit an article about second homes or how to get the best deal on your boat, you have to react with a chuckle.
For about twenty-five bucks a year, you can get a continuous stream of info delivered to your mailbox for a year. Or you can find a lot of the content online for free. I don’t mind paying for the subscription, as I just like the feel of a magazine in my hand, and it ensures I’ll read it. Some articles are even useful to reference later.
If you have a favorite or there’s another print periodical worthy of mention for the beginning saver/investor, speak up.