I’ve never been great at saving or managing my money. But in the past couple years I’ve finally settled into a decent job where I’m no longer living month to month, and I have a bit of money to set aside. Last Christmas my father gave me a book titled, The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing. As I opened it, even before I could say anything, my father says, “It’s not that I think you’re lazy…” I laughed it off.
I read the book in the next month and it really does give some solid starting advice for saving and investing. It’s by no means a “how to play the stock market” book. It’s quite the opposite. It clearly lays out a smart, sensible approach to saving, focusing on a well-diversified portfolio. As I read it, I thought, “Woah! Wait a minute. I’ve got nothing that could even resemble a ‘portfolio’ let alone enough money to start a well-diversified one.” But it was simple to start thinking in those terms. It doesn’t take much to move some of your 1.5% yearly interest bank savings to a Vanguard fund that’ll earn you anywhere from a 5% to 10% annualized return over a number of years. It’s a lot less intimidating than it seems.
As a result of some of these new learnings, I’ve started reading some more personal finance and money weblogs. Some good starting points:
- Paul B. Farrell’s columns on MarketWatch.com. The author of the Lazy Person’s Guide writes regularly with a lot of the same good advice.
- Get Rich Slowly also gives a lot of great advice on saving, and finding places to cut costs in your life. Frugality isn’t always fun, but seeing the results of savings sure is.
- Wheaties For Your Wallet is a blog for the upcoming Wesabe.com. It provides some good advice for consumers, investors and the money-conscious, in advance of whatever service Wesabe.com is going to offer in that area.
- Mutual Improvement is a blog from the 43 Things creators, and is a little more focused on personal improvement along the lines of the classic Lifehacker.com, and has had a number of interesting posts lately.
- StopBuyingCrap.com is, oddly enough, about crap, that companies try to make you buy. Stop buying it.
And if that’s not enough, Get Rich Slowly just posted this roundup of personal development sites with plenty more options.
Start with the little things. Save a little money. Plan for the future. Yadda, yadda. Turns out there’s some truth to all those things our parents told us when we were younger.