Everyone has to deal with money in life. It doesn't matter if you're an engineer or a janitor or a farmer, you'll need to eventually handle money and manage your finances. The funny thing is, the one thing that everyone needs to deal with is also the one thing that isn't taught in school. You learn math, and geography, and history, but not money management skills. It is completely up to the student to educate themselves on money.
So, where to start? There are so many resources on and off the internet about how to manage your own finances. Some are blogs like this one. Others are podcasts. And even more are just people who ask you to follow them around on social media. As a student, you're probably very busy and don't have the time to a) search for good places to learn about money and b) to truly delve deep into long 40000 word long books or hour long videos.
That's why I've compiled for you a few of the best resources and places that you can learn more about personal finance. Don't worry, I'm not going to be gratuitous and include myself on this list (yet). But these are resources from a range of media/content types which are accessible, easy to understand, and filled with a wealth of knowledge. These are the 7 absolute must-know money resources for every student:
Alright, admittedly we are starting off very boring here. BUT this is a resource that you absolutely have to leverage. If you don't have a bank account, I highly suggest for you to open one up as soon as possible. It helps you learn how to manage money in a digital world, teaches you how to pay bills, and can help build your credit (money reputation).
If you DO have a bank account, start using your bank as a resource!
A lot of people are spooked to call their bank because it's a big scary institution. But, think of it this way:
- If you hired someone to give you a haircut, you'd want them to do a good job
- You'd make it very clear what your expectations are and what you want your hair to look like
- If you saw them doing something you don't like, you'd probably stop them
- You'd tip them based on how well they did
- If you didn't like them, you wouldn't go back and they'd lose your business!
- So they are trying to please you as much as possible so they can retain your business
How is this related to a bank? Well, what are you doing when you go to get a haircut? You're giving a business money so that they can perform a service for you. It's the exact same with a bank. You're giving the bank your money so that they can perform a service for you: handle your money. So, technically, the bank works for YOU! And they are trying to keep YOUR business. Don't be shy with asking them exactly how stuff works. They work for you and are obligated to answer your questions. If they don't comply, you'll just switch banks and they'll lose your business!
Use this resource if:
- You want to know how to open any account (TFSA, RRSP, etc.)
- You want to apply for a credit card
- You want to plan for any kind of future event that costs money (car, college, marriage)
- You have questions about what to do with your money
Next up we have the Wikipedia of everything money related: Investopedia!
Don't have a bank account yet, or don't want the hassle of dialing a phone number to ask your bank? The next best place to go is Investopedia! Chances are, whatever question you have about money is covered in one of their posts.
Ever listen in to your parents talking about money and have no idea what they're saying? Search up whatever terms they mentioned on Investopedia and you're sure to find it. Want to know how the economy is doing today? There's probably an article about it on Investopedia. Want to learn about anything related to stocks, mutual funds, or taxes? It's on Investopedia.
Not only does Investopedia have a section dedicated solely to personal finance called “personal finance”, but it also has so much more content to choose from. This includes, but is not limited to, a stock trading simulator (if you ever want to try your luck without risking any money), and even a whole bunch of courses!
From current day news to retirement planning, Investopedia is a resource which contains many resources within itself. It's a perfect place to expand your knowledge about all things money related. If you ever want to geek out and go down a link rabbit-hole, Investopedia is a great place to do it, while also learning about finance.
Use this resource if:
- You heard a fancy money definition and want to know what it is
- You want general information on finances
- You want to learn about the stock market and investing
Graham Stephen's YouTube Channel
Many of you probably recognize this name. Graham Stephan is a real estate investor / youtuber in his 30s who's worth over 6 million dollars. He started his YouTube channel in 2017 and has been providing insights on personal finance ever since.
Before we go on to talk about what Graham offers, I want to provide a disclaimer. Even though I single out Graham here, this resource is meant to not only represent him, but all of YouTube as well. There are plenty of smart, financially free people out there who you can learn from. Each person offers a unique perspective about wealth which can ultimately benefit you in many ways.
Alright, back to Graham. Graham is one of my favorite youtubers because he's so genuine. He's very real about his finances and struggles and provides really good tips for how to do exactly what he did. He posts pretty regularly and gives his thoughts about current news, tutorials on how to buy properties, and tips for how to achieve financial goals.
Lastly, if you don't have the time to call the bank, and don't want to plow through pages of Investopedia content, YouTube as a whole is a great place to catch entertaining, useful content on all sorts of topics: personal finance included.
Use this resource if:
- You have a short attention span
- You prefer to watch a person say stuff rather than read it yourself
- You're interested in real estate (buying/investing)
Audio Books – Audible
Okay, I know I said that books wasn't going to be on this list, but hear me out. With Audio Books, lengthy dense books can be finished in a day or less. Plus, you can do other stuff while listening to them!
There are so many good books out there and as a student you don't have the time to read them: you're too busy with school and extra-curriculars! That's why audiobooks are the perfect way to get all that information without wasting your time.
In this world, there are many many personal finance and money related books (it's an attractive topic), so it might be hard to choose. My recommendation is that you spend the time to look into the book reviews as well as research the author. It's worth it to do a little due diligence because even though audiobooks take significantly less time than actual books, it's still a pretty big chunk of your day invested.
Typically, you can expect to find the author's story and a few key insights that they used to get to where they are today in their book.
Use this resource if:
- You like multitasking
- You want to get inspired by someone else's story
- You want a deeper understanding of certain financial topics
Used for many things, Reddit is a site where you can join a community of like-minded people in whatever you're interested in. Imagine yahoo answers, but better.
Honestly, this is a great space for asking questions you have about money or scrolling through communities to see if your question has already been answered. With over 330 million monthly active users, someone is bound to know the answer to your problems.
A couple spaces I recommend for students wanting to learn about money are:
- r/personalfinance (for general personal finance issues)
- r/financialindependance (for people who want to retire early / achieve financial independence sooner)
- r/money (for all things money related)
- r/personalfinancecanada (for specifically Canadian inquiries: TFSA, RRSP, etc.)
Another great aspect of Reddit is the reputability check. Ever want to buy a product or use a service, but don't really know how credible it is? Reddit is the perfect place to find out. For example, recently, I've been doing research on Bitcoin and wanted to find out what apps I could use to buy some. With every single app, I went on Reddit and searched up “(appname) bitcoin”, and there would be tons of people who had already used the app and had reviews about it. By doing this, I could better weigh the pros and cons of each app with objective feedback from Redditors who had already used it, instead of just taking each app's word for it.
Use this resource if:
- You want to join a community of people who care about what you care about
- You have an extremely specific question that can't be answered by generic posts
- You want to check how reputable a service is but the website doesn't have enough reviews
If you don't want to commit a few hours every day to listening to a book, a podcast is the perfect choice for you. Most podcasts are 30-60 minutes long and come out once a week so the time investment is truly at a minimum. Plus, you can multi-task with podcasts too!
Some podcasts that I recommend are:
- Popcorn Finance (every episode is under 15 minutes long so if you're busy, this is the one for you)
- Choose FI (for expanding overall knowledge about financial independence and wealthy living in general)
- We Study Billionaires (for those of you itching to start investing, this is one of the most comprehensive and thorough podcasts out there)
Most podcasts are available on Apple podcasts or on Google. They are filled with knowledge and typically from people who have accomplished what you're hoping to, so it's worth checking out.
Use this resource if:
- You don't have a ton of time to spare
- You want continual and updated information from the same source
- You want to shift your perspective
When I say Dave Ramsey, I'm not limiting this resource to just him. I'm talking about all the various individuals out there who love personal finance and have brought their voice to the internet. This includes the thousands of finance/money blogs out there (like this one) and the millions of people on social media who care about financial freedom.
This resource is a sort of hybrid between the videos of YouTube, the articles of Investopedia, and the questions of Reddit. For example, a good blogger (content-producer) will probably be on YouTube, have a blog, and work tirelessly to answer the questions of their audience.
In Ramsey's example, he has all three of these and works to help as many people achieve financial freedom as possible. If you haven't checked out his 7 baby steps, I highly recommend you do, and see which step you're on.
Aside from Ramsey, there are many bloggers and people on Instagram / TikTok / Twitter who genuinely care about personal finance and are willing to share everything that they have learnt. I do caution you to ask yourself a few questions before delving deeper and trusting a few of these resources:
- Are they trying to sell you something?
- Who is the person behind it all?
- How authoritative is this source?
If you figure out the answer to all three of these questions and are satisfied, then you can move on and commit! Leverage all of these different voices and all this knowledge, and there's no way you won't learn a great deal about money.
Use this resource if:
- You want to follow along with a few key voices
- You like to read
- You trust the person in charge
The 7 Absolute Must-Know Money Resources for Every Student
A quick recap of the resources covered in the post (or a “too long didn't read” for those of you who skipped down here):
- Your bank (they work for you and know a pretty good deal about money)
- Investopedia (money Wikipedia which is a storage for resources itself)
- Graham Stephan's YouTube Channel (for entertaining but knowledge filled videos about anything from real estate to stocks)
- Audio books (so many great finance books out there: why spend the time to read when you can multi-task and listen to them instead?)
- Reddit (for really specific personal finance problems)
- Podcasts (for short but convenient episodes on the way to school)
- Dave Ramsey and other blogs (for a wide range of dedicated people who care about personal finance)
So, there you have it! 7 must-know money resources for every student that can significantly benefit you as a busy individual to use and leverage. These are all packed with knowledge that can help you, even during your busiest times, learn more about money. So what are you waiting for? Pick one and start using it!
Thanks for reading through my post! I hope you learned a bit about investing and/or had fun reading it. For more about achieving financial freedom, head over to this post. For more about me, head over to this link here. Finally, if you want to follow along with my journey, drop your email in the “get updates” box (would mean a lot to me)! Let me know your thoughts and suggestions in the comments!
Jeff is a current Harvard student and author of the blog Financial Pupil who is passionate about learning, living, and sharing all things personal finance-related. He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys the pursuit of financial freedom. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.