Sunday, May 11, 2008

How to get financially smart – for free!

Learning for free
How to get financially smart – for free!
Yes – it is possible to sharpen your financial acumen for free. I had to skip work to attend a ThinkorSwim seminar on option trading but it was definitely worth the time off. What I learned in the seminar will be another post but here are some thoughts on free learning.

What is free?
You may be surprised but there are enough free resources to make any one of us financially astute. Free financial seminars usually come bundled with some sales and marketing for the company products or trading platform but there is ample professional advice being imparted in these sessions to make them worth attending. If you are into options trading – I would highly recommend ThinkorSwim seminars (most are free) and CBOE sessions (which are not free but definitely worth the fee). Most financial institutions (Fidelity, Vanguard etc.) also sponsor financial/retirement planning seminars. Check them out.

The other resource to be leveraged is the public library. My mantra is read before you buy. I do buy some books (see my listing on the right) but I leverage my local library to keep up with the current financial bestsellers.

Online classes and webinars are also a great resource to get financial coaching and listen to industry gurus. Check out financial institutions, brokerage houses and trading/investing platform companies for online learning opportunities.

Who is Learning?
About 80% of the attendees in this sold out class on options trading were retirees. Most of the people I talked to expressed a strong desire to increase their income potential due to limited retirement income. It is a sad but true state of the baby boomer’s retirement dilemma. Ready to retire but not enough income to make it happen. At least this set of would-be retirees was making an effort to learn new financial techniques to augment their income.

On the flip side what could one surmise from the absence of the younger generation at this seminar. One could assume that the younger generation has either figured out their retirement strategy or they will scramble when retirement is imminent.

Can I learn?
The resources are available for anyone to become financially smart. What is needed to make it happen is motivation? The motivation to learn and improve your financial status will help create the urgency and time. You can dream of quitting your job, retiring early, retiring rich, having passive income or you can turn dreams into reality by learning and acting.

So register for a financial seminar, take an online class or listen to your favorite financial guru’s podcast/webinar. It is free and it will make you smart!

(Photo courtesy - Flickr)

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