Since you’re on Money Under 30 reading this right now, you’re probably aware that there are a huge number of online personal finance communities these days.
Since nearly everyone under 30 has substantial student loan debt (among many other debts), it’s no surprise that the online community has grown so much in the last decade.
Since personal finance is, well, personal, many people likely have a difficult time discussing their debt with family or friends. That’s where personal finance communities play a big role. Our founder, David Weliver speaks to that, saying he was “uncomfortable talking about his debt with family or friends, but he found a supportive community online.” This lead him to start Money Under 30, which ultimately helped him get out of the debt he had amassed after college.
But today, we’re going to be talking about some of the other personal finance communities out there. Although, we think highly of ourselves, we acknowledge that there are many other communities out there that are also great.
Reddit is as an online discussion community that allows visitors to discuss a number of topics, including personal finance.
Users submit topics that are voted up and down—those with more “up” votes rise to the top of the board.
They even have challenges to make things a little more fun. I participated in January’s “get on top of your credit challenge” and I found it very helpful. These challenges are simple and take just a few minutes out of your month. Best of all, they really do help improve your finances along the way!
But, as all communities based on comments, Reddit can get a little intense. At times, you’ll have to wade through a lot of stories that are a little too personal or commentators that seem to have no sympathy. But, overall, Reddit has a lot to offer.
Bogleheads specializes in investing, but they have a host of other personal finance topics. It’s platform is simple, much like Reddit, but it’s effective. The site was inspired by John Bogle—the founder of The Vanguard Group.
Nearly all the posts get a response, so you can ask any question you have—chances are, someone else has it too. There are moderators, and administrators of the site that manage the questions and make sure things run smoothly.
Many of the non-investing topics revolve around taxes (because who doesn’t have questions about taxes), real estate, and retirement accounts. But, the list of topics is endless.
Most think of Facebook as a place where annoying relatives friend request you and then post a bunch of embarrassing pictures of you as a kid. But it offers much more than that.
There are a huge number of groups that focus on a variety of topics—including personal finance. Groups range from general personal finance, to more focused groups dedicated to helping military members, married couples, women, and more. The gist—pretty much anyone can find a group that suits them.
A few of our recommendations are:
- Dough Rollers—They offer a solid personal finance blog, but they also have a podcast, and their Facebook page is very active, and typically remains friendly.
- Your Money And Your Life—This is NPRs online community, so on this page you’ll find much of the same professional discussions that you hear on the NPR personal finance podcast (which I mention below).
- Choosefi—This group stems from the Choosefi podcast which is all about reaching financial independence. Here you’ll find folks talking about hundreds of different ways to reach a debt-free and financially independent life.
Also, many personal finance blogs (like us), have facebook pages that keep you up-to-date with all that’s going on.
Like Reddit, however, Facebook does revolve mostly around comments, so be aware that there’s a lot of negativity.
NPR and other podcasts
Podcasts are huge right now. Every platform from Spotify to iTunes offers a large selection of podcasts to choose from.
NPR recently started a personal finance section that has gained a lot of traction.
My personal favorite finance podcasts also include Journey To Launch and Pour Not Poor—I find them especially entertaining since they talk a lot about beer…in addition to financial independence, of course.
The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen while doing a host of other things. I frequently listen to them at work and on long car rides.
I’m not just talking about Googling the phrase “personal finance”—although, that’s a good way to get some of your questions answered.
Google+ has a Finance community where people post interesting links and questions.
It’s essentially, a fancier looking version of Reddit and Bogleheads. If you’re looking to stay up on personal finance news, this is the platform for you! And since you’re probably on Google at least once a day anyway, why not read something informative that can help you keep on top of your finances.
While StickK isn’t just for personal finance help, it is a community of overwhelmingly supportive folks.
The whole point of the site is to make a goal (including financial goals) and then sign a “Commitment Contract” ensuring that you’ll stick with the goal.
You can have a referee verify your weekly progress reports, as well as other supporters who cheer you on along the way.
If that’s not enough to help you stick to your goal, you can also add stakes, aka money, to your challenge, but this isn’t required. If you lose your challenge, you lose your money. You can elect an organization or person to receive the money you loose. Wanting to keep your money—what’s better motivation than that?
Online personal finance communities are a way for those in need of information and advice to get just that. There are many to choose from–in fact, it can be overwhelming at times. These six sites are a great way to get started.