Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Feed The Pig

I saw an advertisement at the mall last week with this scary looking pig:

I will feast upon your soul!

Turns out, the ad was for the financial education website The site is run by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and has a goal of educating Americans between the ages of 25 to 35 to take control of their finances.

There are lots of free tools on the site, such as checklists and financial calculators, as well as links to podcasts put out by AICPA.

The site is designed for those who have next to no knowledge of financial topics and is divided into four main sections:

Getting Started
Managing Your Money
Credit & Debt
Planning Ahead
Each of those pages gives you some basic information about the topic in question as well as links to checklists to achieve a specific goal. For example, on the Plan Ahead / Major Purchases page, there are links to a couple of goals you might have:

Selecting one of those will take you to a checklist of steps to take to achieve that goal, broken out into steps to take immediately, over the next year, and over the next several years.

The site doesn't have any options for you to plug in numbers or track your progress - it's more of an educational site and not a goal tracking site.

Mostly Good Recommendations

I found the site to have generally good recommendations. When it comes to paying down debt, they recommend the debt avalanche method of paying the minimum on all your debts except for the one with the highest interest rate and sending all extra payments to that until it is paid off, then moving on to the one with the next highest interest rate, etc. As this method results in the lowest amount of interest paid, it's the recommendation I would expect from a CPA.

The only thing I saw that I disagree with was the recommendation that Step 1 for investing is to hire a professional financial adviser, such as a CPA. Given who runs the site, this isn't a surprising recommendation, but I don't think it's the first thing that someone needs to do before investing. To be fair, they do say that if you have the time and energy, you can educate yourself rather than hiring someone, so this is just a minor quibble.

All in all, this is a decent site for those new to money topics or those looking for a place to start taking control of their financial life. Assuming the pig doesn't scare you away.


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