LOOKING FOR INVESTMENT EDUCATION? BEWARE!

In previous Blog Posts, I have recommended: doing your homework; asking lots of questions and making sure that the answer is completely understandable (not gibberish or jargon); and being aware of the companies–some even household names–that may wish to part you from your money. The linked column, by Nancy Folbre, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from the NYT Times, describes some of these various potential traps, http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/30/high-finance-and-financial-education/?ref=economy&pagewanted=print.

Professor Folbre points-out that two Financial “Education” opportunities, “Better Money Habits”, through the respected Khan Academy, and Huffington Post also has a program, both of which are in collaboration with Bank of America. Then there is the Dave Ramsey Peace University’s “God’s way of handling money”, which advises Young People to never go into debt; but, then, it charges a hefty fee–and also directs students to for-profit web sites. Keep in mind that non-profits can have for-profit tie-ins or subsidiaries. Also, I’m sure that there are other apparently educational programs which might not really be such either.

These various programs may vey well provide a certain amount of financial education; however, you have to always be on the alert for a bias–namely to sell the collaborators’ or sponsor’s products or services. As Professor Folbre suggests, Bank of America is the Country’s largest distributor of credit cards, and Peace University might have non-religious motives. Would either of them direct you to competing web sites? I surely don’t think so.

There are a number of excellent free web-sites that can provide guidance for shopping around for: higher CD Rates; better credit card options (often through credit unions); home loans; life insurance; etc. Also, I really do think that God is too busy with her many other, more important responsibilities than to devise a primer on investing.

Just recently, I had written that many financial “how to” articles are submitted to the Media by financial relations companies, and financed by various financial services corporations, to plug the company, their products and to direct you to their web sites. See how easy it is to sign-up? Kind of like cattle that are herded through a gradually diminishing fence structure–just before they are slaughtered.

But also, as I have noted before, check the products and web sites on the U. S. Government’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s web site: http://www.consumerfinance.gov. You can Email or CFPB call with a question, if you wish. They seem very committed in their Mission.

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