Feel like your finances could use a bit of a kickstart? Find out if you're on the right track with ME Bank's free educational courses.
Becoming financially literate is one way to ensure you avoid debt, reach financial independence and secure your retirement. There's no way you can do this better than by absorbing knowledge from experts and applying it to your own life.
There are troves of information on the subject of personal finance, much of it in the form of expensive courses, books and seminars designed to teach you the 'secret' to wealth.
But if you look hard enough, there are also free resources right at your fingertips with practical tips and information on the internet designed to get you on the right path.
One of the most recent additions to this is ME Bank's 'Building Financial Confidence Program', developed in partnership with online financial educator Money101. The program offers seven free programs targeted at Australians at different life stages, such as those wanting to buy their first property, build up their wealth, retire comfortably and more.
While it doesn't go into great depth into any one section, it provides digestible tips and definitions of important financial terms.
If you don't know what life stage you fall into you can take a brief quiz and let ME Bank choose for you.
The 'Living in the Now' program for example has four chapters with three to four modules in each. Topics are as diverse as interest rate basics, how debt works, the importance of setting goals and the differences between renting or borrowing.
Each module follows a slide show presentation format which allows you to navigate through the slides. There's also a narrator which will read important points out if you're not the reading type, a resources drop down menu which has useful links for that lesson and finally a glossary which explains the terms being used in that particular module.
Related: Find out more about LVR
The modules are interactive and throughout each you'll be quizzed on different topics to identify where you need to plug a gap in your knowledge. There are also case studies to show you how this information applies to real settings with real people.
None of ME Bank's products are plugged throughout the presentations, so you won't have to worry about being bombarded with advertising.
There really is no downside to using the Building Financial Confidence Program. Even if you're strapped for time, try to set a goal of completing one module a night. Each module takes 10 - 15 minutes to complete and could make a big difference to your future.
Get an education
Free financial information is available all over the internet, but be careful who you listen to. Remember that any advice you receive on these sites is usually general - you should always have a trusted accountant or financial planner who you can speak to before making decisions when it comes to your finances.
finder.com.au. We can't resist telling you about our own services. We're always releasing free comparisons, guides and other information to help you get the best out of your financial products and include information from industry experts such as journalist and author Noel Whittaker and the nation's chief economists.
Moneysmart. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) should be one of your first resources when getting your finances sorted. It's run by the government and is not-for-profit, so it's one of the few places where you can get unbiased information. It has information on a range of topics including investing, scams, managing your money and superannuation and also provides calculators and planners.
The Barefoot Investor. Scott Pape, the Barefoot Investor, is a renown finance expert who's famous for giving no-nonsense advice and practical tips. His website has a huge amount of free content for those interested in getting their finances on track and beyond, from free wealth building courses to blog entries on building your business, cars and your children.
Kochie Blog. Who doesn't like David Koch? The Sunrise presenter and financial commentator is or has been at one time or another a businessman, author, journalist and philanthropist and regularly publishes finance tips on 'The Kochie Blog'.