Online Communities and Forums to Join for Financial Advice

by David Sung

Money, like politics and religion, is a subject that most people don’t talk about in general conversation.  There is something so deeply personal and emotional about our personal finances that we avoid the subject for fear of conflict or offense. We don’t often talk about our income, savings or especially our debt with even our closest friends. This is unfortunate because there are benefits to the collective wisdom and accountability that can come with discussing issues openly.

What if you have questions about a money problem, but can’t bring yourself to ask friends or family? Is anyone else going through the same financial issues that you are going through? Here are some ideas for places where you might find like-minded individuals to discuss personal finance topics:

  • Online Communities such as SparkSavings is an extension of the enormously popular fitness community SparkPeople.com, which has more than 15 million registered users. SparkSavings uses tracking and goal setting techniques learned from weight loss practices and applies them to debt reduction, budgeting and savings. In addition to articles and tips from experts, this site’s best feature is the community interaction. You can post questions or discussion topics to forums or join groups of other users with similar financial goals. Many of these groups’ members become close friends and offer encouragement and support.
  • Forums or Message Boards – Though the popularity of these types of forums has waned in recent years, there are still active and popular forums where you can post a question or browse items posted by other readers. Here are a few examples:
    • iVillage Forums
    • Saving Advice Forum
    • Fat Wallet Forum
    • Slick Deals Forum
    • Social News sites such as Reddit – A hybrid between a social network and a forum, Reddit has pages devoted to sub-topics such as personal finance and thrifty living. While it would not be advisable to post specific personal information on this site, the Reddit community can be helpful in pointing users towards good places to find answers.
    • Personal Finance Blogs – The best bloggers have worked hard to create communities around their sites. Though they may not feature traditional forums, personal finance blogs offer some unique ways to become involved in the community. Some feature challenges such as this one which challenges readers to adopt actions that will lead them on the path to becoming millionaires someday. The Get Rich Slowly blog holds periodic TweetChats, where the writer discusses a topic with followers in real time on Twitter. WiseBread even curates a list of other personal finance blogs and rates them on their contribution to the personal finance community.
    • MyMoney.gov – The Financial Literacy and Education Commission is a government agency devoted to teaching Americans about financial education. Their website offers many resources and tools as well as a hotline to call for more information.
Financial planning can be a tricky subject to navigate. It helps to have somewhere to turn for more information or to ask a question when needed, and these online communities can be a helpful resource.

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