Not everyone is cut out for learning about certain topics by means of reading numerous books. Instead, it may be beneficial for some learners to first understand some simple concepts and then use those basic concepts to get deeper into the subject matter.
For example, if one does not understand a concept of how money and finances work, it may be beneficial to first study the basic concepts of how money and the financial system operate before studying how particular banks and other institutions such as the stock markets are managed.
You may think that finance is a topic that involves an affinity for numbers, and you are halfway right in this regard. If you feel that you hate numbers, chances are that complex calculations are the problem instead of the numbers themselves.
Depending on how much you want to learn about finance, you should be able to avoid complicated formulas such as leveraged buyout modeling, which would require the use of Microsoft Excel. At the same time, there is no written rule that limits the learning of financial concepts to written words.
Some people are really good at reading; they have a capability to spend hours, days, and weeks in order to complete books, reports or financial statements. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, for example, spends about six hours of reading time on a daily basis. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who happens to be a good friend of Buffett, makes it a point to read one book each week.
However, not all of us are capable of investing such time in reading; therefore, if you have the potential to understand the essence of a book in a short time, you can certainly benefit from it. We mention this now because there may come a time when you decide that reading will get you closer to your financial goals. Nonetheless, and for the time being, let’s look at three ways you can get started with financial learning without having to crack books open:
Online Video Learning
Financial education videos are not new; they date back to the days when you could order VHS tapes or DVDs by mail, but they have since migrated to the internet thanks to advances in digital streaming technology. There is a vast amount of financial video content you can stream on your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Depending on the streaming platform, you may be able to download some video content for offline viewing.
As you can imagine, YouTube is a treasure trove of financial-related content; here is where you can find everything from budgeting tips to dealing with debt and from personal banking to stock market advice. The beauty of this platform is that Google has done a truly impressive job in terms of organizing content into channels. A good place to start would be these YouTube videos about finance from a macroeconomics point of view.
What makes podcasts so incredibly appealing? There are many possible answers to this question, but the summary explanation can be found in high production values. When you listen to established financial podcasts such as Freakonomics, Planet Money, or Odd Lots, you can actually hear the professionalism coming from your headphones, and this involves writing, presentation, background music, audio engineering, vocal delivery, and other factors that make podcasts irresistible and great for learning.
If you are interested in short podcasts that you can listen to on a daily basis, try Marketplace and its Morning Edition version from Public Radio International. Just about every topic presented on these podcasts features an explanation, and the production team is able to squeeze a lot of knowledge in just a few minutes.
Video Games With Financial Content
You would be surprised at how many video games feature financial content. Quite a few games that are based on virtual worlds have their very own in-game economies; case in point would be the Animal Crossing series for various Nintendo platforms, but there are other games where the financial education angle is presented more explicitly.
Without a doubt, the Stock Market Game developed by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association is one of the best learning options for people who are interested in becoming Wall Street investors; in recent years, this game has moved from desktop browsers to mobile apps so that you can stay on top of your market positions on a real-time basis. If you are looking for something a little more exciting, try the Wall Street Raider and Speculator games from Ronin Software, which have been around since before internet services came to our homes.