The federal government has launched a centralized website to provide consumers with financial information about a variety of subjects.
The site, MyMoney.gov, includes resources from 12 government agencies (including the FDIC, the Federal Reserve, the National Credit Union Association and more), which collectively make up the Financial Literacy and Education Commission.
Centralized Financial Help
The genius of this website is that it brings together in one easy-to-navigate place useful information that had been buried on the websites of a dozen departments. Basically, the site is divided into three sections:
- Life Events: This section provides guidance and information about major life events that have a financial component. Topics addressed include having or adopting a child, attending college, marrying or divorcing, getting a home mortgage, starting or losing a job, starting or buying a business, planning for retirement and dealing with death. It’s nice to have a resource like this because it’s often easy to overlook the financial aspects of an event when focusing on more emotional features.
- My Resources: This section offers information for various groups of people, including youth, teachers, parents and caregivers, women, employers, military, retirees, researchers and non-profits. Whether your questions are personal or business-related, you can find information targeted specifically to your demographic.
- Tools: Here, you can find calculators, budgeting worksheets and checklists to help you plan for or better organize major financial decisions, all designed to help you take control of your finances and avoid the traps that often lead to bankruptcy.
Navigating the Site
The layout of the site is pretty intuitive – if you’re looking for basic information, the “Life Events” category is probably the best place to start, since it provides articles that give helpful overviews.
For example, in the “Going to College” section, there are pages called “Get the Basics: How to Pay for College,” “Money for College: Federal Student Aid Information,” “Using Savings Bonds for Education” and more.
Then, you can look to the “Youth” section under “My Resources” for tips on how to handle money and credit while pursuing a degree.
Finally, you can turn to the “Tools” to find checklists to make sure you aren’t forgetting important steps as you begin the process of applying to colleges and figuring out how to finance your education.
Once you select an article or checklist you want to read, MyMoney.gov provides you with a link to the page of the department that hosts the information, making the whole process pretty painless.