How to Become a Financial Expert

So you want to become a financial expert?

This ain’t Bugsy Malone! But have  no fear, here’s where you start. There’s a wealth of information is at your fingertips, and getting started can be easy if you’re a motivated and intelligent self-starter. From a basic introduction to personal finances to advanced security analysis, anyone interested in learning could get access to the necessary resources. Remember, mastering the fundamentals of finance and how markets function, are key skills if you are involved with any business or investment service. These building blocks along with others also, enable a sound analysis and accurate decisions to be made about what, why and when to invest.

 Start By Reading

For a basic introduction to sound financial concepts, you can’t do much better than ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ by George S. Clauson.  It’s a tiny little book, written in an uncomplicated style. It also captures the wisdom of the ages in an easy to follow manner.

Once you’ve read, understood and digested this book, the acclaimed ‘For Dummies’ series provides insight into everything from budgeting to mutual funds. ‘Managing Your Money for Dummies’, ‘Budgeting for Dummies’ and ‘Mutual Funds for Dummies’ are three titles that will help you expand your knowledge of just about every basic concept you’ll ever need to know.

Google and other search engines let you hone in on specific topics, and many mutual fund companies and financial services firms offer a wealth of free information. A visit to their websites can reveal everything from general education on a wide array of products to economic forecasts and economic insights from professional market watchers. With a just a little effort, you can even identify and follow comments from your favorite economist, investment stratagist, portfolio manager, or other expert.

The library, your local bookstore and multiple online retailers also offer literally thousands of books on every conceivable topic. From financial history and Wall Street villains to hedge fund analysis and day-trading strategies.

Television, Radio and Podcasts

Television broadcasts and/or podcasts are available from a variety of experts. At the national level, well known gurus cover all the common topics. At a local level, your city is likely to have an expert or two that you can tune into at no extra cost.

Further Reading

After you have covered the basics and want a solid overview at a more detailed level,  try The Wall Street Journal Guide to Investing’. When you are ready to learn about stock research, Value Line is a great publication to subscribe too. It provides an introduction into how you can begin to research and analyze stocks. Some libraries provide access to Value Line for free. Value Line also has an informative website.

Subscribing to the The Wall Street Journal will give you a daily overview of the issues impacting global business operations. The Journal also has a great Money and Investing section. Barron’s is another fine publication read by many professionals in the financial services industry.

 Talk to the Experts

Find time to talk to the experts. Financial services professionals make a living with their expertise and can help you learn about everything from mortgages and debt management to retirement savings and estate planning. Some of these topics are covered in seminars, others in one-on-one consultations. You can even pick up a thing or two just by having an informal conversation. Talk to a professional financial advisor, talk to your banker, talk to your accountant and your lawyer.

 Further Studies

The CFA Institute (a non-profit organization that offers “a range of educational and career resources, including the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and the Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM) designations”) provides access to the curriculum for several of their well-regarded programs for free. Read more…

A Life-Long Pursuit

In the financial services sector, there will always something new to consider, something old to revisit and something interesting just beyond the horizon. Keeping up with the industry is an important part of a financial service professional’s life and continuing education requirements are required for many of these experts to maintain their credentials. What this means for the-self taught expert is that you will always have an opportunity to add to your body of knowledge.


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