The government can be a wealthy source for information. Problem is, finding those information through public channels can feel like a trip through the DMV (aka Satan’s backyard).

If the information was the product, and distribution of these info is part of the service, then it’s a good thing the entire U.S. government isn’t a business—because they’ll totally get outcompete. And out of business. And bankrupted. Really bankrupted.

Uh, so regardless of the government’s acutal financial situation, they’re still a great source for financial information. Seriously.

Say Hi to Mymoney.gov

Brought to you by the U.S. Financial Literacy and Education Comission, Mymoney.gov is a big o’ index site that points you towards various information on finances from many different U.S. government agencies and departments. Topics indexed ranges from bugeting, taxes, home ownership, to savings and investing. It’s basically an attempt to gather up all those useful information that you can’t find.

While visiting the site, you will notice that you can order a FREE “My Money” Tool Kit, a package of helpful publications dealing with savings, investing, protecting and getting the most from your money. Since I love free stuff, I ordered one.

The “My Money” Tool Kit

green is for show me the money

 

Let’s see what this package from Uncle Sam consist of, eh?

 

Brouchers and leaflets on personal finances. Yawn?

That was my first impression when I received the package a few months ago. After actually reading the materials, I realized that there are plenty of useful information within these booklets—albeit the small packages they came in. I’ve also found their ebook counterparts in pdf formats, so feel free to download them.

Here are some noteworthy ones in the package:

Saving Fitness: A Guide to Your Money and Your Financial Future [download] 3.12 Mb

Provided by the Department of Labor, and partnered with the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., this 16 page booklet discusses basic steps to take for a healthy financial picture, with an emphasis on retirement planning.

Social Security: Understanding the Benefits [download] 902 Kb

Nevermind that it may not even be there in a couple of years from now—-it’s still important to learn about Social Security. Brought to you by the Social Security Administration (dur), this 24 page booklet provides a good basic understanding on Social Security: how to apply, qualify, and types of benefits provided. A useful read.

Get the Facts on Saving and Investing [download] 5.7 Mb

From the US Securities and Exchange Comission (where else?), this 34 page booklet gives you a quick lowdown on the differences and importances of saving and investing. Emphasis on investing, covers some basic types of investment and things to consider when choosing to invest. A nice read with plenty of good information.

Ten Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner [download] 347 Kb

Here’s a recommended read. A straight-forward 14 page broucher from the Certified Financial Planners on 10 questions you should ask when you look for a financial planner—an important decision that should be accompanied by important questions.

The following weren’t in the package but they’re worth a mention:

Taking Control of Your Finances [download] 1.31 Mb

From the FDIC, this 12 page guide is geared towards young adults, with useful advice such as “Don’t get a credit card just so you can get a free t-shirt.”

66 Ways To Save Money [download] 79 Kb

From the Consumer Literacy Consortium (whatever that is). Straight forward and diverse in its applications; from insurance to housing, there are quite a few practical tips in there.

Noteworthy Sites Indexed on Mymoney.gov

All in all, the “My Money” Tool Kit was pretty decent, even if they just threw in a bunch of different booklets from different agencies. You can order your own free kit here. The free package isn’t all that Mymoney.gov has to offer—the real goods are the indexed sites:

  • FTC’s website on Credit – Everything you should know about consumer credits.
  • The Fed on Choosing a Credit Card – A VERY good read on things to consider when choosing a credit card. Was going to write an post just like this one, but why bother when the Fed’s got it covered!
  • US Treasury on Identity Theft – A pretty nice, if not well organized page with plenty of information on identity theft. Do’s and don’ts, what to do to prevent, and what to do if you are a victim of identity theft.
  • FTC’s website on Identity Theft – Another resource on identity theft from the boys that receive the complaints. Much better organized and an easier read.
  • SEC Guide on Avoiding Securities Fraud – A very nice index guide on the many, many different types of securities frauds you should watch for when investing.
  • Department of Housing on Buying a Home – Nine steps to buying a home. The steps are pretty watered down, but there are plenty of links to many other resources.
  • FTC on HELOCs – A good page that describes home equity line of credits and the important questions that you should ask yourself before applying for one.
  • US Treasury on IRA (476 KB, PDF) – A 104 page publication on everything you want and don’t want to know about Individual Retirement Accounts.
  • Step-by-Step Retirement Planner – Straight from the fun folks at the Social Security Administration, a good guide on steps to take when you’re near retirement (focuses on social security).

Actually Read Everything?

If you’ve seriously, and I mean seriously read through all those information above—I will guaranteed that you would have learned a bit more about finances. The next time you’re looking for general financial information, check out Mymoney.gov or a do a search on Consumer.gov, you may be plesantly surprise on what you tax dollars can produce.