Tuesday, January 19, 2016

My Short List of Non-Scammy Online Finance and Business Resources

The internet is rife with plenty of people telling you how to get rich quick and what to do with your money.  It's difficult to weed out what are legitimate, useful resources and what is snake oil or worse. Amid all the noise and fluff, there are real people who really do have some useful information for those looking to earn an income online and retire before they are 92.   Below is my "short list" of resources that are not scammy and have high-quality helpful content we can learn from and use.

Pat Flynn is one of my favorites right now.  His blog posts and podcast are really some of the best free content on the subject of online business.  His new book Will it Fly is a perfect example of the type of short, practical, actionable advice that just about anybody could use to start a business online. He's genuine and transparent- actually posting income statements each month!

Mike and Lauren is a new one for me, but one I really enjoy.  They are a young couple employing the Early Retirement Extreme principals in a unique transparent YouTube channel that is a blend of finance information and DIY workshop videos.  I first found Mike's workshop videos, but have gone back and watched their other ones and now look forward to seeing their next adventure - an RV across the country.

Dave Ramsey was my first introduction to financial literature, and kept me largely out of debt after college.  Some may see his advice as "dated", but even if you don't follow him 100%, his practical 10 step plan to get out of debt and get ahead is solid.  Coupled with some of these other resources, you have the recipe for real success.

Get Rich Slowly is a great blog with just the right sort of attitude toward this stuff:  there is no such thing as a free lunch, but you also don't have to settle for working a 9-5 until you're 92 just to scrape by paycheck to paycheck.

Early Retirement Extreme I really want to like. The gist is, if you go to the extreme of saving and investing 80% of your income and living off of 20%, you can retire in 5 years, regardless of income. That means living _way_ under your means of course, and I can't say I'm ready to be as extreme as this, but I do like having his perspective.  If nothing else it's a push in the right direction.

Mint  * Is free online tracking of your finances and budget all in one place.  Now, a warning:  If you're not the customer, you're the product, and Mint does advertise fairly heavily.  Still, I think the service they provide is worth it.  I firmly believe you can't improve what you can't see, and Mint helps me see my finances.

Wave * is to business accounting what Mint is to personal finance.  Free online accounting for small businesses.  I haven't had occasion to use all of their services - not having a payroll to run for my small LLC, I mainly use it to track business expenses.  But, I have been impressed with the clean interface and useful tools.

*There are some who will object to keeping financial information "in the cloud" like this. My response is: there is risk, but online is likely safer than desktop apps on your own device and network.  Plus, your banks and credit cards regularly keep your finances online.  Unless you have PCI compliance for your home PC, benefits of online tools (with obvious due diligence) generally outweigh the risks.

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