5 Easy Tools for Smarter Money Mastery

We're celebrating Financial Literacy Month in numeric style. Follow our crash course on maximizing your portfolio and finances with The 10 Essential Money Lessons.

Got a money question? We've got the answer just a few clicks away.

Thanks to the magic of the Internet (and the depth and breadth of the corner we've carved out here at Fool.com), you're just seconds away from tackling those looming financial tasks once and for all.

Everywhere you turn -- in our feature articles, help centers, on the discussion boards, in blogs, and out in the community -- help awaits. That's true whether you need to get out of debt, start investing, perfect your investing style, or decide what to do with that million dollars you just inherited. (Just let me know if this last one is you, so that I can help you spell my name and properly address the check.)

In short, Fool.com is an all-access pass to financial literacy.

Ready! Set! Where to?
We recognize that Fool.com is a pretty big place, and we know the wealth of information can be a lot to take in at first. So, without further ado, here is a list of parts of the site that every Fool should know.

1. CAPS
Our investor-intelligence community rates stocks on a scale of one to five stars, and the participants themselves are weighted according to their accuracy. Thus, a successful CAPS member's opinions are worth more than, oh, certain Wall Street names we could mention. CAPS is an amazing tool for organizing a mock portfolio, tracking a real portfolio, taking advantage of the wisdom of crowds, or just keeping an eye on the "experts." Add this tool to your research process when vetting stocks, or use it to screen for interesting ideas. For example, our preset screen for top-rated dividend stocks recently returned 125 companies, including General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) , Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ  ) , Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG  ) , and Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO  ) .

2. Message boards
You name it, and we have a board for it! Whether you're curious about mechanical investing, want to know the best way to get out of debt, need advice on tax strategies, or want to indulge in some car talk – or, for that matter, if you just want to discuss your pets – we're proud to say we've got some of the most vibrant, active, intelligent message boards on the Tubes.

3. TMF Investing Wiki
We're working to create the world's greatest investing encyclopedia, and you're welcome to join us – whether you have expertise to share, or need a place to learn. In keeping with our general Foolish philosophy, we've tried to make the wiki an entertaining, uncomplicated source of information on everything financial.

4. Investing Basics
Exactly what it sounds like. Now is an especially good time to start investing (or expand on what you're already doing), with companies such as Disney (NYSE: DIS  ) , eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) , and Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN  ) appearing cheaper than they've been in years. All three companies are trading at prices at least 10% lower than their stock price five years ago, yet each has grown its bottom line by at least 10% annually over that time period. Before you go on a shopping spree, you'll want to understand the fundamentals of investing in these stocks and balancing your portfolio. Our Investing Basics section will take you through the process and get you on firm footing.

5. Mint.com
 No matter what your financial priorities, the first and most important step is to know where your money goes. Mint.com, a partner with The Motley Fool, is a free, online personal finance service that makes the process painless – dare we say, even easy . It'll track your purchases, alert you to any unusual spending, help you create a budget that works for you, and even try to find you a lower-interest credit card. The more of the process you can automate, the more time you can spend on your big goals, like retirement, buying a house, or total world domination.

That's only a sampler of the multitude of offerings at Fool.com, and we hope it'll give you a good place to start. Jump right in -- there's always room for one more Fool!

In the mood for more financial know-how? Check out the rest of our 10 Essential Money Lessons.

Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. Coca-Cola is also a Motley Fool Inside Value pick, as are Disney and eBay. Those latter two stocks are also Stock Advisor selections. The Fool owns shares of Procter & Gamble.

Fool online editor Ellen Bowman thinks the people on the Credit Cards & Consumer Debt board are geniuses. She owns no stocks mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (13)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 23, 2009, at 11:49 PM, laogao wrote:

    Dude!!!??? What happened??? No sales pitch???

    Why not tell us to put all our 401k monies into Procter & Gamble? Bound to be better than your Hidden Gems, or MFSA stocks.....

  • Report this Comment On May 01, 2009, at 10:50 PM, lordmorgul wrote:

    Mint.com is a fabulous service... something free of that quality is a rare thing, and all you need to do is resist opening hundreds of new accounts with their promoted 'ways to save' banks. On the other hand, you can definitely use those suggestions to find better accounts to hold than what you've got now if you have not been paying attention to what is out there for you from different banks. There is no reason to stick with just one single bank these days; it is not the same banker you talk to every day with your best interests in mind! That was the 50s, so update the way you do banking.

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