Do you want to start investing, but aren't sure which brokerage to open an account with? Do you want to know the best place to stash your rainy-day cash? Or do you want to see if you could save some money on your mortgage payment?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you need to check out The Motley Fool's new personal finance website, The Ascent. In this Industry Focus: Financials clip, Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, gives an overview of the types of content you'll find on the new site and why you should take a look.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on Nov. 12, 2018.
Jason Moser: Matt, in today's day and age, there are a lot of questions when it comes to personal finance. Anything from finding a new credit card, to finding an online stockbroker, to figuring out if you could cut your mortgage payment, how to get a mortgage, how to get out of debt. There are a lot of questions that come up here. And there are plenty of ways to find things these days out on the internet. All you have to do is type something in the search bar, you can come up with something. But we, here, at The Motley Fool have a neat part of the business, something new that maybe some of our listeners haven't heard so much about yet. We'd certainly like to get this out there for them to learn more about. It's called The Ascent. Tell us a little bit about The Ascent, Matt.
Matt Frankel: The Ascent is our recently launched personal finance brand. I'm fortunate enough to be doing a little bit of writing for it. Basically, The Ascent is more the personal finance side, not the investing side of the financial world. The Ascent covers things like getting a new credit card, why you need a credit card, how your credit score works, things like that. In addition to that, they have a ton of content on saving money. Over 50% of people don't understand what a CD is, or that you can get one online, or why it's better than a savings account. These are the kind of questions you can answer.
Personal loans are a relatively new form of financial tool. Mortgages, as you mentioned. You can compare mortgage rates online, learn the types of mortgages, what you need to know before you buy your first house, things like that. On the investing side, this answers basic questions like, how do I choose a brokerage? Do I really need to pay commissions when some of them do trades for free? Things like that. What you need to know before you buy your first stock, what is a mutual fund. The basic questions. Fool.com is more oriented toward people who have a basic knowledge of stocks and investing in general. The Ascent takes it a step back and helps people through the basics that may not be as well-covered.
Moser: That's great stuff. To give our listeners the address, you can find more on The Ascent by going to www.fool.com/the-ascent. Or, you can just type in your search bar "Fool Ascent," and it's probably going to bring you right to it. It's a really neat website with a lot of great information, a lot of helpful information. I tell you, Matt, it sounds like there are a lot of folks out there that can use that information. Based on a recent Wells Fargo survey that you and I were reading about, it sounds like a lot of millennials not only are a little bit skeptical, perhaps, of the markets, but they are definitely not confident enough to feel like they can get out and invest in the markets. And according to this research here, 20% of millennials said they'll never be invested in the markets. I mean, I've said things before that I wish I could go back and change, but you can't so you don't. Hopefully, some of these millennials will look back to this one day and say, "Maybe I shouldn't have said never." But it's certainly a strong emotion, to say that.
When you lack the confidence in something like that, to me, typically, it's because you lack the knowledge. You lack the knowledge or the ability to do something because you haven't been taught it. I don't necessarily blame people for feeling this way if they weren't taught about this kind of stuff at a younger age. It's one thing for us to say it, but it's a big world out there, with a lot of people who just aren't getting the financial literacy education we feel they need.
What runs through your mind when you read the through surveys like this? You can tie that back to The Ascent, as well.
Frankel: It's absolutely an education issue. As a former high school teacher, I could spend the whole episode here talking about the lack of financial education going on in America right now, and what needs to be done about it, but that's another conversation for another day.
The statistic in that survey that jumped out to me the most was that 53% of millennials say that they will never be confident in investing in the market. Only 20% said that they'll never invest. There's always going to be some subset of any age group that is afraid of the markets. A lot of millennials, for example, saw their parents lose their houses or get really burned in the financial crisis, and are scared of the markets, and that's not going to change no matter what. But the difference between that 53% that say they won't be confident to invest and the 20% that will never invest, that's still a third of the millennial population that pretty much acknowledges that they're going to invest, but they aren't confident in doing so.
What education like that provided by The Ascent can do is walk you through the basics of why you shouldn't be scared to invest. Market corrections and crashes are a normal part of the market, if you handle them correctly. Educational tools like that. Comparing different brokerages to find out which one's right for you, so you're comfortable. I had a colleague, actually, one of our editors recently approached me and said, "I want to start investing, but I have no idea which brokerage to go with." Things like that can point you on the right track and manage your expectations correctly, and break the misconception that investing is this big, scary casino, and just put things in perspective for you. It's a big educational lack of understanding in the financial world. That's what we're trying to fix.