I'm a longtime participant in the Fool Community of discussion boards. I first began reading them back in 1995 -- a whopping 11 years ago! I'm always eager to tell you why you should try spending some time on our boards (you can do so for free for a month), and I've also written articles on the glories of our boards.
But if you think that I'm not exactly unbiased on the matter, I'm afraid you'd be right. So permit me to share the thoughts of some others, folks who live and breathe Foolishness a little less intensely than I do.
On our Living Below Your Means board the other day, new community member Peg asked a very reasonable question. She wanted to cut back her expenses severely in 2006, in order to get her debt under control. She began:
"Hi all, I'm new. Signed up for a trial subscription to one of the investment newsletters and have really been enjoying the boards. Too much, in fact ... every night I think '30 minutes' and 90-120 minutes later, I reluctantly turn off the computer. I've already saved 30% on a book that I needed at Borders today, read about a heating option that might really work well for me in sunny Colorado and gotten a lot of good information about why I should take care of and drive my Subaru until the wheels fall off.. [I] really think it would be best for me to find a free resource for message board camaraderie/support . I was wondering if any of you might visit/recommend other free web boards . that you might recommend for me."
One chatter's testimony
Peg received a bunch of answers. (Read the whole discussion.) Here's a particularly thorough response, from Leighsah:
"Peg, When [the Fool began charging for its discussion boards] a couple of years ago, lots of folks thought the [Fool] world would end. Three years later, the world hasn't ended and I see lots of new faces, lots of old-timers and lots of folks in between. [The Fool boards are] available for $30 a year. I consider it the best $30 you could spend if you need information about finances. I can't tell you how many people I have suggested join TMF [The Motley Fool]. I love this place for all the financial information, but more importantly for all the information people have that they just willingly impart on the boards.
"If you want information about credit cards, how to get out of debt and deal with collectors: Consumer Credit / Credit Cards.
"The noise ratio may be a little high, but there are some very knowledgeable folks on this board. How to save some money in everyday living: Living Below Your Means.
"The dreaded budget.. If you have a realistic budget and stay within it, meeting your financial goals is a whole lot easier. You can do those things with this board's help: Budgeting.
"After you've paid off your consumer debt, you can start to learn about investing. TMF has a whole lot of boards for this. [Index of boards]
"Before investing, you need to research your stocks. One of those involves reading the prospectus. This board has some pointers for that: Reading Financial Statements.
"Once you've picked a stock, now you need to figure out your investing strategy.
Do you go with the slow and steady? Drip Investing - The Basics. The fast and sometimes frantic? Day Trading - The Devil's Den. Or somewhere in between? CANSLIM Investing, Mechanical Investing, Options - You Make the Call.
"Alrighty now, during this time your car starts acting up. Do you buy new or repair your old one? These folks can give you some ideas for a new car, but also what might be wrong with the old one: Buying and Maintaining a Car.
"And your house.. How do you fix that leaking toilet? The previous owners forgot to tell you the back yard floods in heavy rains. These folks will walk you though installing a French drain: Building / Maintaining a Home.
"What if your kid is having problems at school with an idiotic administration and you decide to home school? TMF has a board for that: Homeschooling.
"Or your kid is beyond brilliant: Parents of Gifted / Talented Kids.
"This is just a very small sampling of the boards on the Motley Fool. Find this elsewhere? No, you won't find this elsewhere and certainly not for free. My membership is up this year and I am already budgeting for the $75 to renew for three more years. I consider it my tuition for my financial and general life school. It is by far the best tuition I believe I have ever spent. Hope you stick around."
All in agreement, raise your hands
Leighsah's post met with some agreement:
ErinKG chimed in, saying: "I totally agree that the $30 is worth every penny. I've learned so much here at [the Fool]. Especially on buying/selling a home, building/maintaining a home, buying/maintaining a car, and the tax board. The people here are amazing."
Auctionnoodle added: "My subscription to [The Fool] has been the best $30 I have ever spent. Period. There is no other site so all-encompassing, with so many intelligent and generous people. Period. Keep your subscription. You'll be glad you did."
[In case reading all this praise is giving you cavities, I'll go ahead and admit that our boards aren't perfect. Now and then you'll run across cranky people. Now and then silly arguments erupt. But overall, I agree with many others that the boards are worth it.]
If you're looking for stocks
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Just think of any company you'd like to learn more about. Odds are, we've got a board for it. United Parcel Service
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Selena Maranjian 's favorite discussion boards include Book Club , The Eclectic Library, and Card & Board Games. She owns shares of no stocks mentioned in this article. For more about Selena, view her bio and her profile. You might also be interested in these books she has written or co-written: The Motley Fool Money Guide and The Motley Fool Investment Guide for Teens . The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.