Extra: A financial education - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings Extra: A financial education


by Jenn Jarvis

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Talk of bailouts and a dropping Dow means little to most people, except maybe creating some concern about their own financial situation.

The experts say it's not necessarily time to worry, but it is time to get educated. And the Internet is a good place to start.

"You know, the old adage is buy low, sell high, well this is the buy low. Even though it doesn't feel good, it's the best time to be able to buy more shares for your money," Edward Jones financial advisor Dixie Kehoe said.

Before you visit a financial adviser, you can do some prep work online. Investment Web sites like Edward Jones have worksheets to help you figure out how much to invest to reach your goals, whether it's retirement or college savings. There's also a list of investment ideas for inspiration.

But for those who already have a financial portfolio, it's better to contact a professional. Kehoe says investors can weather dips on Wall Street by diversifying investments.

"To balance your investments so that you don't all go up at once or don't all go down at once," she explained.

Karen Atwood is the Executive Director of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Northeastern Iowa. She says families come to her looking to avoid bankruptcy, and what is important during economic highs becomes essential when the economy takes a turn.

"Take a half hour tonight, sit down with your family and really figure out what you did spend today and what you need to spend tomorrow," Atwood said.

Atwood recommends tracking expenses for several weeks. But, for something more complete than a notebook and pen, an online budget calculator asks you to fill in the blanks and will tell you where your money is going compared to where it should be going.

While thousands of sites offer financial wisdom, Kehoe says to use it as a starting point, but always get a second opinion.

"There's a lot of misinformation out there. I would really suggest talking with a professional so that you know the information that you're getting is accurate and complete."

In addition to a diverse investment portfolio and a budget, the experts stress education as a key to financial security. There are actually free online courses you can take on money management. CNN Money has a 16 unit course ranging from creating a budget to your 401K. It also includes a glossary of financial terms.

Online Reporter: Jenn Jarvis

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