Taking control of your finances online

I am exhausted! Our country's economic health is having some serious issues.

by Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD

For more on this topic, go to www.dentaleconomics.com and search using the following key words: finances, online, World Wide Web, investments, financial health, Dr. Jeff Dalin.

I am exhausted! Our country's economic health is having some serious issues. I never want to hear the words "subprime" and "bailout" again!

You have to build up a lot of courage to look at the values of your investments these days. There is no better place than the Internet to provide you with the knowledge and tools to take charge of your economic health and to weather out this storm.

But I do have to give you a word of caution. You have to be careful on the World Wide Web. Just because you see it on your screen does not make it true. The best advice I can give you is to read, read, and read some more.

Get opinions from multiple sources. Keep your eyes and ears open. Educate yourself. See what a variety of the so–called "experts" are saying … and then cross your fingers.

To help you with this project, I have gathered together a collection of Web sites for you to investigate. I encourage you to visit them and bookmark the ones that will deliver you the most benefits to you.

General sites

Bloomberg: www.bloomberg.com
Money: money.cnn.com
Yahoo Finance: finance.yahoo.com
AOL Finance: money.aol.com
MSN Finance: moneycentral.msn.com
Kiplinger: www.kiplinger.com
Morningstar: www.morningstar.com
Smartmoney: www.smartmoney.com
The Street: www.thestreet.com
Marketwatch: www.marketwatch.com
Forbes: www.forbes.com
Motley Fool: www.motleyfool.com
The Wall Street Journal: online.wsj.com

More specific tools

AllStocks: www.allstocks.com
Investorguide: www.investorguide.com
Investorplace: www.investorplace.com
Online Investor: www.theonlineinvestor.com
Zacks: www.zacks.com
Hoovers: www.hoovers.com
Stockmaster: www.stockmaster.com
Company Sleuth: www.companysleuth.com
Footnoted: www.footnoted.org
Fundalarm:www.fundalarm.com

Blogs

Stockhouse: www.stockhouse.com
Social Picks: www.socialpicks.com
Stockblogs: www.stockblogs.com
10Q Detective: 10qdetective.blogspot.com

Remember to put this into perspective. There are always some great contributing writers in Dental Economics® to help you with your financial education. Be advised that your overall financial health comprises many elements — from learning how to live within a budget, to building good credit, controlling debt and excess spending, developing short and long–term financial goals, and finally, learning to invest.

Do you know your net worth? Is this updated at least quarterly? Have you established and do you keep a monthly budget? Do you know your credit rating? Is your debt under control? Do you have three to six months' worth of living expenses saved in case of an emergency? Do you defer a percentage of your income to a long–term retirement account?

Now don't expect me to tell you here which sites give you the best advice and results. If I knew that, I would not be writing this column. Instead I would be lying on a beach on some beautiful island in the southern Caribbean.

Keep an optimistic outlook and attitude and enjoy your journey!

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry magazine, and spokesman and critical–issue–response–team chairman for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. He is a cofounder of the Give Kids A Smile program. Contact him by e–mail at jeff@dfdasmiles.com, by phone at (314) 567–5612, or by fax at (314) 567–9047.

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