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In moments of financial volatility, like the current economic downturn, it's natural to start thinking more carefully about how you manage your money. Where once you may have felt financially secure, now you could be having second thoughts about how you're planning for the future and saving money for unexpected events.
Whether you're just learning how to budget, starting to save for an emergency fund or trying to make a plan to pay down your debt, sometimes it's helpful to get support so you can meet your goals. Luckily, there are free online platforms and communities designed for people in every kind of financial situation. These groups and pages can be easily found, followed and/or joined via social media platforms and on the web.
To help you get started, CNBC Select rounded up five free online communities where you can connect with others who are facing similar challenges and/or goals. We included groups to help you improve your credit score, meet a savings goal, stick to a budget or build wealth through investing.
These resources are not meant to serve as a substitute for professional financial help. It's a good idea to consult a certified financial professional with any major questions before making any big money decisions.
Whether you are looking for general personal finance advice or want to chat with fellow investors, Reddit has a subreddit (forum) for just about any money topic. Here are just a few:
If you want to unlock the mysteries of credit scoring and credit cards, this 82,000-member group provides all the support and knowledge you need. Perfect for those who want to improve their credit scores, get out of debt and get on track to start saving, the Financial Common Cents Facebook group is an encouraging environment to help you achieve your goals.
Organized by fitness coach Shanté Nicole Harris, the group began as a small group of friends looking for a way to hold one another accountable while paying off credit card debt. From 2015 to 2019, Harris paid off nearly $60,000 of credit card debt after battling cancer, navigating unexpected job loss and raising a son with special needs.
Today, the group still maintains its close-knit feel, and Harris is now a certified credit consultant. Harris believes in teaching a person the credit skills they need so they can avoid getting stuck again in the future. She facilitates conversations on topics like debt negotiation, how to read your credit card statement, understanding your credit score and side hustles.
Bravely is a community that gives self-identified women the financial tools to bridge the gap between their dreams and their realities. Founder and financial feminist Kara Perez often hosts free money chats on the company's Instagram stories that reach far beyond what the average student learns in Econ 101. Perez breaks down what she calls "feminist economics" and makes personal finance inclusive, connecting topics like the racial and gender wealth gap to what individuals can do to negotiate their salary or begin building wealth. The Bravely website has an array of free resources, including a budgeting guide to teach you how to align your spending with your values.
Named after Vanguard founder and investor, John Bogle, the term "Bogleheads" is the title adopted by many investing enthusiasts, and particularly those who post and comment on the Bogleheads forum. Similar to Reddit, this forum features a wide selection of topics, the primary focus being investing. If you're looking to be a fly on the wall among long-time investors or to find others at your experience level, this is a one-stop shop to make you excited about the stock market.
You can also read the book, "The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing."
The Your Money and Your Life Facebook group is NPR's online community for anyone who wants to start saving or make better informed money decisions. This group compliments NPR's "Your Money And Your Life" series and provides readers a place to discuss how finances intermingle with current events, politics, daily news and everyday life. Members discuss a range of money topics such as car buying, retirement planning, family planning and career moves with nearly 54,000 other money enthusiasts.