Financial Literacy on the Web

Kimberly Blanton

 
There are more than 4,000 personal websites on the Web, which target people of all ages, income levels, and needs. All the sites combined attract one in four people who use the Internet. At the forefront of this trend are websites that monitor household budgets for young professionals who have high disposable income, distribute coupons to the thrifty, and host calculators capable of boiling down personal financial information into a single chart or retirement plan.

Financial Literacy on the Web is an in-depth report that imposes order on the Internet’s chaos by providing a framework to assess personal finance websites. First, this report identifies three categories or Models of personal finance websites: Financial Data Aggregators, Financial Decision Aids, and Financial Communities.

Second, within each Model, the report describes three marquee sites that demonstrate its best features and lists pros and cons. The report selected the featured sites for their content, which is effective in shaping personal financial decisions. The sites selected also have steady traffic flows, as measured by the industry standard: monthly visits by unique users. The report used the standard because websites that fail to attract visitors cannot be effective, no matter how good the content.