Login | Help

banner ad
2

Personal Finance: Resources, books, guides, organizations

One of the best ways to learn a beat is to read materials by journalists who are the best at covering the topic. Below are books that every reporter new to the personal finance beat should read.

Personal Finance for DummiesRead them not only for knowledge of the content, but for the way the authors boil down complex, complicated material into everyday language. If you can do that, it’s proof that you really know the subject.

The organizations listed will put you in touch with various areas of the personal finance industry and with regulators. Get to know the key players so that they will think of you when they have story tips.

BOOKS AND GUIDES

WSJPersonalFinanceGuidebookThe Wall Street Journal Guide to the New Rules of Personal Finance: Essential Strategies for Saving, Investing, and Building a Portfolio in a World Turned Upside Down, By Dave Kansas.

The Wall Street Journal Complete Personal Finance Guidebook, by Jeff Opdyke.

Saving for Retirement without Living Like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery, by Gail MarksJarvis.

Personal Finance for Dummies, by Eric Tyson.

The Financial Writer’s Stylebook: 1,100 Business Terms Defined and Rated, by Chris Roush and Bill Cloud.

Barron’s Dictionary of Finance and Investment Terms, by John Downes and Jordan Elliot Goodman.

Understanding Wall Street, by Jeffrey B. Little and Lucien Rhodes.

Your Credit Score, Your Money & What’s at Stake: How to Improve the 3-Digit Number that Shapes Your Financial Future, By Liz Pulliam Weston.

ORGANIZATIONS

SABEW holds conferences in the spring and fall that feature major newsmakers and skills programs conducted by the best business journalists in the industry.

  • Financial Planning Association: FPA is the organization for personal financial planning experts. This is a good source to find financial planners in your area. The organization has a media training program for its members who want to serve as resources for reporters on personal finance stories.

The press contact is Randy Hildreth, 303-867-7190, or pr@fpanet.org.

  • Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards: The board grants the respected CFP certification and also disciplines certified financial planners. You can check whether a planner in your area has a disciplinary history with the board.

Credit cardsBefore quoting a planner you’ve just met, you should check whether he or she has been in trouble with the board.

The board’s website also has lots of useful information on financial planning, how to find a planner and what questions to ask a planner you’re considering hiring.

The media contact is Dan Drummond, 202-550-4372, or ddrummond@CFPBoard.org.

The information you find on BrokerCheck must be understood in the proper context. See this well-written article by The Wall Street Journal: Digging Up Dirt and Deciphering It.

The FINRA media contact is George Smaragdis, (202) 728-8988, or George.Smaragdis@finra.org

It also has information on checking out brokers and investment advisers.

People or firms that get paid to give advice about investing in securities generally must register with either the SEC or the state securities agency where they have their principal place of business.

Coin jar

Photo: Chris Carpenter

Investment advisers who manage $25 million or more in  assets generally must register with the SEC. If they manage less than $25 million, they generally must register with the state securities agency in the state where they have their principal place of business.

Pull the investment adviser’s Form ADV, which they must file  with the SEC and state securities regulators.

The form consists of two parts: Part 1 has information about the adviser’s business, ownership, clients, employees, business practices, affiliations, and any disciplinary events of the adviser or its employees.

Investment adviser filings of Part 1 are available to the public on the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website.

Part 2 of the ADV requires investment advisers to prepare narrative brochures written in plain English with information such as the types of advisory services offered, the adviser’s fee schedule, disciplinary information, conflicts of interest, and the educational and business background of management and key advisory personnel of the adviser.

The brochure is the primary disclosure document that investment advisers provide to their clients. When filed, the brochures are also available to the public on the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website.

Again, check out any financial and investment professional before you quote them. It will save you from having to field complaints from readers that you gave credibility to someone who has a checkered past.

The media contact for the SEC is John Nester, (202) 551-4125, or nesterj@sec.gov.

Press contacts are: Katrina Cavalli, 212-313-1181, or kcavalli@sifma.org, Andrew DeSouza, 202-962-7390, or adesouza@sifma.org, Liz Pierce, 212-313-1173, or lpierce@sifman.org.

About the Author

Pamela Yip is the personal finance reporter and columnist for the Dallas Morning News. She joined the Morning News in 1999 from the Houston Chronicle, where she was the personal finance writer and columnist for nine years. She is a member of the Board of Governors of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and was chairman of the group’s 48th annual national conference in Dallas in 2011. Yip was a member of the reporting team that won an award in 2010 from SABEW for a series of stories on the high cost of health care. Yip has won several other reporting awards, including one for best business reporting from the Los Angeles Press Club, as well as business reporting awards from the Houston Press Club and the Hearst Corp., the parent company of the Houston Chronicle. She also won an award for public affairs reporting from the Associated Press Managing Editors Council in California . Yip has a bachelor's degree from California State University in Sacramento, where she majored in journalism, with a concentration in economics. She is a 1997 graduate of the University of Houston's Personal Financial Planning Certificate program.

Leave a Comment

1) Register to join the community & comment or 2) Quick comment
Username: Username:
Email: Email:
Password:
Verify Password:
or 3) Login if you already have an account
Comment:

Switch to our mobile site