Reading List for January 3-5 (2020!)

Jan 03, 2020
Financial Literacy, Student Loans, Stocks, Checking Accounts

Happy New Year! This week's list includes a few articles reflecting back on the the past decade, as well as reflections on personal financial health and habits.

If you want an incredibly comprehensive look at what transpired in 2019, Barbara O'Neill has your back in this Journal of Financial Planning article, 2019 Personal Finance Year in Review. 

Financial Literacy

  • The emphasis in this article is moving the financial education much earlier in a child’s development. (Education Dive)
  • Rob Clarfield writing for Forbes suggests some of this (early) education should start at home, with parents demonstrating good “financial hygiene.”

New Year/New You

  • I know few teachers have access to the WSJ, so I only include those articles that are worth the effort. This one may be it, suggesting behavioral finance methods to help you reach your savings goals. (WSJ-subscription)
  • In terms of examining our spending, Tim Ferriss contemplates frugality—when it makes sense and when it is foolish—in this interesting blog. Do you consider the downsides to always choosing the cheapest option? (Thanks to Abnormal Returns for this one.)


  • The New Year might be a good time to take a look at your bank and consider finding one better suited to your needs: (Evidence Investor) (Thanks to Abnormal Returns for this one.)

"It’s been said that you’re more likely to change your spouse than your bank. But, as you run the ruler over your personal finances, ask yourself whether your bank has been doing the right thing by you."

Student Debt

  • The numbers are in, and student debt more than doubled in the past decade (up 107% to be exact.) (Study International)
  • This is a major explanation for this statistic: the average millennial has a net worth of just $8000! (Business Insider)


  • This may make a nice trivia questions: Stocks posted the best year (annual return) in 2019 since 2013. (CNBC)
  • For a more in-depth discussion of the bull market and prospects for 2020, the WSJ (subscription) would be a good resource.
  • Check out this chart/article from Visual Capitalist illustrating how every asset class fared in 2019.  (Of course, there is a cool chart.)

Just for Fun

  • This might be entertaining for students: a look at predictions for what life would be like in 2020—which ones came true and which ones did not. (USA Today)
  • And here is a list of the 20 top technological advances over the past 20 years. (FEE)

About the Author

Beth Tallman

Beth Tallman entered the working world armed with an M.B.A. in finance and thoroughly enjoyed her first career working in manufacturing and telecommunications, including a stint overseas. She took advantage of an involuntary separation to try teaching high school math, something she had always dreamed of doing. When fate stepped in once again, Beth jumped on the opportunity to combine her passion for numbers, money, and education to develop curriculum and teach personal finance at Oberlin College. Beth now spends her time writing on personal finance and financial education, conducting student workshops, and developing finance curricula and educational content. She is also the Treasurer of Ohio Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy.