As a young adult in my 20s, every time I encounter a minor problem or have a doubt about something, I know Google will always be there with all the answers. This time was no different. After spending a long night searching online for any possible information that could help me with my search for the perfect online broker for students, I came across the Reddit Personal Finance Subreddit. I knew what Reddit was, but I have always viewed it as this dark and unknown side of social media that I never bothered looking into. Little did I know it would teach me a lot about personal finance.
What is Reddit and why subreddits matter?
Before going into more detail about my experience, I want to give you a quick overview of what Reddit is. Reddit was founded in 2005 by Alexis Ohanian, Steve Huffman, and Aaron Swartz. It’s an American social news platform, web content rating, and discussion website. There is no “like” system, as seen with other social media platforms; instead, they use a voting system. Users submit content to the site such as links, text posts, images and videos, which are then voted up or down by other users.
Example of posts found on the homepage
While Reddit has a homepage upon which highly upvoted content is displayed, you can access different forums (or subreddits) about different topics such as /r/PersonalFinanceCanada, /r/investing, and more.
A list of other communities or subreddit related to r/PersonalFinanceCanada
My experience browsing the Personal Finance Canada Subreddit.
When I first looked at the /r/PersonalFinanceCanada Subreddit, I felt quite overwhelmed. There is a lot of information and links you can click that will lead you to another Reddit subreddit with even more information.
It took me a good 10 minutes to understand how to use this platform. The main page called “post” shows you the forum part. Any user can post questions, news articles, or tips related to personal finance. It is possible to filter to only show posts about a specific topic in personal finance, for example, banking, debt, budget, etc. This subreddit gathered more than 235,000 members, which is a really efficient way to ask questions and receive quick responses from other users.
Some days of the week, specific threads are created for different purposes, such as “Triumphant Thursday Thread of the week” or “Moronic Monday Thread of the week.” “Triumphant Thursday Thread of the week” is used for users to “brag” about their success of the week regarding their personal finance. I found this thread really encouraging and uplifting. Some of the comments left under this thread include students paying off the entirety of their student debts after years of financial difficulties, people buying their first home with the money they invested, or mortgage payment updates.
Another weekly thread we can find on this subreddit is “Moronic Monday Thread of the week.” It is meant for users to ask, ‘stupid questions,’ related to personal finance. This thread invites everyone to ask questions regardless if their question is considered “stupid.” It makes finance more attractive and easy to talk about. Some examples of questions you can find under this thread are “Should I pay my entire student loan in full?” “What is the difference between a TFSA and an RRSP”, or “How can I start building a balanced portfolio?”
What I learned on Reddit Personal Finance Canada
After reading post after post on this forum, nothing related to my questions about online brokers (at least over the past couple of days). While Hardbacon has a wonderful online brokerages comparison tool, I wanted to get an answer from the community. So, I decided to ask my question on Reddit Personal Finance Canada for some insights.
I noticed that in order to receive the most accurate answers from fellow members, I needed to be clear about my situation. Providing information such as my age, income, status, and expenses allows other users to give me more tailored advices based on my situation. I posted my question at 9 AM,waited 24 hours, and checked back later. The next day I received a detailed answer.
In this anonymous reply , the user gave me a lot of resources to check out like the ‘Canadian Portfolio Manager Blog,’ book (what book???), and personal finance tools and articles accessible on the forum’s wiki page.
The Reddit Personal Finance Canada Wiki
On most subreddits, there is a section called “wiki.” I found this part a bit more interesting and more resourceful. Compared to the “Posts” page, only authorized users can write on the “wiki” page. This section of the website is created to be viewed like articles. Just like a regular article, you can find the title or topic on top of the page and the explanation below.
One clear difference of the “wiki” section compared to the forum is that users cannot add comments under each topic page. The wiki page is here for users to understand the forum better. It includes some finance terminology, a guide for beginners, and some tools to get started. The wiki acts as the educational side compared to the forum page which acts as the social exchange side of the website. Some of the useful topics you can find on the “wiki” page include pages about “Budgeting’, ‘Passive investing,’ or some “random frequently asked questions.”
As I mentioned, the wiki page provides some links to financial tools (Google docs, spreadsheets, and online calculators) to help you throughout your financial learning.
Depending on your subject of interest, it is possible to join other personal finance forums on Reddit. The American version of the r/PersonalFinanceCanada is r/personalfinance. It has more than 14 million users! Some examples of other subreddits related to personal finance can be r/investing, r/accounting, r/financialindependence, and so much more.
Last Thoughts about Reddit Personal Finance Canada
From debt problems, to credit score, or just to learn more about personal finance, the Reddit Personal Finance Canada Subreddit is a great way to seek advice anonymously from other individuals who may have experienced the same issues as you. It is also really useful if you don’t know anyone close to you who has the financial expertise to answer your questions. It is important to keep in mind that most users on this forum are not financial advisors and any advice given on this platform has to be taken with a grain of salt. This platform is a great tool for sharing tips but it is still recommended to do your research on the side and consult a financial advisor before making any big financial decision.