Website of the Month: Motley Fool's Personal Finance Center
Anders, Susan B., The CPA Journal
The Personal Finance Center at the Motley Fool houses the company's consumer finance resources. It can be accessed via the Motley Fool homepage at www.fool.com, or directly at www.fool.com/personal-finance/index.aspx. Although the Personal Finance Center is targeted to the general public, there are many useful tools for CPAs.
Located at the top of all Motley Fool home and main pages are the organization's logo and motto: 'To Educate, Amuse & Enrich." The header also provides two rows of menu tabs. The upper row is for the overall Motley Fool collection, and the lower row is tailored to the specific center. While some of the website's resources are fee-based, many are free of charge, supported by the advertisements and sponsored listings throughout the website. The bottoms of the home and main pages contain a variety of hyperlinks to Motley Fool information, including a newspaper column and site map, plus links to "Fool Friends," such as Yahoo Finance.
The Personal Finance Center homepage is organized like a table of contents around the four main categories of "saving and spending," "credit and debt," "home and real estate," and "death and taxes." The center of the homepage provides a brief description of the topical areas, plus a display of selected items under each group. Links to the discussion boards, calculators, 60-second guides, and how-to guides are located under the table of contents. Users can easily navigate between the home and main pages via the menu bar, a navigation path, and hyperlinks in the center of the homepage.
The main pages for "saving and spending," "credit and debt," "home and real estate," and "death and taxes" have a similar layout with a table of contents offering four to six main headings and four or five resource links under each category. The top of each main page includes a text box promoting one of the articles in that section. Links to the 60-second and how-to guides can also be found on the topical main pages under the appropriate categories.
Personal Finance Center articles include links to e-mail, print and comment at the top and bottom of each page. Hyperlinks to related articles and both internal and external resources appear in the text and below each article. Some of the articles also offer access to free reports sent via e- mail. Comments posted by previous read- ers appear at the bottom of each article. On the right side of article webpages are adver- tisements, recent user comments, most recent articles, most popular articles, a brief stock market summary, and other free Motley Fool reports.
A Wealth of Resources
The specific resources on the website are too numerous to cover here, but the discussion below focuses on those items that may be of particular interest to accountants - both professionally and personally. The "get it done" articles, 60-second guides, and how-to guides are interesting and practical tools. The Personal Finance Center offers an extensive list of calculators, which can be accessed from the homepage as well as throughout the website under "related articles," and links to Mint Personal Finance, the Motley Fool's collection of free online personal financial management software. …