Online forums can be a wonderful place to talk with like-minded people on just about any topic. Today, when it comes to financial matters in the Great White North, one of the most popular forums is the Reddit Personal Finance Canada community. In this blog, we’ll cover exactly what Reddit is and how it works, its benefits, examples of current Reddit subthreads – and a word of caution when taking advice from financial forums.
What Is Reddit? What Are Subreddits?
Reddit was founded by three Silicon Valley tech guys back in 2005. “Reddit” is a play on words (I read it on Reddit), and it quickly grew in popularity. At last count, there were more than 430 million Reddit users around the world, known as “Redditors.”
So what is Reddit? Simply put, it's a large group of forums where registered users can talk about various topics, from current events to ancient history, technology to psychology, films to finance. Simple enough, right?
Not so fast. There are also “subreddits,” which are referred to on Reddit as "r/topic" (for example, the one we’ll be discussing in a moment is r/PersonalFinanceCanada). Today, there are more than 2.2 million subreddits, which anyone can read, subscribe to, and participate in, and more than 130,000 active communities on Reddit. There are also private subreddits, but these require an invitation and there’s an admission process.
What Are Personal Finance Forums?
Many of us have financial questions. If we don’t have a money guru in our family or circle of friends to turn to, we'll often simply Google our questions and see what turns up. Then, we’ll scroll through the results, find what appears to be the most legitimate website on the list, and ultimately use that as our source.
Instead of just Googling around, you might consider joining a personal finance forum. These forums are basically an online discussion board where people hold conversations in the form of posted messages (this is different from chat rooms, as answers on Reddit can be lengthy and are typically archived for some time). So, in a personal finance forum, you may find a community of financial experts offering advice on various topics, as well financial newbies looking for it.
Of course, there’s no guarantee the “expert” really is one, so you need to be careful when asking for (and especially taking) their advice. We’ll talk more about this in a bit.
7 Benefits of Using Personal Finance Forums Like Reddit Canada
As of this post, there are 342,000 members on Reddit Personal Finance Canada. Obviously, these people are finding the site useful! So, what are some benefits of joining an online forum community? Here are seven of the top benefits.
1. Free to Join
Most personal finance forums are free to join (some investing-focused forums, such as Hashtag Investing based out of Toronto, do have monthly fees). So, if you’re looking for free financial advice through a forum, it usually won’t cost you a cent.
2. Q&A Opportunities
Do you have questions? Someone on the forum probably has the answers. Many experts like to share their knowledge, and they may be able to steer you in the right direction. On the other hand, perhaps you’ll be able to answer someone else’s question. Forums are all about the give-and-take of good advice.
3. Resource Sharing
Members of forums regularly share quality resources they’ve found online, whether it’s an eBook or a link to a blog. So, you may not have to rely solely on your own search; you can use one of these vetted resources, too.
4. Diverse Communities
In a personal finance forum, there are sure to be people of all financial experience levels and people that fit within a variety of different age groups and lifestyles. That means you’ll get a well-rounded group of people considering your questions and providing responses and/or potential solutions.
5. Challengers and Moderators
In any community, people watch out for one another. If someone provides an untrue answer or offers bad advice, there will likely be some challengers who will question that person’s response, so you’re not led astray. Some personal finance forums also have moderators who will remove comments that are blatantly false or misleading.
6. Find a Financial Friend
If you find someone who regularly supplies good advice, this may be an opportunity to expand your circle of friends. You can befriend them outside of the forum and through another social media platform, where you can have more one-on-one discussions. So next time you have a financially-related question, you can ask this person directly for their best advice.
7. Learn What to Ask
Nothing replaces legitimate, unbiased, one-on-one financial advice from a professional. So at the very least, these forums provide valuable information about the types of questions you should be asking when you are ready to speak to a personal finance professional, such as a financial advisor, Credit Counsellor, financial planner, mortgage broker, etc. There's no such thing as doing too much research, so learning as much as you can on these forums about whatever financial issue you're facing or question you might have can be a big help.
4 Examples of Discussions on R/PersonalFinanceCanada
When you join Reddit and begin following R/PersonalFinanceCanada, you never know what types of topics you’ll find, and it’s easy to create your own. Here’s a look at some current discussions that are happening on the forum. Many even have responses in the double or triple digits!
Original Redditor question: I need to send about $25 to someone in India. RBC international money transfer charges $6-10 plus another charge on the back end. Is there another option to deposit funds into their bank account for such a modest amount that won’t incur fees?
Update: used Transferwise, and only cost me $2.25! Great service! Thanks!
Original Redditor question: I just signed an agreement for a new build. I have 2 weeks to get mortgage approved. Closing date is 4 months away. Can I get a mortgage approved with one bank in the next 2 weeks, but shop around at other banks until closing? I wouldn't be stuck with the bank I get approved with right now?
Original Redditor post: I don't understand why people don't use their free public libraries more often. It is especially useful during the pandemic to access ebooks, audio books, magazines, newspapers, all sorts of online courses, etc.
Original Redditor question: Living in my apartment and WFH during the pandemic helped me realize that I can be saving so much money being at home. I can work in my mom’s basement and eat tendies! Only [drawback] is lack of privacy. Would you be willing to move back?
As you can see, just about anything and everything comes up on R/PersonalFinanceCanada.
4 More Personal Finance Forums to Check Out
Since 2009, this forum community has been dedicated to Canadian personal finance enthusiasts. Discussions revolve around investing, equities, frugality, real estate, retirement, and much more. There are currently more than 160,000 members on this Canada money forum and over 535,000 posts.
Not long ago, we highlighted YNAB’s personal finance app in our blog about budgeting apps. Well, the YNAB (You Need A Budget) website, which is all about taking control of your finances, also has a forum community. You can browse forums, give tips, ask questions, and find answers.
FWF touts itself as the place “Where Canadian Investors Meet for Financial Education and Empowerment.” And while there are a lot of discussions around investing, there are plenty of other questions posed, too. A quick look at their board index shows inquiries as diverse as “Who is the cheapest auto insurance provider?” to “What happens to my Employer RRSP account when I quit my job?”
This site is a leading provider of Canadian coupons across more than 70 categories, with a staff dedicated to finding deals and freebies. They also have a personal finance forum where members discuss everything from ways to save money to investing for retirement.
A Word of Caution When Using Personal Finance Forums and Reddit Personal Finance Canada
Reddit Personal Finance Canada and other personal finance forums can be useful platforms for free, unbiased financial advice and tips. But as certified Credit Counsellors, we also want to caution you about relying too heavily on these forums for financial advice. After all, you don’t really know who these people are or their credentials.
Be sure to conduct a lot of research into any "too good to be true" information or "financial hacks'' that can sometimes be found on these forums. And if you're not sure about something you read on these forums, best practice is to consult a certified professional. As you know, when it comes to money, there can always be someone looking to take advantage of misinformation.
Have Personal Finance Questions? We Can Help!
Personal finance can feel isolating, especially for those who are apprehensive or scared to address their current spending habits or financial choices for fear of judgement. Fortunately, there are a lot of online communities where you can interact with people who have been in your shoes and faced the same financial predicaments as you.
While communities like Reddit Personal Finance Canada and other sites can provide valuable tips and advice (and sometimes they’re just fun to peruse), there’s no substitute for the guidance of a highly trained professional, like our certified Credit Counsellors. At Credit Canada, our counselling is completely free, confidential, and non-judgmental. Get to know our certified Credit Counsellors and then give us a call at 1.800.267.2272 if you need expert advice on debt, managing your bills, or cutting costs.
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