Not as easy to read as a book, but a lot more up to date

internet investor
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Big, isn't it? The web that is. And getting bigger. Americans, who like to work this sort of thing out, reckon that one new website is being created every few minutes. Fortunately, at least 95 per cent of what's on the web need not detain us. The trick is locating the 5 per cent which will answer our questions, advise us and tell us what we need to know to be able to make our investment decisions.

Assuming you are connected to the Internet and are ready to become a road warrior on the information superhighway, you are likely to realise fairly quickly that the highway you are on is a touch short on signposts. Most of those that do exist have a distinct bias towards the USA, a fact which becomes quickly apparent if you try to use most of the so-called search engines on the web. So where do we find out where we want to go today?

A handful of websites offer a general introduction to personal finance with advice and information, but you may feel that you could just as easily get this kind of approach from a book which is likely to be more portable, more easy to read than a computer screen and which requires only the power supply of your own mind. If all you want is a directory of the personal finance sites worth checking out, there are two potential starting points.

Moneyworld includes a directory of links to personal finance websites which is one of the most comprehensive and well-organised of its type, with brief descriptions of each site to guide you. Financial Information Net Directory (Find) is a straightforward directory of financial services websites of interest to a UK audience.

What the best general personal finance websites can offer you, which a book cannot, are up-to-date prices, performance and statistical data which you can analyse and manipulate.

Interactive Investor and Moneyworld both include performance data and a comprehensive set of links to other sites and both are free to access although Interactive Investor does require you to register as a user.

Interactive Investor allows you to search its news database of corporate press releases and also has a catalogue of books on investment which you can order from the site.

Moneyworld, which does not ask you to register, is best described as a magazine on the web with a strong statistical content. The site has its own search engine, PowerSearch, which allows you to search unit trusts, investment trusts, pensions, life funds and shares by past performance.

All share prices from the London market are updated every 20 minutes and all the statistical data on the site is downloadable to your own spreadsheets. In addition to London share prices, Moneyworld also quotes the prices of British shares on the New York markets while Wall Street trades.

It can be a useful way of getting advance notice of the likely price movements in London the following morning. The site also has a tax calculator, personal finance news and stock market reports updated every day.

As a magazine free to its readers, Moneyworld makes its living through advertising on the site which is hot-linked to the advertisers' own websites. The site is also pioneering the use of RealCall technology with advertisers.

This allows you to click on an advertisement, enter your phone number on screen and, within a minute, receive a call back from a real, live human being. This does not cost you anything. Among a number of firms making use of this new technology are Bradford & Bingley, Fleming Investment Trust Management, Legal & General and Royal & Sun Alliance.


Interactive Investor: