The horrible news keeps gurgling out of the seeping wound that is Wall Street, but online resources help demystify the mess. If you can't go out and spend it, might as well log on and learn all you can.1. First, get a handle on what led to the fiscal crisis by reading sharp answers by two University of Chicago economists to FAQs about Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and A.I.G.
2. The credit and bankruptcy debacle isn't only about dollars and cents. The academics who contribute to the Credit Slips blog often delve into discussions about the workings of our financial system, and the policies behind it. Reading this blog is like hanging out with brainiacs -- it can get wonkish, but stick around and you're bound to learn something. Contributors include Harvard's Elizabeth Warren, a bankruptcy expert and a vocal critic of consumer lenders.
3. For getting a handle on personal finances, check out Wesabe, an online community of people with financial goals and concerns, which is...um... just about all of us, isn't it? The site describes itself this way: "We believe pooling information on where we all spend can help you make better financial decisions and ultimately take control of your money to reach financial goals."
4. Do you know what happens to your money if your bank closes? Wheaties For Your Wallet, a blog written by Wesabe co-founders Jason Knight and Marc Hedlund, explains the previously unimaginable scenario. Before building Wesabe, Hedlund was entrepreneur-in-residence at O'Reilly Media and VP of engineering at Sana Security. Clay Shirky, who spoke Thursday at the Web 2.0 Expo, is a Wesabe advisor.
5. My Money Blog was started by an anonymous 20-something male who wanted financial information and couldn't find it. "It's hard to talk money in public -- incomes seem to be really private, nobody knows who has more money saved. Money is just taboo. So here I am, spilling my beans and writing about it online and anonymously instead." His most recent post is "Want To Bail On Your Stocks? Answer 2 Questions First."
6. Ramit Sethi's I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog doesn't mince words, either. "Stop spending money on stupid stuff and save more," is typical advice. Sethi is a Stanford grad who runs a wiki startup in Silicon Valley. Check out his video in which he answers readers' questions about the current financial fiasco: