DIGITAL DOUG: Online Investing

All in the Family


Last month, my issue of Family Money arrived in my mailbox, and I was pleased to see that Jeanhee Kim had recently been appointed the director of the magazine's web site. Kim was most recently a leader of the team that launched Oxygen's money channel, Ka-Ching, and was being brought on board to update the web site. (The site surely needed some help; it was a disorganized mess of broken links and confusing navigation.)

Today, my mailbox featured a different sort of surprise -- an issue of Ladies Home Journal. I had to look at the mailing label twice to make sure it was really addressed to me, and then I noticed the announcement contained inside the plastic wrapper. Family Money was no longer being published "as a subscription magazine," but I would be receiving Ladies Home Journal for the duration of my subscription (which extends through early 2002). Funny, there was no mention of the web site, and the reference to "subscription magazine" made me wonder about the fate of the web site.

When I visited, I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The site has been relaunched with a new look, new organization, and new content. It's fun, fresh, and friendly. It appears to target the same audience as the print publication, entry-point users of financial services and others just trying to make sense of money basics.

With tools, calculators, and articles from syndicated sources as well as from's own staff, you can learn about saving, budgeting, credit cards, insurance, banking, financial planning, and many other topics. You won't find much breathless commentary on the current state of the market or prolonged discussion about where the Dow is headed in the next 72 hours, but you will find the basics covered pretty thoroughly. Of course, is competing on a pretty dense battlefield -- there are plenty of other personal finance sites where you can find much of the same information. Let's hope that the sites' parent, Meredith Corporation (the publisher of Better Homes and Gardens as well as Ladies’ Home Journal will allow the site enough time and resources so that it can find its audience -- there are plenty of people who can benefit from's practical advice.

As for my Ladies’ Home Journal subscription, I was able to get a refund instead. I just don't think that I'm their target audience.

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