A good money infographic teaches you what steps to take

Use Debt.com’s financial infographics to understand the latest trends in debt, credit and personal finance.

Infographics offer an easy way to understand complex topics. Instead of reading pages of boring plain text, a good infographic presents information in a visual way that can people can digest at-a-glance. Infographics can offer insights to a topic that most people miss. They can present data from statistical studies and surveys, or just outline a topic that’s hard to understand. In our world, Debt.com uses financial infographics as a way break down complex and tricky financial topics. The infographics below cover debt and financing, credit trends, employment, the economy and all things personal finance. You can find more information about these visual tools below; we also offer some tips on how to use a money infographic to your best advantage.

Understanding Financial Infographics and How to Use Them

What is an infographic?

Infographic definition: A visual way to present information so it can be easily understood by the intended audience; also known as “data visualization.”

In layman’s terms, infographics are basically images that present data in a way that can be understood at a glance. It’s a means of presenting numeric data or content that’s not easily understood through plain text. Infographics can also be used to present numeric data that comes from statistical studies or surveys. Instead of reading a bunch of dry numbers in a table, an infographic presents the numbers in a way that’s easier to digest.

What the best infographics do…

In the world of finance, the best infographics drive home a key point that’s necessary for achieving or maintaining financial stability. They teach you about a trend related to a specific topic and show you how to achieve the best possible outcome.

Debt.com’s money infographic archive covers a range of topics in this way. These are the top 10 infographic topics we cover:

  1. Current trends in debt
  2. Ways to save money / spend less
  3. Credit trends that impact your FICO score
  4. Shopping statistics and trends
  5. Employment
  6. Economics
  7. Budgeting
  8. Financial planning
  9. Retirement
  10. Housing (renters/mortgages)

3 tips for using a Debt.com money infographic to your greatest advantage

#1: Read the article around the infographic

One of the biggest mistakes that people make with financial infographics is that they look at the image but don’t read the article. Particularly when you’re reading a financial infographic on this site, don’t just assume that the article that goes with the image just repeats the same information.

A good infographic news article provides advice and tips related to the data contained in the infographic. So, a credit score infographic may present credit scores by generation or gender or other demographics. Then the content around that infographic will tell you how to buck those trends to achieve the score you want.

#2: Share the infographic on your social networks

Unfortunately, it’s part of our culture in the U.S. that personal finance knowledge is passed on by word of mouth. Most people learned what they know about personal finance from talking to parents, family, and friends. This isn’t necessarily the best way for us all to learn, but it is the state of our financial literacy world today.

So, if you find an infographic that taught you something important about your financial world, chances are high that your loved ones and associates could probably use the information, too. We put handy share buttons at the top of each page so you can share the content with all your favorite social networks.

#3: If you have questions, ask!

We try to explain everything related to an infographic topic in the article, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t miss something you don’t know. That’s one of the reasons we created our Ask the Expert form. That way, if you read something on our site and have questions or need more information, you can get it easily.

So, if you have a question about an infographic topic (or any other information you find on our site), feel free to ask us! Either our founder Howard Dvorkin will answer you directly or ask one of the members of our financial advisory board to answer it. And remember, particularly in the world of personal finance where your money matters, there are no stupid questions!

3 Warnings about Using Financial Infographics to Reach Conclusions

#1: Make sure the sources are legit

Any legitimate infographic that doesn’t come from an original study or survey by the company producing it should list sources at the bottom of the image or news article. So, for instance, when we did a Financial Fears infographic for Friday the 13th, you can easily find the source at the bottom that the information came from Motley Fool.  That’s a financial investment website that’s been around since 1993; they employ certified financial analysts. So, you can trust them as an accredited source.

The best sources of information are government agencies and reports, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Federal Reserve. Then you have other sites that generate empirical data, like Zillow and Realtor.com or financial institutions. Finally, you have private companies trying to sell you something, like credit monitoring services such as Credit Karma and Credit Sesame.

What you want to avoid is a non-accredited company or a single non-certified individual. If Bob down the street says that half of student loan borrowers overpay, take that information with a grain of salt. However, when the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issues a report that says it, then you can trust it.

#2: Always check survey sizes and testing methods

For financial infographics that are generated using survey results, always make sure to check how the survey was done. Companies often poll their own clients or only ask a small group of people to answer the questions. Then, they generalize and act as if the answers apply to everyone in America. But they probably don’t.

At the minimum, a good poll will ask at least 1,000 people for their opinions. That’s a big enough sample size that you can make conclusions. Third-party independent blind studies and surveys are the best because they are broad and aren’t intrinsically biased.

That’s another thing to pay attention to. The questions that a company asks in a survey can automatically skew the results in their favor. So, for instance, a 2017 survey finds that a whopping 42% of millennials say they’d be more likely to choose an employer that let them bring their dog to work. Which sounds astounding until you realize that the survey was conducted by Purina Petcare.

#3: Check the date

The final thing you need to do in order to make sure an infographic provides sound advice is to check the date. Outdated financial data and statistics don’t really mean anything. The average auto loan today looks very different from loans ten years ago. Credit score data from 2010 is very different from today, given that 2010 was at the height of the Great Recession.

In general, unless a major economic event has occurred, like a financing bubble burst or a market turn, you can trust financial data from the past few years. However, the more recent, the better.