Where do I start with learning about investing and retirement planning?

I have been an assitant to a financial advisor for 6 months and I am not satisfied with just knowing how to fill out forms and where to send them. I would like to know the meaning behind most of the financial world’s jargon (ETF’s, IRA’s, SIMPLE Plan, etc.) and also how to go about researching stocks. Where would I start? I really don’t have any knowledge of these things besides tid bits I picked up around the office. Any book suggestions for a beginner or any links?

It’s actually a little surprising that your employer isn’t providing you with more answers. Have you asked him/her? Expressed an interest in learning more? Not only for your own benefit, but it may help you with your career in that office too.

Another place for assistance may be your own bank. Many banks have financial advisors that help their customers gain a better understanding of the programs they offer. (Granted, they’ll probably be geared toward making you a client – but if you explain how you’re looking for information before making any commitment, they’re usually pretty accomodating.)

The last alternative, which may cost you a little money, is to check your local community college or continuing education programs. Many local high schools and such will offer evening (or weekend) seminars that offer basic instruction. (Sometimes these are partially funded by local branches of various financial institutions – so be on the look out if they try to push their products.)

If none of those are options, take a look online. Some companies like Fidelity or Edward Jones may have “tutorial” sections on their website that could help give you some basic information.

Good Luck!