Hi Araminta. The USA, and perhaps many other countries, are way behind in teaching personal finance in school, so most of us had to learn the basics on our own. If I had found a forum like this 20 years ago, it could have saved me a lot of time. As it was, I went to a bookstore and bought tons of books about finance, investing, and money management. The best books I initially found were by Dave Ramsey (“Financial Peace,” for example, had a major effect). I’m not a fan of Kiyosaki, but his “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” also pointed in the right direction. Reading about people like Warren Buffet was also an eye opener, and most of the books by Peter Lynch (“One up on Wall Street”, etc) were also good. As you noted, education is the key, so read magazines like “Money” and the “Kiplinger Newsletter” compilations to get additional ideas.
The wider your reading, the better. I often found interesting and productive ideas by browsing books in the business and finance sections of a local library. Many of the blogs written by people on this site also contain great ideas, so today it’s much easier to learn about FI than ever before. Somewhere i read that Warren Buffet reads 5 newspapers every day and two or three new books every week. As you noted, education is key.