Adult coloring books make a comeback, and I learn about Napkin Finance. That was a glorious day in artsy personal finance land. What am I talking about, you ask? Napkin Finance aims to explain pretty much any topic in finance so simply and elegantly that it can fit on a napkin. Put simply, it’s site with a bunch of napkin drawings, and each napkin individually explains a financial concept. I will also admit it’s an idea I wish I’d had (and wish I could execute, ever had I had the idea) to lower the barrier to entry to understanding the financial world. Before you go any further, no, we are in no way affiliated – I am just a huge fan.

Come across a word you don’t know over the course of managing your money, like REITs or fiduciary? Don’t worry, there’s a napkin for that. One of the personal reasons I love the product is because the Retirist is by early training an artist, and the design is simple and compelling storytelling at its financial best. One of the personal+professional reasons I love the product is because it takes us all one step further in demystifying personal finance so that everyone who wants to manage her/his money prudently can do so. Spend 10 minutes on the site, and I guarantee that most personal finance nerds will learn something.

Should you choose to accept the mission, here are your key options: read a napkin, watch a video about a napkin, or take a “napkinversity” option, which means look at napkin, then read an explanation of the napkin, plus get suggestions on further reading. First, I admit fault: I do not enjoy learning by video (as I’m usually a fast reader and so tempted to “read ahead”) and those components of the site are a bit less original than the rest. However, the napkins make for highly digestible reads. They are clever snapshots, quick lessons that give you need-to-know info. They are beautiful. They do have some added context beneath if that tickles your fancy. For those with more time, I advise the napkinversity reads, which for the most part provide the right combination of depth and introductory concepts.

retirist favorite napkin

My favorite napkin

I think they’re making the world better, and I say, “scribble on!” Take a read and let me know if you agree.