Re: Cheap PC just for accessing finanacial information.
Maybe if you explained what you're trying to accomplish/avoid? If I can hazard a guess, there isnt a lot of reason to believe that a linux machine will be any safer or more secure to do sensitive web transactions, unless the windows machine has been infected with spyware or a virus.
There are some ISO boot disks for linux that would let you boot linux on your regular PC...just stick the dvd or cd in and reboot.
There are also some nice financial packages (largely free) that run on linux and open quicken files...and you can do turbotax online from any browser based machine.
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.