No one is born with innate financial knowledge. Unfortunately, this truth means that many Americans will have some major regrets in terms of how they handle their personal finances. On the other hand, individuals today have more tools than ever before to learn about personal finance and possibly avoid some of the most common mistakes. Among these tools are podcasts, blogs, and TED talks. Another incredible resource for people who want to learn about managing their finances is the many different free online courses offered by a wide range of different educational organizations. Some of the best free online finance courses include the following:
UC Irvine’s Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning
The University of California, Irvine, allows individuals to take Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning through its OpenCourseWare platform. While the course is intended for college students, individuals of all ages can learn some important tips about taking control of their personal finances. Altogether, the course includes 22 different lessons that address eight specific objectives, such as setting goals, handling the expenses of medical care, and planning for retirement. A grant from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards actually helped develop the course, which aims to help individuals who cannot afford financial advisors make smarter financial decisions.
Purdue University’s Planning for a Secure Retirement
For a large number of Americans, planning for retirement generates a great deal of anxiety. Purdue has created a free online class consisting of 10 modules that can help alleviate some of this anxiety. The course includes a number of useful tools, including risk tolerance calculators and personality profiles that can help customize the course according to the student’s expectations. While the course is still useful for people who are quickly approaching retirement age since it covers some strategies for maximizing contributions, people who still have a long time to plan will get the most from it.
Udemy’s The Core Four of Personal Finance
A great option for people who are just starting to learn about personal finance, The Core Four lays a solid foundation for stepping into financial independence with confidence. As the title of the course suggests, lessons are based on four main principles for guiding personal finance decisions. Keeping these principles in mind will help individuals maintain control over their finances and stay motivated to save for the future. Some of the most valuable lessons from this course involve in-depth looks at different personal finance paths and the inherent advantages and disadvantages associated with each.
Wellesley’s Invest in Yourself
Wellesley University offers a range of different personal finance courses through the WellesleyX platform. The first part of the series involves an exploration of what it means to invest in oneself. Through the course, individuals learn about what it means to invest in the future and how everything from education to career development opportunities can pave the way for greater financial security. Importantly, the course covers some technical concepts related to investing, such as internal rate of return and net present value to begin reframing how individuals think of their personal financial health.
Utah State University’s Family Finance
Created by Professor Alena Johnson, this course consists of 14 lessons that cover many of the financial basics families need to know, from implementing savings plans to creating realistic goals. While the course is designed for an audience with little to no background in personal finance, it is more rigorous than many of the other options on this list. Individuals will receive a full syllabus complete with an assigned textbook and unit reviews. In addition, the course includes valuable assignments, such as tracking expenses for a given period of time and making a report that compares the price and value of a major appliance. The skills gained in this class are directly applicable to everyday life.
The Open University’s Managing My Money
People must follow along with this class in real time, so enrollment is only open a few times each year, but the course remains complete free. The instructor has designed the course to cover the most important topics in money management, such as handling debts, securing a mortgage, writing a budget, and overseeing investments. While the course was developed by an instructor in the United Kingdom, it has a global focus, so Americans can easily apply the lessons through actionable tasks. The course lasts for eight weeks and involves three hours of class time per week.
Delft University of Technology’s An Introduction to Credit Risk Management
Because credit remains one of the most confusing topics in personal finance, no list of top free classes would be complete with a recommendation for a course on it. The lessons break credit down into its basic components, with a focus on helping people figure out what they need to do personally to improve their scores. In addition to foundational knowledge, the course includes a lot of technical information that can prove useful down the line. Classes look at the concept of credit from the perspective of consumers and organizations. Altogether, the course includes about 48 hours of content, but people can jump around as they see fit.