At the close of 2022, the average American household had a credit card debt of $5910, an increase of 13.2% increase from the previous year. Altogether, the overall credit card debt in the US reached a staggering $909.9 billion.
In an era of increased credit utilization, it's essential to have a firm grasp on personal finances to save money and get ahead in life. From understanding auto loans to navigating the world of investments, taxes, and insurance, a solid grounding in personal finance can make all the difference. However, most people were not taught these skills in school, leaving a significant knowledge gap that can lead to stress and financial instability.
Thankfully, the resources for self-studying personal finance have never been more accessible. In recent years, the vast proliferation of online learning has made it possible to pick up almost any skill on the cheap or even for free. But with the myriad choices available, how does one sift through the clutter and find the right course? For beginners looking to nail down the basics of personal finance with free online lessons, this guide explores some of the best personal finance courses available online.
Personal Finance 101: Everything You Need To Know (Udemy)
This course is the top free personal finance course on Udemy, a leading online education platform. It caters to novices and requires no prior financial expertise or additional tools. It uses an array of animated clips – each under five minutes – to deliver practical insights on varied topics, such as investments, debt management, credit cards, and filing taxes. With three hours of content across 52 videos, learners will be exposed to essential financial skills. Nearly 70,000 students have taken the course, earning an average score of 4.6 stars.
The University of Michigan: Finance for Everyone (Edx)
This UM course is a leading personal finance offering on edX, an online learning platform created by Harvard and MIT. While it's open to anyone, the platform recommends a grounding in secondary school algebra. The course is free to audit but has a paid certificate option for $39, including graded assignments.
The work can be completed in five or six hours weekly over six weeks, with short videos and interactive lessons as the primary materials. The structure is like a college class, with a forum for students to discuss topics among themselves and with teaching assistants. The curriculum begins with the foundational principle of the time value of money, gradually venturing into tangible financial instruments like stocks and bonds. Real-world instances interwoven throughout provide clarity and relevance. Over 70,000 students have enrolled.
Financial Literacy (Khan Academy)
The Financial Literacy course at Khan Academy is free and can be tackled through web browsers or the company's app. It combines videos with interactive quizzes in a format that should be familiar to learners accustomed to gamified platforms like Duolingo. This course takes less time to complete than some others, but it's a fun way to begin learning about budgeting, saving, investing, and other basic topics.
An older Personal Finance course from 2017 on Khan Academy offers more video content but lacks interactive features. The company also compiled a 20-part series of YouTube videos with Visa exploring similar subjects.
The Fundamentals of Personal Finance (Coursera)
This learning path on the educational platform Coursera comprises five courses totaling 40 hours of video content. With the additional reading material, the company estimates the specialization takes around a month to complete. Fundamental personal finance topics like budgeting, investing, and risk management are all covered. Worksheets provide an opportunity to apply the skills learned in the lessons.
While the course is free, joining the platform as a member will result in a certificate of completion. Membership plans start at $49 a month, though financial assistance may sometimes be available. The course has over 7,000 enrollees and has racked up 4.6 stars.
The Fab Four of Personal Finance (Skillshare)
This short course on the membership-based platform Skillshare makes for an easy introduction to personal finance. Note that this is technically a paid course. Skillshare has a $168 yearly cost. However, it also has a 30-day free trial. As a result, it's possible to complete a course and cancel before the end of the trial period.
The curriculum for this course is made up of 46 lessons spread across an hour and a half, meaning the lessons are digestible in bite-sized chunks. While they cover core personal finance topics like compound interest and 401Ks, they also explore less traditional material like side hustles and how to automate your finances. The class has nearly 15,000 students.
Introduction To Managing Your Personal Finance Debts (Alison)
Alison is an educational platform that offers free courses and certificates along with paid diplomas. This debt-focused free course teaches students how to prevent loans from becoming a problem as well as how to resolve such issues after the fact best. It teaches the basics of determining what is owed to whom and categorizing the information in spreadsheets.
The curriculum goes on to explain strategies for repayment prioritization based on the various interest rates in question. There is also material on how to negotiate debts and interest rates, as well as how to formulate an immediate repayment plan in the most extreme circumstances. The course is short, with only around three hours required to complete it. Over 64,000 students have enrolled.
Money Skills (Marginal Revolution University)
Marginal Revolution is a non-profit based out of George Mason University that seeks to provide first-class economic education for free, both through online courses as well as teaching resources for outside instructors. The Money Skills course is divided into ten videos paired with practice lessons, teaching tutorials on subjects like investment diversification and whether to rent or buy a home. The curriculum is aimed at beginners and is a work in progress, with the instructors soliciting the public for future topics to teach.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.