If you want to learn how to make smart financial decisions, save more and eliminate debt, you’re in luck. Today, there are plenty of online personal finance classes offering money-management lessons.
Still, “people need to keep in mind that online personal finance courses should be seen as an education resource and not specific personal financial advice,” says Drew Feutz, a certified financial planner at Market Street Wealth Management Advisors in Indianapolis. “The information learned from taking a personal finance course should be applied within the context of your own financial situation, rather than following everything that is taught 100% to a T.”
“Some things that you learn about in a personal finance course may not be applicable to you or may not be appropriate to implement in your own life,” Feutz adds, noting that too often, people read or hear something from a personal finance expert or a course that they are compelled to act on.
However, some personal finance class lessons can not only help you boost your money-management skills but also inspire you to reflect on saving and spending patterns and help you build a strong foundation for future success.
While some personal finance classes require a fee, fortunately they generally offer a high return on investment if you apply the information you learn to improve your finances. For this reason, you may want to consider learning more about topics such as Roth IRAs, 401(k)s, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit and strategies for eliminating credit card debt in an enriching online course.
With that in mind, here are 12 worthwhile online personal finance courses:
— Financial Peace University.
— Suze Orman’s Personal Finance Online Course.
— Brigham Young University’s personal finance courses.
— Udemy.com’s personal finance courses.
— Purdue University’s Planning for a Secure Retirement.
— Duke University’s Behavioral Finance Course.
— The University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign’s Financial Planning for Young Adults.
— Alison.com’s Financial Literacy Course.
— Smart About Money courses.
— Money Skills.
— Khan Academy’s personal finance classes.
— Personal Finance by Missouri State University.
Financial Peace University
Cost: $129.99 after a 14-day free trial.
Why it’s worth considering: If you’re an admirer of Dave Ramsey, you may be interested in signing up for his affiliated educational course. It’s part of belonging to Ramsey+, which basically means you get an all-access membership to not just the course but Ramsey’s money tools, apps and content.
Ramsey, the nationally syndicated radio talk show host, author and all-around money guru, has financial counselors throughout the country teaching money-management classes through Ramsey+. However, this nine-class course, which covers topics such as getting out of debt and building wealth, is also available online in 45- to 60-minute courses.
Suze Orman’s Personal Finance Online Course
Why it’s worth considering: Suze Orman, another renowned financial expert, offers a personal finance course that includes seven downloadable lessons covering topics like paying off debt, the best types of life insurance products to buy and smart vehicles to invest in for retirement. While some critics suggest that Orman’s advice is too generalized and unrealistic if you’re struggling to get from paycheck to paycheck, you may benefit from the course if you’re looking to learn the fundamentals of managing your finances. Best of all, the class comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Brigham Young University’s Personal Finance Courses
Why it’s worth considering: There’s a wealth of information available in Brigham Young University‘s free online personal finance classes, which offer beginner-, intermediate- and advanced-level courses. Users can access the coursework for free and learn with videos and money-management assignments. The class offers a do-it-yourself approach and covers topics such as tips for achieving financial independence, saving strategies, stock basics and tips for setting and achieving long-term financial goals.
Udemy.com’s Personal Finance Courses
Cost: Varies by class.
Why it’s worth considering: Udemy.com, a popular online learning platform, features numerous personal finance classes. For instance, there’s “The Complete Personal Finance Course: Save, Protect, Make More,” taught by Chris Haroun, a venture capitalist and author. The class includes 121 lectures, covering topics like understanding your credit score, the best ways to file taxes and how to create the perfect budget, that span 16 hours of on-demand video. At the time of this writing, the class cost $28.99. Other classes may cost more or less, but keep in mind that you can often find coupon codes that slash the prices by up to 90%.
Purdue University’s Planning for a Secure Retirement
Why it’s worth considering: This online course, located on Purdue University‘s College of Agriculture page, has 10 modules, all with lessons designed to teach you how to have a successful retirement. Like the BYU course, it’s self-guided, and you can learn about topics such as understanding your risk tolerance when saving for retirement and navigating simplified employee pensions. While the course offers a wealth of information, it’s best suited for those interested in learning how to achieve a financially stable retirement.
Duke University’s Behavioral Finance Course
Cost: Free without certification; varying prices for course certification.
Why it’s worth considering: Coursera.org, a platform offering classes taught by university professors throughout the world, offers courses where students can interact with professors, receive graded assignments and earn certifications for their work, for a fee. But you can also find free classes at the website, including a three-week behavioral finance class from Duke University. In the class, you’ll learn how biases impact how much you spend on food, how to tip and how much to allocate for insurance, along with tips for saving for retirement in a course taught by a university professor.
The University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign’s Financial Planning for Young Adults
Cost: Free without certification; varying prices for course certification.
Why it’s worth considering: It’s another course you can find on Coursera.org and is offered by the University of Illinois— Urbana-Champaign. If you’re looking for a class designed for beginners, a young — or older — adult might enjoy this introductory personal finance online class. Some of the subjects you’ll cover include pretty much what you’d expect: financial goal setting, saving and investing, budgeting, financial risk, borrowing and credit.
Alison.com’s Financial Literacy Course
Why it’s worth considering: Alison.com offers free online finance courses that take six to 10 hours to complete. The financial literacy course covers key money concepts, including saving and budgeting strategies and tips for paying off credit card debt. The course also includes topics such as insurance and retirement planning.
Smart About Money Courses
Why it’s worth considering: These are courses from the National Endowment for Financial Education, an independent nonprofit in Denver. It has courses for all ages, including a free financial program for high school students, a personal finance class called CashCourse for college-aged students and a Smart About Money program for the more seasoned adults. The latter course covers topics such as “insurance and taxes,” “retirement and aging” and “saving and investing.” If you don’t know the difference between stocks, mutual funds and bonds, and what the pros and cons are of each, you’ll soon find out.
Why it’s worth considering: This is a course from Marginal Revolution University, which may sound a little weird or offbeat, but it’s a website and nonprofit founded by two George Mason University economics professors, Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok, who are building the world’s largest online library of free economics education videos (more than 900 so far). This Money Skills class has 10 videos and financial exercises that Cowen and Tabarrok lead. Some of the topics you’ll drill down in include investing, real estate and career. The course is aimed at beginners but taught at the university level.
Khan Academy’s Personal Finance Classes
Why it’s worth considering: Khan Academy is a nonprofit that offers free education to anyone anywhere. But it often works with schools, and so if you have kids, there is a good chance that they are familiar with this nonprofit and can offer an opinion on whether you should take some of their coursework for adults. Khan Academy has a lot of free personal finance classes, with video lectures covering everything from taxes to car expenses and how to pay for college. If you’ve ever wondered, for instance, about whether it’s better to lease or buy a car, and you really want to discuss the nitty-gritty details, this may be the online money class for you.
Personal Finance by Missouri State University
Why it’s worth considering: Scoff at the generic title of the course; stay for the insightful lessons. The classes are only available on the iTunes app on an iPhone or iPad, but you can’t argue with free lessons on how to manage your money. You’ll get lessons on financial market and investment fundamentals, how to use credit cards, how to go through personal bankruptcy if you don’t use credit cards properly, information on buying a house and car intelligently and plenty more.
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Update 07/01/21: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.