8 Financial Courses Worth Taking (Especially Now)
Being cooped up at home has one big advantage: It’s a good chance to take online classes to improve or gain new skills, including money-management lessons.
Online personal finance classes can help you learn how to budget, save money and eliminate debt, among other things, while going at your own pace at home.
In the courses we list below, it’s important to remember that they’re meant as educational resources and not for specific financial advice. Your financial situation should dictate how the information is used.
Buying stocks can be a good money move, but not if you can’t afford them and are taking out loans to trade.
Don’t look at these courses for tips on getting rich and making money quick. Instead, focus on learning personal finance skills that can set you up for a lifetime of smart saving, low debt, and financial success.
Here are some personal finance courses worth taking:
1. Start Local and Free
Before paying for an online course, search for classes in your area that are free or have a low cost.
Adult schools, senior centers, libraries, cities and other organizations often offer personal finance courses tailored to specific topics.
Online or in-person classes can include issues such as retirement savings, how to write a will, setting a household budget, and teaching children about money.
2. Brigham Young University
We like the personal finance classes online at Brigham Young University because they’re free, but also because they cover many issues at different levels: Beginner, intermediate and advanced.
The coursework is free and includes videos and money-management assignments through a DIY approach.
Intermediate courses focus on understanding financial principles to learn to live within your means, get out of debt, and save for long-term goals.
3. Purdue University
This online course is also free, offering self-guided information about retirement, money management, the basics of stocks and investments, credit, and how insurance works.
The course is divided into four modules: Investments, credit, insurance and retirement. Each module is independent and can be studied on its own, though studying them together shows the interconnectedness and tradeoffs among them.
The self-paced course is five weeks long and requires three to four hours per week of work.
4. Duke University
Duke University offers a free behavioral finance course that takes three weeks to complete. It covers how biases impact how much you spend on food, how to tip, and how much to spend on insurance, among other things. A university professor teaches the course.
It also offers a course for a fee where students receive graded assignments and earn certifications for their work.
The classes are taught through coursera.org, a platform that offers classes taught by university professors throughout the world. Type in “personal finance” in the search bar to find the Duke University course and others.
5. Suze Orman
Financial expert Suze Orman teaches a personal finance class online for $54. That’s not free, but a lot is packed into the class for that price.
Orman’s course includes seven downloadable lessons on topics like paying off debt, life insurance, and retirement investments.
Her advice has been criticized for being too general and unrealistic for people living paycheck-to-paycheck, but the class offers the fundamentals for managing money and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
6. Smart About Money Courses
Free courses from the National Endowment for Financial Education are offered at SmartAboutMoney.org.
Classes are offered to all ages, from high school and college students to adults with some financial experience under their belts.
Courses include how to plan for earning, an emergency fund, health care costs, housing, life events, retirement and transportation.
7. Khan Academy
The Khan Academy offers free personal finance classes online through video lectures that cover such topics as taxes, car expenses, interest and debt, and how to pay for college.
The course covers nine broad topics, and drills down in each to specifics. Watching the videos for a few weeks should give you a basic understanding of personal finance. Students can log in and join the online conversation, where they can ask questions and get quick replies.
The online learning platform Udemy offers personal finance courses for a fee. A class called “The Complete Personal Finance Course: Save, Protect, Make More” costs $15.
It’s taught by Chris Haroun, a venture capitalist and author. It includes 122 lectures on topics such as understanding your credit score, filing taxes, and budgeting. Most of the instruction is through 16 hours of on-demand video.
Prices vary by class, but online coupon codes can cut the prices by up to 90%.
Now, the only thing left to do is sign up for a class and start learning. Our recommendation is to start with a free class. If it doesn’t provide enough depth for you, then consider paying $15-50 or so for a class that should offer more insights into personal finances.
If not, you should be able to get a refund.