Top 10 Courses on Personal Finance
Personal finance is scary.
From basic household budgeting to complex investment instruments such as annuities and trusts, there’s a lot to wrap your head around. Worse, information about finance is often obscured by technical jargon, fine-print legalese, and an alphabet soup of acronyms. Not to mention … math.
It’s no wonder that so many of us feel overwhelmed before we even get started.
But if you think finance is frightening, try statistics: 50% of American adults have nothing put aside for retirement, 40% are only one paycheck away from poverty, and over a third have no savings at all. Personal finance is one area where what you don’t know can hurt you.
The good news is that whatever financial stage you’re at, there are courses designed to help you understand your options and make the most of your money. We’ve combed through what the internet has to offer and come up with a list of the 10 best courses that will put you on the road to financial freedom.
1. The Cour Four of Personal Finance—For Beginners (Skillshare)
An excellent place to begin getting your financial house in order is this 90-minute course, created by Son Han, CPA and CFA. Through a series of short (2–7-minute) videos, Son walks you through his “core four” principles:
1. Learning to save and creating an emergency fund
2. Getting out of debt
3. Investing in your retirement
4. Enjoying your life
Topics covered the include importance of saving for retirement, financing a house or car, household budgeting, and basic investing.
The Core Four is simple and concise: don’t expect a lot of depth or detail. However, it provides a solid overview of some of the most important concepts in personal finance and it’s a great way to get oriented before you dive deeper into specific topics.
2. Managing Your Personal Finances (Lynda)
Registered investment advisor Jane Barratt guides you through four modules on earning, spending, saving, and growing your money. Like the Core Four, the total course time is only about an hour and a half, and the videos are just a few minutes each. In addition, Barratt covers topics like negotiating a raise, using a windfall wisely, boosting your credit score, and understanding the psychology of money.
A couple of nice features of the platform are the ability to take notes and to skip ahead to specific parts of a video by clicking on the corresponding part of the transcript. Videos and transcripts can be downloaded for offline viewing. A list of budgeting, planning and tax tools is also included.
3. Personal Finance (Khan Academy)
Khan Academy offers an impressive collection of lessons on personal finance, covering topics such as renting vs. buying, personal taxes, strategies for funding a college education, and understanding the value of employee benefits.
Most of the lessons are delivered through videos, which are somewhat longer and go into more detail than either the Core Four or Managing Your Personal Finances courses do. The videos range from low-tech talking heads to sleek animation, but the information is consistently high quality and transcripts are available for all of them.
4. Financial Peace University (Dave Ramsey)
Author and radio show host Dave Ramsey is one of the best-known names in personal finance. His Financial Peace University course is taught live in hundreds of locations throughout the United States, but if you live outside the US or would like to take it at your own pace, you can also access it online.
The course is taught in nine video modules that include standard topics such as budgeting, getting out of debt, investing, and retirement planning. Unlike other courses, though, it also tackles communicating effectively with your partner, understanding how marketing entices us to spend more, and how to withstand temptation and setbacks. The course fee covers your household, not just one person, and it’s a popular choice for couples who want to create a better financial future for their families.
Access to the course includes bonus courses on teaching kids about money and leaving a legacy, an online community, a budgeting app, and the option to attend live classes in your area.
A couple of things to note: The course fee buys you membership in the program for one year; you do not get lifetime access to the material (though you can renew your membership as often as you like). Also be aware that Christian/Biblical teachings are referenced occasionally within the course.
5. The Complete Personal Finance Course: Save, Protect, Make More (Udemy)
When you’re ready to get into the nitty-gritty, Chris Haroun’s Complete Personal Finance Course has you covered. The course consists of 122 video lectures totaling almost 16 hours and covering topics as wide-ranging as saving money on pet-related expenses to making money with bonds and commodities.
At first glance, all this information may seem overwhelming, but the topics are presented in a logical order, and most of the videos are less than 10 minutes long. Although the videos are short and generally simple, Haroun conveys a wealth of information broken down into plain language and simple concepts.
6. Investing 102: Stock Markets and Index Funds (Skillshare)
Son Han is back, this time with a course on how to start building your portfolio. In this course, he introduces stocks and bonds and covers price movement, investing basics, risk tolerance, index funds, compound interest, and other topics designed to orient you to the world of investing. At the end of the course, he walks you through the steps to invest $25 and begin building your own diversified portfolio.
The course consists of 20 short videos totaling only about an hour in length, so don’t expect a lot of detail. But Han’s engaging style and straightforward explanations are a great way to get your bearings in the world of investing.
7. Introduction to Managing Your Personal Finance Debts (Alison)
Virtually all personal finance courses emphasize the importance of getting out of debt, but few of them go into much detail on how. This introductory course takes only about an hour, but in it, you’ll learn to create effective strategies for paying off consumer debt by organizing your statements, prioritizing which debt to pay off first, and negotiating for better rates from your credit card companies.
You’ll be debt-free before you know it!
8. Behavioral Finance: Why People are Bad with Money but You Don’t Have to Be (Skillshare)
People just aren’t rational when it comes to money. We fall for scams, sell when we should be buying, and let our fear of missing out steer us into poor decisions. Fortunately, our tendency to act out of fear or greed can be overcome, and that’s what Greg Vanderford’s Behavior Finance course sets out to do.
This course, about an hour and a half in total, explains the benefits of developing self-discipline, choosing the right friends, and minimizing your investment risks. Most importantly, it examines the psychology behind some of our most detrimental money mistakes and shows us how to keep fear and greed out of financial decisions.
9. Personal and Family Financial Planning (Coursera)
For those who prefer a more academic approach, this 9-week course from the University of Florida might be just what you’re looking for. Modules include topics such as understanding financial statements, managing income taxes, and investment fundamentals. Students are encouraged to finish the course by creating their own personal financial plan.
Michael S. Gutter, professor of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences at the University of Florida, presents the information in a clear and engaging fashion. The video lectures are longer than in many other courses, and Gutter is able to go into greater depth, supplementing facts and figures with engaging stories and informative examples.
Modules consist of video lectures, readings, assignments, and quizzes. Videos, as well as transcripts, audio tracks, and slides, can all be downloaded if you’d like to review them offline. The discussion boards are fairly quiet, but some interesting additional resources can be found in them.
10. Design Your Wealth Plan (Financial Mentor)
Created by former hedge fund manager Todd Tresidder, Design Your Wealth Plan tackles advanced personal finance topics such as assessing market opportunity, redesigning your wealth plan as your life changes, real estate investing, and risk management. It’s aimed at people who already have a solid understanding of saving and investing who are ready to create a personalized plan for building a financially secure future.
Each of the 8 self-paced modules comes with 7–19 lessons available in video, audio and PDF format, along with reading assignments and homework designed to help you better understand your own finances. The course also comes with live weekly Q&A calls with Tresidder and an online community of fellow wealth-builders.
To Sum it Up …
Don’t let your fear of personal finance stop you from creating a secure future for yourself and your family. From getting out of debt to investing for a comfortable retirement, the courses listed above can give you the knowledge and motivation you need to succeed. All you need to do is get started.
Remember, the sooner you take control of your money, the sooner you can enjoy financial freedom!