Best Practices

Top 5 Online Personal Finance Classes

by Jim Hughes   May 1, 2020

Looking for a no-cost to low-cost family finance class? These online programs offer the best courses for helping you plan a better budget.

Try a personal finance class online.

They call it a “wallet” because you are supposed to put a wall around it. Too many U.S. consumers suffer from self-inflicted crippling debt. There is always a way out.

These free or cheap personal finance classes can help. When used as an education resource, online economic courses can give you the mental tools to make smart personal finance decisions.

Just be careful not to apply all the knowledge to your own life. As financial planner Drew Feutz said in a recent USNews article, the lessons learned from a personal finance course “should be applied within the context of your own financial situation.”

Read on to see the pros and cons of our five favorite classes, and at the end we will tell you which one is our favorite.

1. Purdue’s Planning for a Secure Retirement

Purdue University offers 10 modules that help you plan for retirement. The free class is offered entirely online.

Pros

  • Modules include helpful information about planning for retirement, including information about expenses in retirement, collection Social Security, how much income you need in retirement, how Medicare works, and individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • The online course takes advantage of having a digital medium by offering useful tools like an online life expectancy calculator
  • Helpful quizzes that give you helpful answers about how ready you are to retire

Cons

  • Retirement is just one piece of the personal finance puzzle – this class will not help with other issues that may be more pressing for you
  • Most of the resources linked to in the class are dated and offered by third-parties

2. BYU’s Personal Finance Course

Brigham Young University is a respected undergraduate school, and its business school is one of the top in the nation. What people don’t know is that the college also offers free online personal finance courses.

Pros

  • Wide variety of classes for varying experience levels – learn how to enter the stock market, set financial goals, and build up your savings
  • All coursework is accessible for free, including videos and online manuals
  • You can set your own schedule and complete the class at your leisure

Cons

  • Without one-on-one support from an instructor, some students may lose motivation and not complete their coursework
  • All classes include religious teachings (e.g., “Personal Finance is Part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”), which may not appeal to everyone

The courses here are potentially life-changing. They show that when studying personal finance, it helps to use tools and resources designed by a respected university. The knowledge gained from this class could help you avoid a small payday loan in the future.

3. Udemy’s Complete Personal Finance Course

Udemy is an online learning platform that connects students to teachers from all around the world. The website offers many different finance courses. One of the most popular is The Complete Personal Finance Course created by Chris Haroun.

Pros

  • Includes 16-hours of on-demand video
  • The comprehensive class teaches everything from ways to save on health expenses to understanding mutual funds
  • You can earn a certificate of completion

Cons

  • The class is not free, and some of the lessons require you to purchase proprietary software, like Microsoft Excel
  • Some of the tips are too simplistic

4. Skillshare’s The Core Four of Personal Finance

Skillshare is browser-based platform that lets instructors post a broad spectrum of educational videos. Top categories include animation, design, business, and writing. There are also personal finance courses available.

Pros

  • The lessons are divided into bite-sized videos that you can watch at your leisure
  • The “actionable steps” are simple enough to take right after you learn them
  • Advanced terminology is explained for anyone to understand

Cons

  • You need a $15/month Skillshare membership to access the class
  • If you have a basic understanding of personal finance, you may not learn anything by taking the class

5. University of Florida’s Personal and Family Financial Planning Class

The University of Florida offers a free financial planning class through Coursera.org. After taking this course, 33% of students started a new career, 33% got a benefit from the career they were already in, and 25% received a pay increase.

Pros

  • The instructor, Michael S. Gutter, is well-regarded, and his lectures are professional and packed with useful information
  • The course includes quizzes to help you gauge your progress
  • Those who are able to complete the course will receive a certificate

Cons

  • Some students feel that the instructor could be more sensitive to those who have had troubles with their finances in the past
  • The quizzes can be difficult for some

Tips for Studying at Home

A study by Airtasker showed that working from home is more productive than working in an office. The same may be true for studying at home. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most out of your online class.

  • Dedicate an area of your house for studying
  • Keep a schedule and stick to it – if you do the class earlier in the day there will be less of a chance that other activities will get in the way
  • Take breaks – an exercise break is a great way to send more oxygen to your brain

One of the best ways to make it all the way through a class is taking it with a friend. You will be able to encourage each other along the way. Whether you go it alone or with a friend, the important part is to apply the teachings to your life.

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Jim Hughes   OpenCashAdvance Marketing Manager
Personal Finance
Jim Hughes remembers checking his first email on the original BlackBerry 850 nearly 20 years ago. It was spam, and he fell for it. Even so, he’s been on the beat every day since, following the ebbs and flows of financial technology. Look to Jim for insider exclusives on shorter-duration loans, installment loans, and other popular products in fintech today.
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