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Learning about personal finance is one of the most pivotal parts of one’s living, and it is a term used to describe how one manages their money. It basically includes everything from how you earn and spend your money to how you save, invest and borrow it.
Despite its importance in our daily lives, personal finance is a topic that has historically been left out of the school curriculum, although this is now changing. As a result, many adults today are left without any kind of proper education or guidance on how their finances actually work.
Fortunately, there is an abundance of resources available online, including blogs and YouTube channels, that detail the basics of personal finance to help anyone start learning. For a more structured approach there are also online courses, taught by vetted professionals and industry experts just a few clicks away.
Below, I outline four free online personal finance courses that can help you jump-start your financial journey — and don’t take a lot of time.
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1. “Personal Finance 101: Everything You Need to Know” from Udemy
A good place to start learning about personal finance is with the “Personal Finance 101: Everything You Need to Know” course. By watching animated videos, users can learn basic personal finance topics such as saving for college, planning for retirement, and the benefits and commons of credit cards.
This three-hour class requires no prior knowledge of finance or statistics, and will guide you with brief online lectures of no more than a few minutes each. Over 55,000 people have signed up and reviewers are generally happy with the content, giving the course an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. You will have to pay for a Certificate of Completion if you want to get it, but all other course video content is available for free.
2. Skillshare Program “My Financial Mountain: Understand Your Way to a Solid Financial Institution”
You may have already heard of Skillshare, because it is a popular online learning community that offers all kinds of educational classes.
Even though Skillshare is a subscription-based service, you can still sign up for a free trial and get unlimited access to over 35,000 classrooms. You can cancel your free trial at any time – once it’s up, you’ll pay $168 for the annual premium plan.
We recommend that beginners sign up for the free trial and take a course called “My Financial Mountain: Understanding Your Path to a Solid Financial Foundation” – it’s only 24 minutes long and lets you explore topics like saving for the future and financial planning.
While it’s certainly not a deep dive into personal finance and you won’t receive a certificate to complete, this chapter will help put beginners on the right track to understanding key concepts, as it also guides you through seven steps you can take to create a solid financial foundation.
With a score of around 850, this course exceeded 33% of reviewers’ expectations and achieved 50%.
3. “Introduction to Personal Finance Debt Management” by Alison
Alison – short for Advanced Learning Interactive Systems Online – is an educational platform that offers free online courses with certificates and diplomas, although the latter is available for purchase. Users can use their software to learn skills such as accounting, contract law, business administration, and graphic design, and there are plenty of personal finance courses available.
We suggest that you try “Introduction to Personal Finance Debt Management” written by Alison, since a lot of personal finance is related to balancing the different types of debt you might owe. This free course will teach you how to prioritize which debt to pay off first, how to organize your debt with a spreadsheet and how to negotiate interest rates with credit card companies, among other skills.
Within 1.5 to 3 hours, you can learn about responsible debt management methods with the goal of preventing or alleviating personal debt problems. In addition to more than 40,000 people who are also registered, you will earn a certificate and become an Alison alumnus by achieving 80% or higher in all assessments.
Reviewers call this course “extremely helpful” and “easy to follow,” while it has a five-star rating that is close to average.
Those interested in learning more can take a look at Alison’s free courses on Wealth Building, Retirement Savings, and Financial Freedom – all of which take less than three hours to complete.
4. Coursera Create a Budget with Google Sheets
We especially like the “Creating a Budget Using Google Sheets” chapter, which teaches you budgeting as well as how to navigate Google Sheets like a pro — let’s face it, spreadsheets are key to getting a good overview of your finances.
In just one hour, you will learn how to create, format, and update your budget to help you reach your financial goals. About 8000 people have already registered, and the average course rating is 4.7 out of 5 stars.
While you won’t get a certificate to complete this course, you will end up with a professional budget to help keep your money in order.
With free online personal finance courses, like the four we mentioned above, anyone with access to the internet can learn about money management from trusted sources.
No matter your age or where you are in life, remember that it is never too late to educate yourself on financial best practices. Not only will it literally pay off, but you also won’t have to sacrifice a lot of time to log in and learn.
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Editorial note: The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations in this article are those of the selected editorial board alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.