At the beginning of May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that approximately 20.5 million Americans lost their jobs in April. With the current unemployment rate hovering around 14.7%, it’s understandable to be worried about your financial well-being these days.
But there are a wealth of online financial courses available that could help you manage your money. And the best part is, many of those courses are absolutely free. It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, young professional, stay-at-home parent or working from home; you can find the right resource for your economic situation.
Best free finance courses for students
It’s never too early to begin your journey toward financial security. Here are a few resources to point you in the right direction.
Basics of Banking– Money 101: Do you know the different types of bank accounts? How about alternatives to traditional banking? Looking for a way to keep fees down? These answers, and more, can be found in this 15-minute course.
CashCourse – CashCourse.org: Created by the National Endowment for Financial Education, this program gives college and university students a whole-life approach to personal finance. Structured to guide you through at your own pace, the course encompasses six main financial topics via coursework modules, quizzes and its unique Budget Wizard.
Introduction to Corporate Finance – edx.org: Geared towards those more serious about the world of business, this is a mandatory introductory finance course for all Columbia Business School MBA students. Students can expect to gain an understanding of such time-honored financial concepts as the value of money, cost of capital and capital budgeting. The four-week course requires a commitment of between three and four hours each week.
Managing My Money for Young Adults – Open.edu: Awarded the Young Money Financial Education Quality Mark, this program features eight easy-to-navigate sessions, each running between one and two hours. Filled with real case studies, step-by-step animations, short quizzes and practical tips, it guides young adults towards practices to make their money work harder and go farther.
Money Skills – MR University: Designed by two professors from George Mason University, this collection of 10 videos and exercises promises to ease novices into the nuances of managing personal finances in a little over an hour.
Best free finance courses for professionals
Out in the world and looking to build a secure economic future? Here are a few suggestions for free online finance courses to start you off on the right foot.
Financial Literacy – Alison: Loaded with tricks and techniques to help you budget better, this course shows you ways to save, help you deal with debt and guide your insurance decisions. Plan to invest between six and 10 hours of your time.
My Financial Well-Being Plan – SmartAboutMoney.org: One of several online courses provided through a program created by the National Endowment for Financial Education, this 45-minute session shows how your financial security is impacted by money management habits and how you can develop strategies to realize a sense of financial well-being.
Personal & Family Financial Planning – coursera.org: Offered by the University of Florida, this extensive course mixes videos, readings and quizzes to guide participants through a variety of financial management topics, including budgets, financial statements, building credit and managing income taxes. It requires a time commitment of about five hours.
Personal Finance – edx.org: Looking for a better understanding of how credit works? Curious about the basics of investing in the stock market? Want to know the role insurance can play in your life? Created by Purdue University, this course delves into an array of topics designed to sharpen your fiscal acumen. You’ll need to pencil and three and four hours a week over a five-week period.
Taxes – Money 101: In just over 10 minutes, you can get a handle on the ins and outs of the IRS, including such concepts as withholding, FICA, alternative minimum tax and what you should expect if you are audited.
Types of courses
Options range from learning basic economic principles such as banking and investing, to college-level courses developed by Harvard and Columbia University that teach Introduction to Corporate Finance and Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies. You can find how-to guides providing tips on creating a budget, buying life insurance, managing your debt or negotiating a home sale.
Information may be presented as a step-by-step written guide, in quiz form, as a video presentation — or a combination of all three.
For example, CNN Business offers Money 101, an in-depth written primer on fiscal basics. Created by the editors at Money magazine, it consists of 25, easy-to-follow lessons that layout strategies regarding investing, saving, borrowing and spending more wisely. Each entry includes the “Top 10” things you should know about a topic, a glossary that defines the terms used and a quiz to test your understanding of what you have just read.
“The essentials of each lesson can be absorbed in just 10 minutes,” Money 101 states on its About page. “But all lessons feature greater detail – including calculators, quizzes and a library of supplemental materials – for those who want to dig deeper.”
Founded in 2007 in Galway, Ireland, Alison has grown to be a major force in online education, helping to enlighten over 15 million learners in 195 countries. Its wide-ranging curriculum (including a recently-added course on the coronavirus) is presented in both video and written form. The site features a mixture of free finance courses on various topics from debt reduction to currency exchange. Describing itself as a “socially-focused” business, Alison makes its money through advertising, merchandise and the sale of certificates and diplomas.
As you can see, no matter your need, there’s a free finance course out there for you.
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