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Learning tips and tricks for personal finance alone can feel overwhelming. When you take a course on personal finance, instructors can guide you through the basics—and you don't even need to enroll in college to benefit.
From making a budget to increasing your credit score, the personal finance courses below can walk you through the essentials. Tackle these courses one by one to cover banking, credit, investing, budgeting and more for low to no cost.
1. Khan Academy's Personal Finance
For anyone in need of an overview of the most general personal finance terms, Khan Academy's Personal Finance course offers up the basics. Covered topics include saving and budgeting, investing, paychecks, housing, cars and more.
Khan Academy presents Personal Finance in a video blackboard format. If you enjoy the feeling of being back in a classroom (virtually), this is the course for you.
This self-paced course is sponsored by Bank of America Better Money Habits. It offers a solid foundation for personal finance newbies. The course is available on iOS and Android.
|Platform||Browser, iOS and Android|
2. The Budget Mom's Budget Blueprint
The Budget Mom is Kumiko Love, an accredited financial counselor who holds a finance degree. She shares her own story about budgeting her way out of credit card, student loan, medical and vehicle debt.
The course comes with a bunch of freebies to get you started on your budgeting journey. These include the course in downloadable e-book form, budget worksheets to follow along with the course sections and print-and-fold cash envelopes in fun colors.
3. How to Save Money: Making Smart Financial Decisions From UC Berkeley via edX
Personal finance is not just a set of rules. It's knowing how to use those rules to make smart financial decisions. In this UC Berkeley course, learners go through basic personal finance rules and focus on saving and building wealth.
The course covers questions like whether it's better to save $100 for retirement or pay off $100 of debt. If you feel like you need some how-to guidance when it comes to money questions, this course may have some answers for you.
EdX suggests users complete this course over four weeks, devoting two to three hours a week. But go-getters could complete it in a matter of days. The course is available on iOS and Android.
|Platform||Browser, iOS and Android|
|Cost||Free to audit; $49 for the verified track with grading and certificate|
|Length||4 weeks, 2-3 hours per week|
4. FINRA Smart Investing Courses
Investing can be intimidating for beginners. That's why the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) offers a series of six interactive courses about investing. These courses familiarize consumers with investment terminology as well as some of the best practices for making personal investments.
You'll learn investing basics and more through the following courses:
- Committed: Setting Investment Goals
- Getting to Know You: Defining Terms
- Relationship Ups and Downs: Risk and Return
- Worth Holding on To? Rate of Return
- Playing the Field: Diversification
- Your Main Squeeze: Fees and Commissions
The animated courses are gamified to ensure you interact with topics as you progress. Drag and drop investment risk assessments or point and click to create a diversified portfolio as you progress to become a smarter investor.
5. The Income Tax Course From H&R Block
Understanding tax rules can feel like one of the most difficult tasks in personal finance. But what if you could learn everything you needed to know about tax preparation basics and possibly get paid to help others with it? The Income Tax Course from H&R Block is meant to educate future tax preparers, but you can take it for personal tax preparation knowledge as well.
You'll spend a significant amount of time on this course, about 62 hours total, but work with trainers who are experts in the field. Receive one-on-one help from instructors for the real-life tax preparation exercises you're assigned.
Topics covered include:
- Tax filing
- Wages and income
- Self-employment income
- Retirement contributions and distributions
On top of an H&R Block certification to start tax preparing, graduates of the course can also receive:
- Qualifying Education hours
- Three hours of credit from Western Governors University
- Three hours of credit from Southern New Hampshire University
|Cost||Course is free; materials range from $99 to $149|
|Language||E-book materials in English and Spanish|
6. Fannie Mae HomeView
As one of the biggest purchases you'll likely ever make, buying a home is a good subject in which to invest your time. The Fannie Mae HomeView course is a great starting point for hopeful buyers who want to know what they're getting into. Fannie Mae is the federal mortgage finance company that works to keep housing affordable, so you know they know what they're talking about when it comes to homebuying education.
Working your way through seven modules in three to four hours, you'll cover all the basics of the homebuying journey. The modules include:
- Knowing When You're Ready
- Saving for Homeownership
- Understanding the Mortgage Loan Process
- Shopping for a Home with a Real Estate Agent
- Making an Offer on a House
- Getting Ready to Close on Your Loan
- Welcome to Homeownership
Once you're done, test your knowledge with a 15-question quiz. The HomeView course also provides a certificate that can be used for mortgages with an education requirement.
|Languages||English and Spanish|
7. Experian Credit Course
Get familiar with the basics of credit when you take the Experian Credit Course. Over 45 minutes you'll watch instructive videos and test your credit knowledge.
The Experian Credit Course is designed for the complete beginner to credit. Learn about topics like Why Your Credit Score Matters and How to Raise Your Credit Score. Course sections are taught through illustrated readings and videos and provide knowledge checks to make sure you're ready to move on.
|Knowledge level required||Beginner|
Finance Is Personal
Your finances are personal. They represent hard work, goals and dreams. And you can learn how to handle them to your best advantage when you take these personal finance courses.
Want to Learn More About Credit?
To learn more about credit reports and scores, check out the Experian Credit Course. This free, interactive course will take you through what you need to know about your credit.