With all the buzz about student debt, risky stocks, and mortgage fraud, some people might be in a bit of a panic. The thought of money management is intimidating for many people. And even though we linked to an article the other day about how to raise money-smart kids, some parents might feel inadequate to teach their children about money since they themselves don’t feel as if they have a good handle on their finances. In fact, more than 80 percent of teachers in America said they don’t feel equipped to teach about personal finance.
It is becoming glaringly apparent that understanding personal finance is one of the vital keys to becoming debt-free or making wise choices for school or retirement and living life in general. But maybe you’re busy, you have other responsibilities, and completely reorganizing your lifestyle sounds too exhausting to begin. At the same time, you know that a personal finance class would be an extremely beneficial resource to you or your family. (See also: 12 Steps to Better Money Management).
What many people don’t realize is that personal finance classes are widely available for free (emphasis on the free). Some of these classes are offered by major universities like Yale and Purdue, while others are available online through other resources.
A Wise Bread article lists 10 great, free options for those interesting in taking a personal finance class. Completing this material will improve your ability to save money, budget, extend cash flow, and even learn more about investments and savings. Some of the courses listed below are specific to a certain area such as retirement or financial markets, and some offer more broad personal finance instruction. We selected seven of their 10 classes that relate directly to personal finance, but you can read the full list here.
Wise Bread says this free resource is aimed to instruct young adults on how to manage their money. There are different modules and a demo of the actual program.
2. CNN Money 101
The course is given in 23 different lessons and the material covers everything from budgeting to managing a 401(k). The lessons range from topics covering setting priorities, controlling debt, buying a car to estate planning! This is a great overview of all things personal finance.
3. Free Kindle Resources from Bob Lotich
Bob Lotich is an award-winning blogger who has been writing about personal finance since 2007. He writes mostly about becoming debt free, charitable giving, and budgeting for both personal and family life. He has several books that are available for free via Kindle.
4. Family Finance from Utah State University
This course is geared for families who want to establish and reach financial goals as a family. There are some practical exercises, like buying a major appliance, taking home inventory, buying versus leasing, and other helpful topics that involve the whole family on how to plan, save, and spend together.
5. Money Management International
Money Management International (MMI) offers different resources for personal finance topics such as frugal living, bankruptcy, holiday spending and budgeting. There is also a series of webinars you can attend if they fit into your schedule!
6. Planning a Secure Retirement from Purdue
If saving for retirement scares you or sounds stressful, then this eight-module course is for you. The earlier you can start planning and saving, the better off you’ll be. But you can’t start until you hop over your fear and educate yourself on all things retirement! Don’t let your fear keep you from making personal strides towards financial security.
7. Personal Finance from Missouri State University (iTunes U)
This full-scale personal finance course is presented in a video format and includes eight classes ranging from 20 to 40 minutes. It covers the basics of personal finance
Just Start Now.
There is no reason you can’t overcome your fears and feel confident in your ability to manage your finances. With all of the free resources listed here and uploaded all over the internet, all it takes is some time, effort, and diligence to begin practicing better money management. And with the guidance of professionals and experts who share their advice to willing listeners, you can begin transforming the way you handle your personal finances today.