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7 Free Personal Finance Courses for Beginners

Not sure where to begin learning more about personal finances? These courses are a good place to start.

October 28, 2022

Let’s be honest, as important as personal finances are, financial literacy isn’t something most people are taught. Instead of learning about budgeting and financial planning in high school, you’re more likely to learn algebra and geometry.

The thing is, no matter what you end up doing in life, you need to learn how to make good financial decisions. Fortunately, the internet has leveled the playing field with a wide range of personal finance classes.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best personal finance courses for beginners to improve your financial decision-making and better equip you to reach your financial goals. And best of all, you can complete all of them from the comfort of your own home.

The top 7 personal finance courses for beginners

There are more online courses out there than we can count, but of course, not all of them are equal. While this list can’t account for every personal finance course currently available, these are some of the best ones that you can start online right now.

1. edX’s Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making

edX’s Finance for Everyone class was developed by the University of Michigan and is often cited as one of the best personal finance courses available. The six-week course requires five to six hours per week to complete and includes a mix of videos and interactive learning experiences to help you put principles into practice. 

The course also provides access to an online discussion forum where learners can ask questions and get feedback from students and teacher’s assistants.

The emphasis of the course is the Time Value of Money principle. It also offers various frameworks to help participants improve their financial decision-making.

The base class is free and provides limited-time access to the course materials. Upgrading to the paid $49 version provides unlimited access to course materials, graded assignments and a certificate of completion.

2. BYU personal finance classes

Brigham Young University offers free personal finance courses at the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. These self-paced courses provide readings, slide presentations, videos and links to additional resources to help learners better understand how to manage their finances.

For beginners, the Money Wise Financial Course provides a solid overview of key financial topics such as setting priorities, living within your means, saving and investing, long-term planning, making major purchases and using life insurance to protect your family’s finances.

The course materials are readily available online. You don’t need to sign up or log in — just access the materials and go through them at your own pace.

3. Coursera’s Financial Planning for Young Adults

Coursera’s Financial Planning for Young Adults class is offered through the University of Illinois. This interactive course consists of eight modules over four weeks. The class covers a wide range of topics that are of particular importance for young adults, including setting financial goals, budgeting, saving strategies, using credit, investing and managing risk.

Each module takes one to three hours to complete and includes readings, lecture-style videos, video vignettes that show real-world applications of the concepts, quizzes and discussions with other participants. The interactive portions and real-world applications are designed to help learners apply the lessons to their own personal financial goals.

The course takes about 20 hours to complete, though flexible deadlines can help you adjust it to better fit your schedule. Enrollment is free.

4. Udemy’s Personal Finance 101: Everything You Need to Know

Udemy’s Personal Finance 101 course is a free series of short video lectures that focus on the fundamentals of personal finance. The class includes over 50 video clips that total nearly three hours of content.

This beginner personal finance course covers a variety of topics, including building credit, managing debt, filing tax returns, making a spending plan, and navigating several different financial situations (such as marriage, children and divorce).

In addition to this free beginner class, the Udemy website offers several paid personal finance classes that go more in-depth on different subjects.

5. Khan Academy’s Personal FinanceLife Skills class

The nonprofitKhan Academy offers a robust suite of video lectures covering a wide range of personal finance and career topics as part of its Life Skills section.

The main page for personal finances makes it easy to find specific information on the financial topic you want to learn more about, be it housing and car expenses, taxes or paying for college. Each subsection offers video lectures as well as readings and quizzes that teach more about the topic. Many of the personal finance courses were developed by Khan Academy founder Sal Khan, who has a strong finance background.

The courses are completely free but don’t offer any interaction with instructors.

6. Skillshare's My Financial Mountain: Understanding Your Path to a Solid Financial Foundation

For learners short on time, Skillshare’s My Financial Mountain offers a quick overview of how to approach your finances in a way that will give you greater financial stability in life. In only 24 minutes, you can get a basic understanding of financial planning, saving, managing debt and credit and dealing with potential obstacles.

While the course doesn’t go in-depth about applying some of these principles, it can serve as a good starting point for improving your own financial literacy. This lecture and other Skillshare classes can be accessed through the website’s free trial — just be sure to cancel before your trial period ends if you want it to be truly free.

7. Alison's Introduction to Managing Your Personal Finance Debts

Another shorter personal finance course, Alison’s Introduction to Managing Your Personal Finance Debts is free and specifically focused on preventing and alleviating debt. The course takes up to three hours to complete, and participants can earn a certificate if they score 80% or more on class assessments.

The debt-specific topics covered in this personal finance course include negotiating lower credit card rates, prioritizing debts, and developing a debt elimination plan. Mastering these principles can help learners reduce their financial stress by paying down debt and developing strategies to avoid taking on unnecessary debt in the future.

Find the right personal finance course for you

Each of these personal finance courses for beginners can help you improve your financial management. Whether you need to brush up on basic money management skills or want to understand retirement planning, these diverse classes can better equip you to deal with a wide variety of situations and achieve true financial freedom.

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