10 Best Free Personal Finance Classes You Can Do Online

Ready to boost your financial management skills? You don’t need to commit to expensive in-person classes or rely on advice from friends. There are plenty of online financial courses to help you expand your financial literacy at your own pace.

Whether you want to brush up on budgeting basics, rethink your entire money-management plan or start planning for retirement, online personal literacy classes for adults can help. We’ve rounded up some of the best to get you started.

 

Best Personal Finance Courses of 2022

 

1. Personal Finance 101: Everything You Need to Know: Easy Overview for Beginners

This wide-ranging online course from MoneyCoach.io covers a bit of everything. You’ll learn how to build credit, manage student loan debt and plan for big purchases, such as buying a home or a car. It even touches on how to handle money in marriage and parenthood.

Why you should try it:

  • No prior knowledge of personal finance is needed
  • Uses short and engaging videos to make learning about personal finance as fun as possible
  • Offers a quick way to learn the fundamentals of personal finance before diving into specific topics
  • Upgrade: All materials are free
  • Duration: 2 hours 59 minutes

 

2. Personal and Family Financial Planning: Good for Building Your Personal Finance Plan

One of the more in-depth finance classes online, this class by the University of Florida helps you understand financial security, building good credit, managing risk and the time value of money. Courses are broken down by week with topics advancing as you move along. Each week is graded with a quiz.

Why you should try it:

  • Helps you build a plan that fits your financial goals
  • Covers fundamentals such as how to build good credit and manage income taxes
  • Upgrade: Paid certificate you can share on LinkedIn
  • Duration: 15 hours

 

3. Financial Planning for Young Adults: Good for High School and College Students

This course by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers real-world scenarios coupled with video interviews by actual certified financial planners. It’s a great course for high school and college-aged young adults who need help establishing a financial plan. Topics include assessing your current financial situation, budgeting, saving strategies and using credit cards. There’s even a module on financial planning as a potential career.

Why you should try it:

  • Provides a great introduction for high school students before they enter the “real world”
  • Can also be used as a refresher course for anyone who needs to fine-tune their financial planning skills
  • Upgrade: Paid certificate you can share on LinkedIn
  • Duration: 20 hours split up over four weeks

 

4. Introduction to Managing Your Personal Finance Debts: Good for Debt Management Skills

Knowing how to manage debt is critical to healthy finances. This course on Alison.com can help you learn how to set up a debt spreadsheet so you can see exactly how much you owe and which lenders you need to pay. It also covers important topics that can help you manage debt moving forward, including how to negotiate interest rates and debt elimination plans.

Why you should try it:

  • Can help you pay off your credit card debt and other debts efficiently
  • Skills learned are easily translatable in helping you manage debt moving forward
  • Upgrade: All materials are free
  • Duration: Up to 3 hours

 

5. An Introduction to Credit Risk Management: Good for Furthering Your Financial Education

Why is lending money so risky? Why is it essential to correctly manage credit risk? This rigorous course by Delft University of Technology combines theory with practice to answer such questions. While this topic may not be something you need in your personal life, it’s interesting to learn more about what happens behind the scenes of hedging and lending money.

Why you should try it:

  • Helps you understand financial markets on a deeper level
  • Can help you gain an appreciation of how financial institutions decide who to lend money to
  • Upgrade: $50 optional verified certificate
  • Duration: 6-7 hours per week for seven weeks

 

6. Personal Taxes: Quick Guide to Personal Taxes

This 40-min course by Khan Academy will give you an overview of the income tax rate schedule so you can better understand why your paycheck is lower than what you initially thought it would be. Topics include tax brackets, calculating take-home pay and how marriage affects taxes.

Why you should try it:

  • Gives you life skills to help you figure out your take-home pay so you can create a budget plan
  • Knowing how to understand your personal taxes can help you determine how much money you need to make to live comfortably
  • Upgrade: All materials are free
  • Duration: 40 minutes

 

7. Planning for a Secure Retirement: For Planning Your Financial Future

Say you want to save for retirement, but you’re not sure how to get started. This online Purdue University personal finance class helps you estimate how much income you’ll likely need in retirement and provides information on collecting Social Security, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and tips for the self-employed. The modules are short and rely heavily on links to external reports and sources, but they allow you to learn at your own pace.

Why you should try it:

  • Gives you the tools you need to make financial decisions that will set you up for a secure future
  • Includes information about Medicare and other issues
  • Upgrade: All materials are free
  • Duration: At your own pace

 

8. Behavioral Finance: For Understanding the “Why” Behind Financial Decisions

If you want to learn the psychology behind why people make money mistakes, this course by Duke University may be right for you. By understanding more about the way your mind works, you can learn how to spot potential missteps and boost your decision-making skills.

Why you should try it:

  • This course teaches you about the natural biases that impact financial decision-making
  • By understanding the “why” behind your decisions, you can make better and more informed financial decisions moving forward
  • Upgrade: Paid certificate you can share on LinkedIn
  • Duration: 6 hours across three weeks

 

9. Create a Budget with Google Sheets: An Easy Way for Beginners to Create a Budget

This short course from the Coursera Project Network walks beginners step-by-step through creating a simple budget. Best of all, the course focuses specifically on creating a budget in Google Sheets, a free program that is easily accessible via a web browser or mobile app.

Why you should try it:

  • The course uses an interactive format through split screens using Coursera’s Guided Projects
  • You can use the budget for both personal and professional finances
  • Upgrade: All materials are free
  • Duration: 1 hour

 

10. Investments II: Lessons and Applications for Investors: For Learning Investment Strategies

If you want to take a deep dive into the world of investing, this course by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has you covered. You’ll learn about the fundamentals of investments, assessing financial risk versus returns, mutual funds and more.

Why you should try it:

  • Helps with estate planning and establishing your investment strategies
  • Provides beneficial information even if you’ve already begun investing
  • Upgrade: Paid certificate you can share on LinkedIn
  • Duration: Approximately 19 hours across four weeks

 

Online Personal Finance Class FAQs

What are the best personal finance courses?

There are dozens of financial literacy classes for adults available. The key to finding the best course is spending some time thinking about what you want to learn and how you learn best. For example, if you want to improve your budgeting skills, look for classes that offer basic financial skills. And if you learn best with a teacher rather than on your own, look for classes that offer live instruction.

Can you take finance classes online?

Yes, while you can take courses in-person at your local community college and through private organizations, many courses are now available online to make things easier.

What is taught in a personal finance class?

That depends on which personal finance class you take. If you take introductory financial literacy classes, they will likely teach you about the basics of money management such as budgeting, saving and investing. You can also take more specific courses about topics such as retirement planning, investment strategies and how to use specific programs to manage your finances.

Are personal finance classes worth it?

Yes, especially if they’re free! Spending a few hours learning about new financial topics or brushing up on what you already knew can make a huge difference in your financial future.

How do I get finance certified?

If you want to help others professionally, certifications like Certified Financial Planner can help you get there, but you don’t need to be certified to manage your household expenses, debt repayment or personal retirement plan.

Can I teach myself finance?

Absolutely. By taking online finance courses, you’ll be well on your way to understanding the basics behind managing your money. Remember, finance is a lifelong learning process, so you can always come back to educational blogs like the RISE blog or online finance courses to learn more.

Signing up for free online courses is a great way to jumpstart your money management game. Learning how to budget, save and invest can be challenging initially. But once you get in the habit of strategically mapping out your finances, it can also be empowering. Online courses can give you the tools you need to continue your financial education journey.

Don’t forget, new financial literacy resources are being published regularly. For example, this eBook from RISE about building credit is a great stepping stone to bettering your financial future.

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