People have varying degrees of financial knowledge and experience, and fortunately, there are a growing number of resources to help adults of all ages enhance their skills. There are publicly available courses that teach topics on economics, personal finance, global markets, business, and more. And many of these resources are available through complimentary online platforms that are easy to navigate and can be accessed year-round. A few highlights amongst the vast array of financial resources are highlighted below.
CNN MONEY ESSENTIALS
CNN offers a free, online course of practical, everyday lessons that teach people about practical personal finance topics. Currently, there are a total of 23 Money Essentials lessons that introduce and explain a variety of topics ranging from how to create a budget, to the principles of estate planning. There are helpful resources built right into the courses as well, such as glossaries relevant for the lesson, as well as online tests to check how well you understand each of the topics that are introduced.
A few of the lessons that may interest you are below, which can all be accessed here.
How To Handle Employee Stock Options – Are you considering working at a start-up or a company that offers stock options? This lesson introduces stock option essentials and can help you make better-educated decisions. Learn about commonly used terms, the various types of options, as well as what is involved when exercising stock options.
Tips For Buying A House – This course starts by introducing 10 tips one should know before taking the leap to buy a house. It covers important topics like when to invest in a house, how to set a budget, tips for picking an agent, an outline of the property hunting process, and how to close a deal. There are also samples of current mortgage rates as well as a personalized rate finder accessible on the lesson pages.
Get Ahead Of Your Estate Planning – Unsure if you should have a will or designate a power of attorney? This lesson introduces the basics of estate planning to help you decide what steps you should explore further. Some of the topics that are discussed are trusts, living wills, various methods to give money, and healthcare proxies.
OPEN YALE COURSES
Back in December of 2007, Yale University launched a free courses platform called Open Yale Courses. Yale started this program to provide convenient, beneficial, and free access to educational resources for the world to enjoy thanks to technology and charitable donations. Since the program started, people in approximately countries of varying backgrounds have been able to learn from prestigious Yale professors on a wide variety of topics including Economics, Sociology, and Political Science.
You can download copies of course materials straight from the Open Yale Courses website, as well as view syllabi, lists of sessions, and even buy the books used in the course if you wish. Videos of class lectures are also accessible through iTunes U and YouTube. It is a convenient way to learn about topics in economics while feeling like you are a part of such a prestigious university.
A few of the Open Yale Courses that may interest you are below, which can all be accessed here.
Financial Markets– Taught by Economics Professor Robert J. Shiller, this course gives students insights on risk management and behavioral finance principles. It also covers the functions and impacts of the banking, insurance, and securities industries.
Financial Theory – This course provides insights on how hedge funds analyze data, how the financial system affects the global economy and economic equilibrium. It is taught by Professor John Geanakoplos, a founding and active partner of Ellington Capital Management, who received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Economics.
Game Theory – A fun topic in economics is game theory. In this course, Professor Ben Polak teaches strategic thinking and introductory game theory topics such as the Nash equilibrium, asymmetric information, adverse selection, dominance, evolutionary stability, and backward induction. Examples from movies, politics, and economics are utilized to make the course material entertaining and easy to understand.
The well respected Massachusetts Institute of Technology also offers free online courses on a range of subjects including economics, management, and global studies. Similarly, to the Open Yale Courses program, MIT OpenCourseware offers downloadable course materials, access to syllabi, and links to purchase textbooks used in each course.
MIT’s OCW program offers 2,150undergraduate and graduate courses online for their continual goal of sharing knowledge. Some of the lessons are available in audio and video format, including some courses that have been translated into foreign languages. Useful lecture notes can also be viewed and downloaded in PDF format.
A full list of MIT’s available OpenCourseWare classes is available here. A few highlights that may interest you are listed below.
Principles Of Microeconomics – The building blocks of microeconomics are discussed in this course including supply and demand curves, consumer theory, market equilibrium, monopoly, the role of government in the economy, as well as the behavior of firms.
Economic Growth–This graduate level course focuses on what affects economic equilibrium, world growth, and the various sources of income and expansions in countries all over the globe. Macroeconomic models are also presented and discussed.
The History of Financial Crises – Taught by Professor Peter Temin, this undergraduate course provides insights on various financial crises throughout history. Topics range from the Great Depression, the first oil crisis, Japanese stagnation, and the well-known 2008 financial crisis.
There is an interactive, research-based program called eXtension that offers a variety of online resources. They are quite diverse and range from investing to running an agriculture farm. One particular home study course, Investing For Your Future, was sponsored by Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the SEC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Further details are below.
Investing For Your Future – This online course offers an introduction and 11 Units on investing basics. It is well suited for those who are just starting to invest and want to learn about setting goals, terminology such as dollar-cost averaging and asset allocation, and the various risks and rewards associated with investing. Some of the units cover topics such as finding money to invest, fixed income, tax-deferred investments, and how to select financial professionals.
Financial Security For All Learning Lessons – This set of lessons dives into a range of personal finance topics and some of the associated challenges people face. The lessons cover topics such as estate planning, advance health care directives, and planning for retirement.
MORNINGSTAR.COM’S INVESTING CLASSROOM
Interested in studying your way towards a 60-day trial Premium subscription to Morningstar.com? Free, registered members earn points after completing quizzes at the end of their free, online courses. There are currently 172 courses available to choose from including An Introduction to Financial Statements, The Magic of Compounding, Understanding Total Return, Core versus Noncore Investments, and The Role Of Collateral.
Morningstar’s courses are organized into four main categories – Stocks, Funds, Portfolio, and Bonds. And they range in difficulty from beginner to advanced that is easy to understand. Introductory courses are numbered in the 100 range, which lead all the way up to courses in the 500 range for experienced investors. If you like the courses, you can learn more about the costs for establishing a new subscription.
FREEFINANCIAL CALCULATORS FROM BANKRATE.COM
If you are looking for any type of financial calculator, Bankrate.com has it covered. They have an impressive online assortment of calculators in eight major categories: Auto, Credit Cards, College, Home Equity, Mortgage, Investments, Savings, and Retirement.
What are some reasons why a financial calculator could be useful? They can help one determine and analyze data like the below:
- How much should you save for retirement?
- What might your cost of living be in college?
- How much interest could you compound in x amount of years?
- How much should you consider putting down on an auto lease?
- When could you pay off your credit card debt?
Those who are interested in tutorials on various investment topics may enjoy the large collection of guides in University. Some of their unique categories include Forex, Financial Careers, Young Investors, Active Trading, and Fundamental Analysis.
A helpful feature in all of the tutorials is that one can easily click on highlighted keywords and course related terminology to access detailed definitions and examples. There are also related terms and FAQs available at the bottom of each page for further information.
FINANCIAL LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
There is a wide range of free, online resources and courses available today to help people of all ages increase their knowledge and awareness of topics in economics, personal finance, and more. These financial learning opportunities can help more people discover how to become financially independent, grow their wealth, and make better financial decisions that affect their day-to-day lives.
Motif Investing offers many investment products and services that can suit investors of various experiences and interests. Explore the Investing Insights section to brush up on your investing and financial literacy.