Course Code: pfn
Throughout this course, you will learn how to use basic financial planning tools that you can work into your everyday routine. In this first lesson, you will examine your personal finances as they are today, set some basic financial goals, learn how to keep track of your finances, and gain some knowledge of record-keeping requirements. You will learn how to assess your current financial position. The information you compile during this lesson, and the methods you use to retain and store that information, can set the tone of your financial record-keeping for the rest of your life.
If you think about your cash flow in terms of how to best control the money that comes in and goes out of your life, you may discover that you have many opportunities to improve your financial situation. This lesson focuses controlling certain aspects of your income collection and disbursement through daily financial events. You will learn about methods for increasing the amount of money at your disposal, saving money when paying your bills, and reducing your tax burden.
Don't be discouraged if your credit history is marred. Despite what you might think, you can establish good credit, control your credit rating so it remains positive, and repair a bad credit rating. This lesson teaches you how to read your credit history, correct errors in your credit reports, and improve your credit so that you're a good risk to potential lenders. Find out what creditors look at when they judge your credit, and how you can check your own credit rating for free.
Whether you intend to borrow money for a long term (as you might with a mortgage on a house), a medium term (such as a loan for a car or a college education), or a short term (such as using a credit card to pay for a dinner at a restaurant or your weekly groceries), there are factors about borrowing that you should consider. In this lesson, you will get the tools to make informed decisions about borrowing. You will learn about the concept of points or loan origination fees. Finally, you will find out how borrowing money can actually benefit you when tax time comes.
In the most popular lesson of the course, you will learn how you can create a workable budget and, more importantly, how you can make it stick. A budget is not difficult to make, and it's not difficult to follow. In fact, people who use budgets find they can talk about their finances and their financial goals more comfortably because they have a thorough knowledge of what they can actually achieve. A budget is like a playbook for the future.
In this lesson, you will learn about the different types of mutual funds, criteria for choosing a fund, how much to invest, the importance of timing your investments, when to sell, and the tax effects of your investment. You will find out the advantages to investing in mutual funds, including diversification, the opportunity to take advantage of a fund manager and a research team's expertise, the small minimum investment required to enter a fund, and the ease with which you can make regular investments.
This lesson introduces financial advisors. You will find out why it's so important to follow the performance of your investments. You will also discover how to manage your portfolio, the tax effects of buying and selling investments, and how you can manage the amount of tax you pay. You will also learn how to compare companies that you want to invest in.
If you want to invest, there are several different types of opportunities available to you. In this lesson, you will explore some of the places beyond stocks and mutual funds where you can invest your money, including interest-bearing accounts, bonds, commodities, precious metals, and collectibles. You will discover that you can begin investing with a very small amount of money, and you will find out how to familiarize yourself with different types of investments before putting your money at risk.
In this lesson, you will get acquainted with the many types of insurance and how the purchase of insurance should fit into your overall financial plan. Your needs for insurance change throughout your life, so you will learn how and when to reassess your insurance coverage. You will also learn some tips on dealing with insurance agents and shopping around for the best value and the best coverage.
Retirement might seem like it's a long way off, but it's never too early to start thinking about it. In this lesson, you will get familiar with the various types of retirement funds available to employees, business owners, and individuals; and you will learn about putting money into retirement funds, overseeing the investments in those funds, and when and how to take money out of your funds. You will also find out how the Social Security system works and the tax effects of retirement contributions and distributions.
There are certain occasions in life that require a major cash outlay. Events like weddings, purchasing a house or a car, or going to college require planning and saving. In this lesson, you will discover tips for estimating the costs of major purchases, as well as techniques for saving and borrowing to finance these expenses. You will also see what tax benefits are available when you incur these large expenses. You will learn about some of the different options for parents and students who are planning on, or are already attending, college.
In the final lesson of the course, you will learn about estate planning and some of the basic rules that will guide you in making important decisions. In addition, you will get an introduction to inheritance and estate taxes, trusts, and other means of protecting your assets, as well as information about the duties of an executor for your estate.
Matt Crabtree, CFP ®, earned his Bachelor of Science in Business, Information Systems Management, in 1999, a mini MBA certificate from The School of Management at Yale University in 2004, a certificate in Financial Planning from Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business in 2012 and has received the financial industry's most rigorous and prestigious professional designation of Certified Financial Planner ™. After many years in project management, office management, and business sales, Matt began training individuals and organizations in areas of business finance, leadership development, successful negotiations, sales management, and customer service excellence. Matt has trained individuals and various units within the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as corporate organizations including IBM (technology), Accuray (healthcare-technology), and Gen-Probe (molecular diagnostics). Matt is registered as a securities broker with the Financial Authority Regulation Authority (FINRA) and with the U.S. stock exchanges (NYSE and NASDAQ) and as an investment advisor with FINRA. Matt's natural aptitude for explaining his material in an easy-to-understand and enjoyable manner allows each student to gain insights into areas that are often considered challenging.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.
Instructor-Led: A new session of each course begins each month. Please refer to the session start dates for scheduling.
Self-Paced: You can start this course at any time your schedule permits.
Instructor-Led: Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the 6 week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Self-Paced: You have three-month access to the course. After enrolling, you can learn and complete the course at your own pace, within the allotted access period.
Instructor-Led: The interactive discussion area for each lesson automatically closes 2 weeks after each lesson is released, so you’re encouraged to complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.
Self-Paced: There is no time limit to complete each lesson, other than completing all lessons before your three-month access.
Instructor-Led: The Final Exam will be released on the same day as the last lesson. Once the Final Exam has been released, you will have 2 weeks plus 10 days to complete the Final and finish any remaining lessons in your course. No further extensions can be provided beyond these 10 days.
Self-Paced: Because this course is self-paced, no extensions will be granted after the start of your enrollment.
I cannot express enough with my comment how much I enjoyed this course or how much valuable information it involves. I would like all my friends to take it and have their teenage kids read over this valuable information. I strongly believe that this course is easy enough to understand and should be taught in High Schools. Very interesting, very easy to understand, and great information. Thank you so much."
I learned a lot from your course and I now feel that I have the knowledge to start working toward saving for my future. Thank you!"
I learned so much from taking the Personal Finance course and feel more confident now about managing my personal finances. Thank you Gail! Kudos to you."
I'm really glad I took this course. It gave me so much insight on my personal financial planning. There are so many things to do in financial planning and this course gave me a roadmap where to start. There are so many things to learn, understand and apply not just for myself but also for my family."
I think this is a class that should be required especially for students just entering college as a way to help them understand their finances better at an early age."
Thank You, I have enjoyed learning more on how to take control of my family's finances, how to look forward to the future and have a greater understanding on how things work."
The material was well prepared. I generally liked the writing style. The exercises were excellent and thought-provoking and forced me to examine areas of my personal finances that I was unaware of or had been procrastinating about. This was my first experience with online learning and I am very impressed. Keep up the good work."
This has been a very well rounded course for all areas of one's life. I wish I had taken something like this 30 years ago, so I didn't have to learn about most of it the hard way, or not having missed learning about it completely. It gives someone a good foundation about the many ways to protect oneself, maximum earnings potential, and preparing for what's to come with the right tools. There's nothing more disturbing than having opportunities slip through your fingers, when with a little knowledge, you can plan and make the most of your own finances and take control of the outcome of your own well being. Thank you very much for this thorough course."
I took your business finance class last summer and loved it. Taking the class and understanding my finance software helped me to get a good high paying job!"
Thank you for the class. It was very clear and easy to follow. I have taken several of the online classes and this one was the best one so far. I learned a lot and realized I was not too far off our goal. I'm going to try my hand at one of the other courseds you mentioned in Lesson 12."