A new session of each course opens each month, allowing you to enroll whenever your busy schedule permits!
How does it work? Once a session starts, two lessons will be released each week, for the six-week duration of your course. You will have access to all previously released lessons until the course ends.
Keep in mind that 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.
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.
Lesson 01 - Your Financial Situation
Throughout this course, you'll learn how to use basic financial planning tools that you can work into your everyday routine. In this first lesson, you'll 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'll 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.
Lesson 02 - The Daily Grind: Earnings, Bills, and Taxes
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. In this lesson, you'll learn how you can control certain aspects of your income collection and disbursement through daily financial events. We'll talk about methods for increasing the amount of money at your disposal, saving money when paying your bills, and reducing your tax burden. You'll learn many ways to save money with your day-to-day financial activities.
Lesson 03 - Your Credit
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. Today, you'll learn 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.
Lesson 04 - The Art of Borrowing
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'll get the tools to make informed decisions about borrowing. You'll learn about the concept of points or loan origination fees, as well as what loan-related items you can negotiate. Discover the concept of compound interest, and understand that the interest rate you see on advertised loans is not always the interest rate you pay. You'll also learn about where you can go to borrow money and how you can use the Internet to find out more about borrowing. Finally, you'll find out how borrowing money can actually benefit you when tax time comes.
Lesson 05 - Creating and Living with a Budget
In the most popular lesson of the course, you'll 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. Today, you'll learn how to create a budget that's flexible enough to meet the changes you encounter in life, and durable enough to help you achieve a lifetime of financial goals.
Lesson 06 - Investing in Mutual Funds
In this lesson, you'll 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'll 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. We'll also talk about what you need to watch out for when investing in mutual funds.
Lesson 07 - Investing in Stocks
Today, you'll learn how to choose a financial advisor. You'll find out why it's so important to follow the performance of your investments, and you'll discover how to manage your portfolio. In addition, we'll talk about the tax effects of buying and selling investments and how you can manage the amount of tax you pay on those transactions. You'll also learn how to compare companies that you want to invest in.
Lesson 08 - Other Types of Investing
If you want to invest, there are several different types of opportunities available to you. In this lesson, you'll 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'll discover that you can begin investing with a very small amount of money, and you'll find out how to familiarize yourself with different types of investments before putting your money at risk.
Lesson 09 - Insurance Considerations
Today, you'll get acquainted with the many types of insurance and how the purchase of insurance should fit into your overall financial plan. We'll discuss life, health, automobile, and property insurance. Your needs for insurance change throughout your life, so you'll learn how and when to reassess your insurance coverage. I'll give you some tips on dealing with insurance agents and shopping around for the best value and the best coverage. You'll also learn how to save money on existing insurance policies.
Lesson 10 - Planning for Your Retirement
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'll get familiar with the various types of retirement funds available to employees, business owners, and individuals; and you'll 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'll also find out how the Social Security system works, and we'll discuss the tax effects of retirement contributions and distributions.
Lesson 11 - Life's Big Expenses
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, I'll give you tips for estimating the costs of major purchases, as well as techniques for saving and borrowing to finance these expenses. You'll also see what tax benefits are available when you incur these large expenses. You'll learn about some of the different options for parents and students who are planning on, or are already attending, college. And you'll discover what factors to consider when deciding whether to purchase or lease a vehicle.
Lesson 12 - Estate Planning
In the final lesson of the course, you'll learn about estate planning and some of the basic rules that will guide you in making important decisions. We'll talk about the legal fees associated with the preparation of a will, and you'll get some pointers for choosing the right lawyer for the job. In addition, you'll 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.