Personal Finance Resources for All Stages of Life
The best way to gain solid financial literacy is to study, learn and practice. From saving your allowance to preparing for retirement, financial literacy and personal finance basics can and should be learned and reinforced throughout your life as financial needs change. We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of valuable financial literacy lessons, courses, programs and resources for all stages of life; from childhood, through college, adulthood, and raising a family, and on to retirement.
Kids K-8 & High Schoolers
This free financial literacy program is meant to be used in a classroom or workshop setting for students in grades 8-12. The award-winning program includes six 40-page students guides on topics including money management, borrowing, earning and investing. It also includes teacher lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, handouts, quizzes and polls.
This organization is dedicated to teaching and improving financial literacy for students ranging from preschool- to college-age. Initiatives include providing an online library of financial education resources to the public, raising personal finance literacy in students of all ages and supporting teachers who bring personal finance lessons into the classroom. All resources are free and include national standards, best practices, financial literacy facts, and a large clearinghouse of personal finance education resources for students, teachers and parents.
Students grades 7-9 will learn math concepts used in real-life personal finance in this program. There are five individual lessons which include hands-on activities on savings, taxes and budgeting. The site also includes videos, games and quizzes.
High School Financial Planning Program from the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)
College Students & Young Adults
This free online resource is designed for college and university instructors to use with their students. Free school accounts with customized access are offered to public and private nonprofit institutions, but all users are invited to sign up for an account to access the resources on the site. If your school doesn’t currently offer Cash Course, contact a school administrator or faculty member to see about getting your school onboard.
This tutorial suggests taking a day off from everything to get your financial house in order. Blocks of time are set aside for checking up on your 401k, calling credit card companies to get lower interest rates, and negotiating lower bills for cable, cell phone and Internet service and clean up your budget.
This series features hip hop mogul Russell Simmons and other celebrities, along with real people, to discuss the financial issues facing young adults today. Learning tools include videos, downloads, spreadsheets, expert advice, activities, a Facebook page and weekly polls. While this series is geared to young adults, it’s valuable for anyone looking for an engaging and thorough discussion on basic financial principles. Topics include digging out of debt, saving, getting insurance, taxes and financial literacy.
Offered by Ally Bank, this series of courses on personal finance includes modules on budgeting, living within your means and defining needs versus wants; establishing a good credit history and why it matters, how to evaluate offers of credit, understanding credit reports and scores, and fixing bad credit; understanding banking and investing; and leasing versus buying and auto and calculating monthly payments. The courses include tutorials, videos, helpful links, a terms glossary and calculators.
Users of this MOOC course from Coursera have access to course materials for free and access to graded materials and can receive a final grade and certificate for a fee. Course separated into 8 weekly modules, with a bonus week 9. Includes videos and reading assignments. Topics include financial record keeping, path to financial security, building and maintaining good credit, managing risk, and creating a personal plan of action for your finances.
Coursera offers dozens of other finance courses including Finance for Everyone, How to Start Your Own Business, Behavioral Finance, and Finance for Non-Finance Professionals
Dave Ramsey’s website offers tons of free information on how to get and stay out of debt, including the debt snowball and the 7 Baby Steps to Financial Freedom, and is a good companion to the show and podcast. Finance guru Ramsey also offers Financial Peace University, for a fee, which is a comprehensive personal finance course. Students can take the classes online or find a class in their area and take it with other people. Most classes are held at churches, as Ramsey’s program is Christian-based, but the advice is simple and solid. He focuses on paying off debt and staying out of debt and saving money for the future. He also offers Financial Peace Jr. for kids age 3-12.
For those who are permanently attached to their iPhone, personal finance via iTunes is available. This free personal finance course offers eight classes in the series with the longest clocking in at 45 minutes and the shortest at 5 minutes. Class topics include goalsetting, budgeting, credit, insurance, investing, time value of money and annuities.
Khan Academy is well known for the wide variety of online subjects offered. Users will find plenty of topics to help with personal finance including interest and debt, housing, inflation, taxes, investing and banking. Some of the lessons are basic, such as compound interest personal taxes and introduction to stocks and credit cards, while others delve much deeper into finance with lessons in hedge funds and collateralized debt obligations.
This 1.5-hour course, taught by finance expert, discusses basics of personal finance, along with special topics like paying down debt and growing savings. She also discusses how to earn more, understanding your spending, the best budgeting tools, savings vs debt reduction (which should you do first?) and investment strategies. There’s a fee to join Lynda, but there’s a 10-day free trial.
This comprehensive lesson plan from the nonprofit Nefe offers an unbiased look at personal finance and is designed to help people through personal finance via courses, articles and calculators. Courses include My Emergency Fund Plan, My Financial Well Being Plan, My Housing Plan, My Transportation Plan, and Money Basics. Each course takes about 45 minutes to complete. The Money Basics lesson is broken out into spending and saving, credit and debt, insurance, investing, and employment. Users will also find tools and calculators to help with budgeting, along with quizzes aimed to find out financial identity and life values.
This MOOC course from esteemed Purdue University focuses solely on personal finance including stock markets, investments and how investments relate to credit and insurance, retirement savings, how to use credit correctly and making sound financial decisions. The course is free, with a certificate available for $49, and is 5 weeks in length.
This introductory finance course from University of Michigan via edX is taught by a professor of finance and focuses on finance and how it applies to everyday life. The course is free, but students can add a verified certificate for $49. Students learn the basics of evaluating financial choices such as renting or buying a home, how to pay for college, and choosing a car, along with financial concepts such as time value of money (TVM). The course requires understanding of basic mathematical concepts and high-school understanding of algebra.
All the course materials from this course at Utah State University are available to download for free. There are 14 units in the course, and topics include factors affecting family finances, budgeting, savings and reducing debt, planning and record keeping, credit, housing, insurance and investing. Assignments include tracking expenses, creating a budget, practicing filling out a 1040 tax form, and performing a financial checkup.
Retirees & Seniors
Workshop topics for the Baby Boomer crowd include paying for healthcare costs, making the most of a home’s value, managing debt, managing retirement plan assets, managing saving and investments, and protecting yourself from fraud.
This workshop resource addresses financial concerns specific to seniors such as learning to budget with retirement funds, avoiding scams, and applying for benefits. Beyond the workshop, seniors can access publications and tools on topics such as earning extra income in retirement, managing debt and learning how to bank online.
Provided by the U.S. Department of Labor—Employee Benefits Security Administration, this site offers worksheets, calculators, tips and comprehensive information on retiring in the U.S. Users can use calculators and tools to determine the approximate amount they may be able to receive in retirement benefits and how much they should be saving on their own via a 401k or other retirement accounts.