As I wrote in my last column for 2018, one of the best things we can invest in is ourselves. And for this, the World Wide Web can our greatest ally—offering finance courses that we can take online, at our own pace and convenience. Some of these MOOCs (massively open online courses) are free, and some need to be paid for.

Now, freebies are great, but if we are talking about investing in ourselves here, we should not be afraid to put our money where our mouths are, so to speak.

And the best thing about investments is that they, by nature, pay off in the long run. Expect to benefit from the time, effort and diligent discipline you put into the hours of studying these courses.

Wharton/Coursera: An Introduction To Financial Accounting

This free course is on Coursera, one of the best platforms for online learning. It’s been around for a few years now, but the foundations in accounting that the course teaches are classic and helpful for everyone. If you’re in business, they’re not just necessary but essential. As the instructor Brian Bushee, a 13-year veteran of Wharton and former Harvard Business School professor puts it, “accounting is the language of business.”

The best thing about it is that it’s for everyone—it’s a basic course that does not need extra background studies. An Introduction To Financial Accounting will take ten weeks to finish, and will require around 6-8 hours a week of study.

What will you learn in this course?

–The basics of accounting

–How to read a balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow

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Udemy: The Core Four of Personal Finance

Like the one above, this course is for anyone. However, it’s specifically for those who, “want to get your finances in order but not sure where to start,” as the description says.

Students are taught the core four pillars of personal finance in detail. This is to get one’s personal finances under control and to stay motivated for them to remain that way. They are also taught the benefits and pitfalls of various personal finance paths.

A recent update to the course includes an introduction to the stock market and understanding debt—loan amortization schedules, the benefits, and disadvantages of different kinds of loans, such as auto, home, and credit card.

The course costs US $19.99 but sometimes goes on sale for half the price. It includes a 3 and a half hour long video, downloadable resources, articles, and can be accessed both on TV and mobile phones. It has no expiry date (can be accessed over your lifetime) and you get a Certificate of Completion when you end the course.

The people behind the course (BrainyMoney and Son Han, CFA, CPA, who’s the instructor) also offer a 30-day money back guarantee. For them, “Personal finance is a lifelong journey. Personal finance is a marathon, not a sprint.”

A lot of people seem to have questions about personal finance. Let our article on the “Myths About Managing Your Personal Finances” answer some of the questions you may have.

edX Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making

This is another free course, this time from edX. Truthfully, it had me at the course description, which talks about exploring the “beauty and power of finance.”

The truth is, the more equipped we are to make smart decisions, the more empowered we are. This is what this course is all about, how to make smart decisions when it comes to money.

With “Finance for Everyone,” options are discussed, ranging from whether to buy or rent your home, the different choices and consequences when it comes to loans, and other real-world situations.

Instructor Gautam Kaul, Professor of Finance, Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan helps students understand how the world of finance functions, including stocks and bonds, learning how to allocate scarce resources, and using smart tools for the decisions we make every day.

The course lasts for 6 weeks and requires a time commitment of 5 to 6 hours per week. The only requirement, according to the course description, is “a sense of curiosity and a positive attitude.”

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iTunes and Missouri State University, Personal Finance

Missouri State University’s Personal Finance course is almost like a hybrid between an online course and a one-season podcast, which is cool, because you can listen to it on the go when you’re commuting, as long as you can take notes along the way.

It’s a series of 8 sessions starting from Goalsetting, to Budgeting, Credit, Insurance, Investing, Time Value of Money, Annuities and then Personal Finance. Like all the other courses, you need no prior education in the subjects, and so it’s appropriate even for older teens or those who are starting out in their careers, to learn about financial goals and savings.

However, more complex topics are also tackled in the course, such as taxation, bankruptcy, and even retirement planning.

The videos, which range from 5 to 45 minutes long, are available on Apple’s iTunes app, either on your phone or iPad, but can also be accessed via the university’s website.

Suze Orman’s Personal Finance Online Course

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this far without mentioning self-styled “financial guru” Suze Orman. I grew up reading her column in Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine and on Yahoo’s Money Matters. She has written several books, and guested on the money podcasts that I love and listen to. Suze Orman is an all-around go-to person in the finance world.

She has a Personal Finance Online course that costs US $54, which, to be honest, I consider a worthwhile investment. Having said that, you can sometimes get a promo code for the course and get it for free. Dig around online enough and you’ll unearth how. But, if you take the course and you’re unhappy with it, it comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.

It’s made up of seven lessons that can be downloaded, and are as follows:

Overcoming your Financial Obstacles
Be Debt-Free
Retirement Rules
Invest for success
Big Ticket Items: Buying a Car or Home
Making Finances a Family Affair
The Must-Have Documents and Insurance

Truthfully, we’ve just scratched the surface of online courses. There are many more in-depth courses for investing, real-estate, cryptocurrencies, foreign exchange, fintech, entrepreneurship, and so on.

In the meantime, check out our article on Free Offline, Online Courses and Training Funds: The Ultimate Guide right here. 

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Anna Maria Romero is the Deputy Director of Lifeline Foundation by day and a freelance writer by night. Lifeline Foundation’s advocacy includes empowerment through financial literacy, which is why she has written and taught on this subject on numerous occasions. An educator by profession and training, Anna Maria graduated from the University of the Philippines, cum laude, and taught for more than two decades, having opened a school in 1995. She stepped down as as principal of South City Central School in 2015 in order to pursue a career in the non-profit sector. She is a contributing writer to an online news site, and has been on the creative team of “This Journal Will Actually Change Someone’s Life” since 2008, which is published by FreeSpeech Publications in Manila, Philippines. Anna Maria is a passionate advocate, volunteer, organizer, counselor, communicator, editor, and traveler, who’s always ready to pack up and go where she’s needed.

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