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Top 10 Free Harvard Courses on Personal Finance

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If you’re interested in improving your financial literacy and gaining valuable insights into personal finance, look no further. This article contains a list of the top 10 free courses on personal finance. Inspired by reputed Harvard courses and free online educational platforms, these courses cover a wide range of topics, including budgeting, investing, retirement planning, debt management, and more.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner looking to build a solid foundation or someone seeking to enhance their financial knowledge and decision-making skills. The top 10 free courses in our list will help you navigate the complex world of personal finance.

Personal & Family Financial Planning by Coursera (University of Florida)

Personal & Family Financial Planning” by Coursera (University of Florida) is offered by the University of Florida through the Coursera platform. In a nutshell, it provides learners with a comprehensive understanding of personal finance and family financial planning.

The course covers a wide range of personal finance topics, including setting financial goals, budgeting, managing debt, investing, insurance, retirement planning, and estate planning. Typically, the learners will explore practical strategies and tools for making informed financial decisions and achieving financial well-being.

The course enables this by emphasizing the importance of financial planning for individuals and families at various life stages. It also offers real-world examples and case studies to illustrate key concepts and principles.

Structure and Format

Taught by Mr. Michael S Gutter, Ph.D., Family, Youth, and Community Science, the self-paced course allows learners to study at their own convenience. Learners can avail of 15 hours of video lectures, readings, quizzes, and assignments to reinforce their learning. They can also engage in discussion forums to connect with fellow participants and exchange ideas. The duration and time commitment of the course is highly flexible and can be suited to individual learning pace.

There are no specific prerequisites for this course, making it accessible to learners of all backgrounds. However, having a basic understanding of personal finance concepts and some familiarity with financial terminology can be helpful.

The course offers a paid certification option, allowing learners to earn a verified certificate upon successful completion. You can share the certificate on your professional profiles and resumes.

Introduction to Personal Finance by Coursera (University of California, Irvine)

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to personal finance topics such as budgeting, banking, credit, debt management, insurance, and investing.

Offered by the University of California, Irvine, through the Coursera platform, the course provides a comprehensive introduction to various personal finance topics. The goal is to equip learners with fundamental knowledge and skills to manage their finances effectively.

The course covers essential personal finance concepts, including budgeting, banking, credit, debt management, insurance, investing, and retirement planning. It explores practical strategies for setting financial goals, developing a budget, managing debt, understanding credit scores, and making informed decisions about insurance coverage. 

With this, learners will gain first-hand insights into investment options, as well as principles of retirement planning, including saving and retirement preparation strategies.

Structure and Format

This course is conducted by professors Brian Walsh and Lauren Anastasio. Brian is a senior manager at a personal finance company and a “certified financial planner”. Lauren is also a “certified financial planner” whose primary objective is to provide financial education and advice. 

Together they have created this self-paced course with 11 hours of video lectures, readings, quizzes, and assignments. Learners can also engage in discussion forums to connect with peers, ask questions, and engage in collaborative learning. Overall, anyone with the desire to understand their present financial scenario and reach a specific financial goal can enroll and complete this course. 

Personal Finance for Everyone by edX (Purdue University)

This personal finance course covers essential personal finance concepts, including budgeting, saving, investing, retirement planning, and risk management.

Personal Finance for Everyone” is offered by Purdue University through the edX platform. The course focuses on a comprehensive understanding of personal finance concepts and practical strategies for achieving financial well-being.

The course covers a wide range of personal finance topics, including budgeting, saving, investing, retirement planning, risk management, and wealth accumulation. Here, learners will explore key principles and techniques for effective financial decision-making while covering topics like taxes, estate planning, and the role of insurance.

Structure and Format

The course is structured over a period of six weeks, with learners needing to put in 5-6 hours of work each week. However, learners are free to go at their own pace as long as they can complete within the stipulated six-week timeframe. The instructor for this course is Mr. Gautam Kaul, a finance professor at the Ross School of Business at Michigan University. Even though the basic course is free, there is an optional upgrade that you can purchase for a small fee.  

“Financial Literacy” by ALISON

“Financial Literacy” by ALISON aims to provide learners with a solid foundation in several essential personal finance topics. Key personal finance topics such as budgeting, banking, credit, loans, and investments are well covered in this course.

As with most comprehensive personal finance curriculums, the course covers a range of financial literacy topics. Learners will gain a comprehensive understanding of financial concepts and tools needed to make informed financial decisions while also understanding practical aspects such as financial statements, personal finance management, and financial risk evaluation.

Structure and Format

The course includes only one module that covers a total of 6 to 10 hours of learning and which you can complete at your own pace. After successfully completing the final assessment, the candidates are awarded a CPD-accredited Alison certificate. The certificate can be included in the CV and not only bears the stamp of financial know-how but also the commitment to continually upskill and learn to achieve higher results. 

“Financial Planning for Young Adults” by Coursera (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Designed for young adults, this course provides practical guidance on managing personal finances, setting financial goals, budgeting, and making informed financial decisions.

Financial Planning for Young Adults” covers a wide range of personal finance topics relevant to young adults, including budgeting, saving, investing, managing debt, understanding credit, and setting financial goals. Enrolled learners will explore strategies for establishing a solid financial foundation, making smart financial choices, and planning for the future. 

Additionally, the course addresses topics such as renting vs. buying a home, managing student loans, and understanding insurance options.

Structure and Format:

One of the main highlights of the course is the trio of instructors that take learners through the basics of financial planning and management. Associate professor Nicholas Paulson is joined by certified financial planner Charles R. Chaffin and Kathryn L. Sweedler, a consumer economics educator. The total duration of the course is approximately 19 hours, spread over 4 weeks and 8 modules. Candidates can also purchase a completion certificate after completing the course for free and completing the final assessment. 

“Personal Finance” by Alison (Harvard Extension School)

“Personal Finance” is a course offered by Alison in partnership with the illustrious Harvard Extension School. The course aims to provide learners with a comprehensive understanding of personal finance principles and practical strategies for managing their finances effectively.

The course covers various personal finance topics, including budgeting, savings, investing, managing debt, understanding credit, insurance, retirement, and estate planning. The emphasis is on the importance of financial planning for individuals and families at different life stages. 

On successful completion, learners will explore key concepts and techniques for making informed financial decisions and achieving their financial goals.

Structure and Format:

The course is published by Juan Galvan, a major investor in the technology sector. And even though the course is introductory in nature, it bears CPD accreditation, and learners can get a certificate after approximately 3 hours of learning that is self-paced. Candidates can use the certificate as a testament to their knowledge and the desire to improve themselves. 

“Financial Planning: An Introduction” by FutureLearn

Financial Planning: An Introduction” is a course offered by FutureLearn, an online learning platform. The course, as is evident from the title, provides learners with an introduction to the key concepts and principles of financial planning.

This course covers a wide range of financial planning topics, including setting financial goals, budgeting, saving, investing, managing debt, retirement planning, and estate planning. The course emphasizes the importance of long-term financial planning for personal financial stability and future goals. Learners can expect to cover strategies and tools for effective financial management and making informed financial decisions.

Structure and Format:

The course typically runs for several weeks, with learners dedicating a few hours per week to complete the course material. Learners can reinforce their understanding by immersing themselves in the course with a mix of video lessons, interactive activities, quizzes, and discussions.  They also gain firsthand experience of learning from Alison Spink, a financial educator with over two decades of teaching. FutureLearn offers a paid certificate option for this course, obtainable upon the successful completion of required assessments.

“Practical Money Skills” by Visa Inc.

Practical Money Skills” is a course offered by Visa Inc., a global payments technology company. The course aims to provide practical knowledge and skills to improve financial literacy and money management.

The course covers a range of essential personal finance topics, including budgeting, saving, banking, credit cards, loans, insurance, and identity theft. Learners will explore practical strategies and tools for managing money effectively, making informed financial decisions, and protecting their financial well-being.

Structure and Format:

The course is a global endeavor of Visa Inc. to increase general financial literacy. As such, the course is available in 46 countries in 19 languages. In the US, Visa has partnered with 49 state government officials to distribute the course as a popular NFL-themed Football game. 

The goal of this unique approach is to open the course up to everyone, irrespective of their educational levels or area of expertise. Visa also conducts an annual event with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Financial Literacy Summit

The event aims to gather executives, policymakers, and leaders worldwide to improve the financial capabilities of millions and better their futures. Everyone enrolled in this can complete it to get a certificate that’s indicative of their enhanced financial awareness.  

“You and Your Money” by OpenLearn (The Open University)

“You and Your Money” is a course from OpenLearn, the Open University’s free online learning platform. The course provides learners with an introduction to personal finance and its connection to financial markets.

The course covers various aspects of personal finance and financial markets, including budgeting, saving, investing, borrowing, insurance, pensions, and understanding financial products. Enrolled candidates will explore how financial markets work, the role of banks and financial institutions, and the impact of global events on personal finances.

Structure and Format:

The course covers several weeks of materials and content on debt and borrowing, helping build a gradual understanding of personal finance. Upon completion, candidates get a free statement of participation from the Open University rather than a certificate. 

“Welcome to Personal Finance” by Khan Academy

“Welcome to Personal Finance” is a course run by Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization. The course aims to provide learners with an understanding of personal investing and strategies for managing investments effectively.

Learners will explore investment principles, vehicles, and strategies for building and managing investment portfolios. The course covers various topics related to personal investments, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, retirement accounts, risk management, diversification, and asset allocation.

Structure and Format:

The course is structured across 10 units or chapters that can be taken at a pace suitable to the learner. Learners can track their progress and revisit course materials as needed. The course is typically self-paced, allowing learners to study at their own convenience. It consists of video lessons, interactive exercises, quizzes, and practice problems to reinforce learning and test understanding.

FAQs

Are Harvard free certificates worth it?

Harvard is a renowned name in the education and academic sector. Thus, any certificate from Harvard Institute will add weight to your CV. Additionally, you get access to the best teachers to learn some of the most important finance lessons.

Does Harvard offer any financial aid?

Your family contributions will be near zero if your total family income is less than $85,000 in a year. The contribution is only up to 10% in case the income is up to $1,50,000. Moreover, even if your annual family income is more than $1,50,000, you may still qualify for Harvard financial aid on a case-to-case basis.

What GPA would I need to get into Harvard?

Selection into Harvard extends much beyond GPA numbers. It depends on the rest of your application too. However, a GPA higher than 4.18 is ideal to be considered for approval. A GPA lesser than this must be compensated with higher SAT/ACT scores – more than 580 SAT or a 35 ACT.

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Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor
Deanna Ritchie is a managing editor at Due. She has a degree in English Literature. She has written 2000+ articles on getting out of debt and mastering your finances. She has edited over 60,000 articles in her life. She has a passion for helping writers inspire others through their words. Deanna has also been an editor at Entrepreneur Magazine and ReadWrite.

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