This free online course teaches new investors how to start investing with small amounts of money. In addition to investing, this also covers money management, retirement planning and choosing a financial advisor. I discovered this course through Dr. Esther M. Maddux, PhD, CFP® of Kansas State University. Visit Money Crunch for more details.
How to use this course:
- Look over the lesson topics and slide show as an overview.
- Read the lesson notes, these add the real value to this course.
Lesson 1: Where Do I Begin?
- Contribute to savings and/or investments on a regular basis.
- Know spending patterns and keep track of income and expenses on a regular basis.
- Identify ways to increase income or decrease expenses to find money to save.
- Pay yourself first from each paycheck at least 10% of take-home pay.
- Save and invest to:
- Repay debt
- Meet seasonal expenses
- Pay for emergency expenses
- Pay for major goals
Lesson 2: Why Save?
- Create savings by contributing automatically to a savings account from each paycheck.
- Replace money used for seasonal and emergency expenses after money is taken out of the account.
- Contribute regularly to savings to accumulate money for short and long-term needs (health savings account, retirement account).
- Accumulate money to be able to meet short-term (one year or less), medium term (one to three years), and long-term (three or more years) needs.
Lesson 3: Which Is the Best Alternative for Me?
- Define the criteria you will use to evaluate financial products.
- Understand how to use the criteria to choose the appropriate mix of financial products for you.
- Evaluate financial products using the criteria that are a good fit for you.
- Identify your personal risk tolerance level to select financial products that match it.
- Know the factors that affect investment return including earnings, fees and taxes to select the best financial products.
Lesson 4: What’s What in Savings & Investments? – Savings
- Choose appropriate savings products to reach goals.
- Be able to save by having money automatically deducted into temporary savings for short-term goals.
Lesson 5: What’s What in Savings & Investments? – Investments
- Know the investment products available so you can choose the ones that can help you best reach your long-term goals.
- Manage your money inflow and outflow so you can have money automatically deducted into investments to help you reach your long-term goals.
Lesson 6: What’s What in Savings & Investments? – Retirement Plans
- Identify retirement plans that are available to you.
- Describe the features of your retirement plans.
- Know how much in contributions are made by the employer and/or how much you, the employee, contributes.
- Know when and how to access your plan benefits.
Lesson 7: Where Will I Place the Money I Save?
- Save money for seasonal expenses, emergencies, and major goals in highly liquid, interest-earning accounts such as savings accounts or money market fund or money market account.
- Save for future education costs for you, your children or grandchildren.
- Save to minimize taxes.
- Save to take advantage of retirement plan options.
- Create investment goals and develop plans for reaching those goals.
Lesson 8: How Do I Protect My Nest Egg?
- Choose to invest with someone who can make a profit for you that fits your risk tolerance style.
- Investigate before you invest.
- Recognize and protect yourself from fraud and abuse when saving and investing.
- Know who to contact if you have a problem.
Lesson 9: How Do I Choose a Financial Adviser?
- Investigate before investing to make sure you are investing with a reputable adviser.
- Know the types of services a financial adviser can provide.
- Find the right adviser that you feel comfortable working with.
- Know the questions to ask to find the financial adviser that is right for you.
- Know the roles of the different types of financial advisers and how they can help you manage your savings and investments.
Lesson 10: How Do I Read the Financial Page?
- Read and understand the financial section of a newspaper.
- Read and understand the stock tables.
- Read and understand the bond tables.
- Read and understand mutual fund tables.