When it comes to investing success, you need a little luck and lot of know-how. While we canâ€™t help with your luck, there are options aplenty when it comes to learning the ins and outs of investing.
Whether you are the DIY type and want to manage your own investments or you want to better understand what a professional advisor is doing with your money, there are many low-cost classes and tools to help you build a brighter financial future. Even better, most of them can be completed online, on your own time and without leaving your house. Here are seven sources for free (or nearly free) investment courses.
Let your broker help you if you have one. Many brokers offer online courses and educational tools to their customers. Some provide access to those resources even if you arenâ€™t a customer.
For example, Fidelity offers a host of webinars, courses and coaching sessions to customers who want to be more actively involved in their investment decisions. Noncustomers can sign up for a free 30-day guest account, which provides access to some of those offerings as well.
TD Ameritrade also has a robust education page with free options for clients, including an immersive curriculum, videos and webcasts. For clients and nonclients alike, it offers free in-person educational seminars, but youâ€™ll have to leave your house for those.
Itâ€™s amazing how much information is out there for the taking once you know where to look. For example, Morningstar provides a host of investment information options, including breaking news about the markets and advice on the best picks. Itâ€™s the Investing Classroom, however, that lets you really dig in. It offers 172 free online classes that cover stocks, bonds and more as well as tools to help you track your progress as you complete them.
You can register to take quizzes and earn rewards, such as free access to Morningstarâ€™s premium service. Most of the classes consist of reading the course material and then taking a quiz to make sure youâ€™ve absorbed it. How quickly you read will determine how quickly youâ€™re able to complete the courses.
Udemy offers online video courses that cover topics including everything from photography to marketing, but it has a strong selection of personal finance classes as well. Thereâ€™s a fee for classes, but most are quite affordable. For example, well-rated courses such as â€śEasy Market Profits: 3 Step Stock Investing Strategyâ€ť and â€śInvesting for Busybeesâ€ť each cost about $20 (or less if you purchase them on sale).
You can search for courses by topic, by the ratings of others who have taken the courses, or by the number of hours the courses take to complete. Courses range from one to 17 hours and include on-demand video instruction, e-books, quizzes and more.
You can find free courses on almost anything you can think of, including investing, through iTunes U. They come from some of the top schools and leaders in the industry, and theyâ€™re all free. For access, just download the iTunes U app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and then scroll through the vast course offerings.
You can search by term, such as â€śstock market,â€ť and download a course on financial theory from Yale University, which includes video instruction, reading materials and more. It provides access to almost everything youâ€™d get if you were sitting in the classroom (except an invite to that big campus kegger).
For a top-notch education on investing, you donâ€™t have to head off to campus or pay a pricey tuition bill, as many colleges and universities offer free online access to courses, including those on finance.
For example, Massachusetts Institute of Technologyâ€™s OpenCourseWare program offers online access to an array of courses, including video and audio lectures, assignments, exams, and more. You can take a course on investments, see the lectures, read the materials and take all the tests. Some are translated into other languages as well. You donâ€™t even have to register. Just click, and access to an abundance of education is yours.
Other institutions of higher learning offer free online courses at edX. There, youâ€™ll be able to glean the same information you would have if youâ€™d attended a school like Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley or the University of Texas. You can search for courses by topic and either choose to pay a fee to receive a certificate of completion or absorb the knowledge for free. For example, a verified certificate for the eight-week course on long-term financial management offered by the University System of Maryland costs $249, but you can complete the course at no cost if you donâ€™t want or need the certificate.
A comprehensive home study course on investing is available through eXtension. Itâ€™s offered as a collaboration between Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Financial Security for All. The free course consists of 11 units, including â€śFinding Money to Invest,â€ť â€śInvesting Small Dollar Amountsâ€ť and â€śInvestment Fraud.â€ť
All the materials are written, so you can read at your own pace. Theyâ€™re also free, and in some cases, you may be able to get continuing education credit for completing a posttest.
If you can think of something you want to learn, Skillshare probably has an online course on it, and investing is no exception. Skillshare offers access to more than 25,000 online classes, and its investing course offerings are vast, including â€śInvesting Basics for Millennialsâ€ť and â€śDemystifying Cryptocurrency: Understanding Bitcoin and Beyond.â€ť
The instructional videos range from a few minutes to several hours, and theyâ€™re taught by industry professionals. There are a significant number of free offerings, though some require a premium membership, which runs about $99 a year. It currently is offering a three-month premium membership trial for 99 cents, which may be a bargain if youâ€™re good at cramming.
Investing information is there for the taking. Itâ€™s up to you just how deep you want to dig and how much time you want to spend. While education is always a valuable undertaking, when it comes to educating yourself about investing, it can pay off quite literally.
Looking for more help? Check out five places to get free financial advice.