MoneySavingExpert.com (MSE) and world-leading distance-learning institution, The Open University, have teamed up to launch an ambitious new project to help give the nation the skills and knowledge to master their finances with a new, completely free and independent academic course.
The course – MSE’s Academy of Money – is prepared and written by The Open University, with support and guidance from MSE. Hosted on its OpenLearn platform, the course is made up of six two-hour sessions of study covering all key aspects of personal finance:
1. Making good spending decisions: Examine what behavioural and marketing pressures influence purchasing decisions. Then look at a simple four-stage decision-making model. Developing your approach to money management will underpin this session, and the rest of the course.
2. Budgeting and taxation: This session will examine how to calculate net income. You will explore expenditure patterns, how national insurance and income tax works, and how to plan to build a successful budget.
3. Borrowing money: Looks at how different types of debt work, the differences between them and the dangers. It examines the concept of ‘bad debt, good debt’ and by the end, educates on how to borrow sensibly.
4. Understanding mortgages: Mortgage products are complex. This session gives a grounding in how they work, interest rates, repayments and possible penalties. It also examines mortgages from a lender’s perspective to explain why your mobile phone contract might just determine how much you can borrow.
5. Saving and investing: This session explains the difference between saving and investing, plus how to understand different types of saving vehicles and the basics of investments such as shares, bonds and commodities, and the associated risks.
6. Planning for retirement: Understand how state pensions, occupational and personal pension schemes work and the differences between them – it’s designed both for those imminently retiring and for those who have many years to go.
The course is totally flexible – students can study at their own pace, perhaps even choosing to complete just one topic to brush up. It is available to anyone wanting to improve their knowledge of personal finance for their own interest and financial capability, or, for those who work in the consumer help industries, it can provide some academic grounding to support their work. Enrolling on the course will give students the opportunity to earn a free Open University digital badge – a great way to demonstrate interest in the subject and commitment to your career, providing evidence of continuing professional development – and a free downloadable statement of participation. The course is available here or in the link below.