Whether retirement is a distant dream for you or just around the corner, planning for retirement is essential to ensure your financial security after your working days are over. It’s always a good idea to work with a certified financial planner who can help you plan in light of your financial situation and risk tolerance. But it’s also smart to do a little legwork to get a good knowledge base about financial planning and saving for retirement. The following free retirement planning courses and resources can help you get started. Best of all, they’re free.
Complete Online Courses
These comprehensive free retirement planning courses cover most of the basics of retirement planning:
Purdue University Extension: Planning for a Secure Retirement. This 10-module course covers expenses in retirement, Social Security, Medicare and health benefits, retirement for self-employed people, retirement plan distributions, and other matters. Each module includes subsections with bits of info and activities to complete. The course comes with a guide to fill out as you run through the modules, which will provide a picture of your personal retirement planning when you’re done.
Indiana University: Planning for Risk and Retirement. Planning for retirement requires investing, so it’s important to understand how to invest well for retirement based on your tolerance for risk. This course will help you learn that skill, including how to evaluate investment products and develop an investment mindset. It also covers basics such as step-by-step advice on retirement planning, calculating how much retirement income you need, saving money for retirement, and choosing a life insurance policy.
The Open University: Retirement Made Easy. This course, comprised of an introduction, ten modules, a final quiz, and a course roundup, covers various topics, including pensions, divorce and separation, bereavement, and planning for a long retirement. Upon completing the course, you should know how much money you’ll need to save, how pensions work and how to manage your pension income, and how events such as divorce and a spouse’s death might change your retirement picture.
Brigham Young University: Retirement Planning Course. Part of BYU’s set of free personal finance resources available to the public, this course comprises six modules plus an introduction, each of which includes a reading (PDF), a slide presentation, a class summary, a video lecture, assignments, and tools. Developed specifically for a religious audience, this course includes non-secular elements and teachings like “how to bring Christ more into your finances.”
Dana Anspach, Financial Expert: How to Invest for Retirement. Dana Anspach, Founder, and CEO of Sensible Money, LLC, and the former “MoneyOver55” expert for The Balance, offers this free YouTube video class covering how to approach investing your money for retirement. You’ll learn about different approaches to retirement income, including the total return approach, the income-only approach, the guaranteed approach, and the asset-liability approach. The course also addresses topics like adjusting your plans as you go, choosing an annuity, and how retirement planning can go astray.
Make Your Own Course
In addition to ready-made courses, there are tons of great resources about retirement online that aren’t organized into a course format but that you could easily use to put together your own self-styled, self-paced course. Check out the following sites:
CNN Money: Ultimate Guide to Retirement. This site contains a slew of information about everything from saving and investing to annuities and estate planning. Going through each section from start to finish will provide you with more information than many courses offer.
Vanguard: Retirement Plans. Vanguard has a wealth of learning materials to teach you about retirement planning. Check out the age-categorized retirement education resources on Vanguard’s investment site and the lessons section of Vanguard’s retirement-specific site.
Motley Fool: Planning to Retire in 2022: A Complete Guide. Motley Fool’s site includes a lot of solid information on retirement planning, much of which is covered in the article “Retirement Planning: How to Map Out Your Financial Success.” Scroll to the bottom for more good resources.
Whether you create your own “course” out of the many free resources available, follow along on YouTube, or sign up for a more formal course through a university, you’ll set yourself up for retirement success.
This article is intended for general informational and educational purposes only, and should not be construed as financial or tax advice. For more information about whether a reverse mortgage may be right for you, you should consult an independent financial advisor. For tax advice, please consult a tax professional.