Financial Literacy: Finding Your Way in the Financial Markets

Course No. 5831
Professor Connel Fullenkamp, Ph.D.
Duke University
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88% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 5831
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Course Overview

The financial markets create tremendous opportunities that, for many of us, would otherwise be out of reach. A new home. Your child’s college education. Retirement. Without the ability to borrow and invest, life as we know it simply wouldn’t exist.

Taking full advantage of everything the markets have to offer requires not only becoming familiar with its unique instruments, practices, and risks, but understanding the ways the financial world and your own life are inextricably linked in ways both direct and indirect, visible and obscured.

But with record-breaking highs one minute and economy-rocking lows the next—not to mention arcane rules and ambiguous terminology—it can seem as if there’s no way to feel truly comfortable in this mysterious world. But there is, and it’s more accessible than you might think.

Financial Literacy: Finding Your Way in the Financial Markets is an essential primer on this domain, from its functions, strengths, and possibilities to its weaknesses and vulnerabilities. In 24 eye-opening, plainspoken lectures, award-winning Professor Connel Fullenkamp of Duke University reveals the interconnected workings of the financial markets and how society’s financial strength—and your own—depend on money continuing to move through these channels. You’ll not only gain a new appreciation for the variety of financial products and services available to you, but also for how crucial we as individuals are to the functioning of the entire system.

You’ll clearly see how these markets affect you—and vice versa—any time you’re involved in a financial transaction, whether you’re

  • financing a car;
  • applying for a mortgage;
  • receiving a preapproved credit card offer;
  • participating in your company’s 401K plan; or
  • making a deposit at your local bank.

Introductory in nature but by no means taught at a surface level, this course provides the concepts and tools you need to draw direct connections between headlines made globally and what’s happening to your bottom line locally. By the final lecture, you’ll understand just how interdependent the world’s markets have become; feel newly at ease in the realm of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, derivatives, and credit; and be better able to make informed decisions for your financial future.
Learn the Rules of the Game

To many of us, the financial markets seem to play by their own rules—and those rules make little logical sense. For example, when the unemployment rate rises, the stock market sometimes rises along with it. In a short sale, an asset is sold before it is bought. And in the high-stakes world of mergers and acquisitions, financial transactions are routinely done “on paper,” with massive companies being bought and sold despite no money changing hands. How can this be?

Presuming no prior experience in finance, Financial Literacy unravels these and other riddles as it walks you through the fascinating history of banking, which begins with medieval goldsmiths’ vaults, and the functions of the instruments and institutions that constitute the system as a whole.

Carefully connecting the dots each step of the way, Professor Fullenkamp demystifies industry jargon and explains how businesses, governments, and—primarily—households inject funds into the market, revealing that it’s our money flowing through this labyrinthine network that forms the bedrock of the system.

You’ll start the course with an overview of the six essential jobs the financial markets perform for society and how every financial transaction or product attempts to carry out at least one.

You’ll investigate how the markets

  • transfer resources across time and space, allowing you to buy a home without having the entire purchase price on hand;
  • pool resources and share ownership, making it possible for investors to collaboratively lend money to governments and buy into corporations;
  • discover financial prices, which can have serious consequences if assets are not set at the right level;
  • deal with information problems, thereby mitigating the risks associated with a lack of reliable information about borrowers;
  • clear and settle payments, allowing us to easily purchase items anywhere in the world; and
  • manage risks by providing safety nets with products like insurance.

Along the way, you’ll learn answers to questions you’ve likely pondered, from the reasons hedge funds are permitted to sidestep SEC regulation to what the letter grades used by Standard & Poor’s and other credit rating agencies really mean.

  • How is your credit score calculated?
  • What information do lenders take into consideration when you apply for a loan?
  • Why do some stocks pay dividends while others don’t?
  • What happens to your mortgage after you sign on the dotted line?
  • How do currency exchange rates work, and how do they affect international investments?

Become a More Savvy Financial Consumer

Financial Literacy provides a solid foundation for both would-be investors and those who’ve been participating in this space for years without knowing how all the parts fit into the bigger picture. You’ll find out how stocks get introduced to the market; how U.S. dollars leave the country; and how market regulation actually protects healthy competition. You’ll also learn background on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and mortgage-backed securities, as well as a plethora of practical information, including

  • how to calculate payments on amortizing loans;
  • why index funds are often a great choice for investors; and
  • how to read a company’s balance sheet and income statement.

In addition, these lectures offer a rare opportunity to peek inside hedge funds and the money market— territory typically closed to the average investor—as well as the turf battles that occur between the government’s appointed “referees.” You’ll also see how technology and the recent economic crisis are changing the rules around the world.

In the second half of the course, you’ll investigate which major economic indicators have the biggest impact on the markets, including central banks like the Federal Reserve. While you may regularly hear this enigmatic entity reported on in the media, you may not fully be aware of how the Fed’s monetary policy affects inflation, bank lending, and interest rates. But you will after you complete this course.

Objective Information from a Sought-After Expert

You could work your way through the bookstore’s entire finance section or watch hours of cable TV shows on money, but you’ll never encounter a better resource for this kind of robust, reliable, unbiased information. As both an accomplished educator and a consultant for the International Monetary Fund, Professor Fullenkamp presents each well-informed lecture in an encouraging, engaging manner that leads you to not only comprehend the material, but to get as excited about it as he does.

Add the professor’s outstanding guidance to the many explanatory graphs, animations, and graphics featured in video formats, and Financial Literacy: Finding Your Way in the Financial Markets yields an unparalleled learning experience. You simply won’t find a worthier investment to develop financial fluency.

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24 lectures
 |  Average 29 minutes each
  • 1
    Feeling at Home in the Financial Markets
    Sometimes it’s hard to see how the financial markets are connected to the “real” economy. What do financial markets actually do for us? Start to get a handle on how the financial markets operate through an exploration of the societal functions that financial assets perform and the way they’re linked to real assets through contracts. x
  • 2
    Where the Money Goes
    How much are the financial markets worth? Where does the money come from and where does it go? Learn how the stock market’s value compares with other measures of the economy like America’s national debt and GDP. Next, follow how money flows through the market to understand how trillions of dollars of assets are distributed between businesses, governments, and households. x
  • 3
    Financial Markets Run on Information
    There’s one resource in the financial markets that’s even scarcer than money or time: information. Discover the worst problems of asymmetric information and the way lenders build remedies to mitigate risk into the process of writing and trading financial contracts. Also, see how this information gap can work to your advantage. x
  • 4
    Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
    How can a credit card company preapprove you? How is your credit score calculated? Why do you have to endure a long and drawn-out process to apply for a mortgage? Get answers to these and other questions by taking a close look at the inner workings of credit analysis. x
  • 5
    The Fine Print
    Take some of the fear out of loan contracts by delving into the basic structure of car loans and credit card statements and learning how lenders calculate your monthly charge. Spend time looking at each part of the promissory note, from covenants to enforcement clauses to the security agreement. x
  • 6
    What Is Special about Banks?
    Why does your bank offer free checking? How do banks make money? Discover the advantages banks have in lending to understand why they play such a dominant role in the markets. Learn how banks evolved from goldsmiths’ vaults, how our payment system operates on a clearing house model, and more. x
  • 7
    Billion-Dollar IOUs—Using Bonds to Borrow
    When companies need to borrow enormous sums of money over long periods, they can’t turn to banks, so they issue bonds. Learn what’s involved in issuing these IOUs, the limitations of credit rating agencies that rate bonds, and why the bond market is an increasingly important part of financial markets around the world. x
  • 8
    The Double Identity of Stocks
    Paying dividends isn’t required for stocks. So how do companies issuing stocks repay lenders? And how can stockholders, who pool their resources to share ownership, hold companies to their promise to increase the value of shares? Examine the structure of corporations that issue stock and the potential benefits, rights, and drawbacks inherent with investing in these instruments. x
  • 9
    The Sell Job
    Before companies can get their stocks into the market in an initial public offering, they must register their securities with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which conducts a stringent review. Learn about this process and the system that the financial markets use to sell public and privately held stocks, bonds, and other securities. x
  • 10
    The Mysterious Money Market
    The money market is virtually invisible to most people, yet it forms the financial lifeblood of governments, large banks, and corporations. Differentiate between the money market and the capital market, learn why so many lenders exist, and look closely at three of the most important money market instruments—Treasury bills, commercial paper, and repurchase agreements. x
  • 11
    Think Globally, Lend … Globally
    How do U.S. dollars leave the country? How can companies borrow internationally without having to leave their home country? As you investigate the Eurodollar market and why companies, governments, and individuals choose to borrow and lend globally, see how foreign currencies and exchange rates complicate the process of international investing. x
  • 12
    Trading Securities
    Does the thought of stock trading conjure images of a crowded exchange floor with people yelling “buy!” “sell!” and gesturing wildly? See how technology has changed most securities exchanges around the world (and this popular image) as you learn about the basics of securities trading and how it provides liquidity to the secondary market. x
  • 13
    Returns and Prices in the Secondary Market
    What does it mean when the news reports that the Dow was back above 13,000 or that the 10-year Treasury bond price closed at 92½? Now that you understand how financial instruments are used and the basics of the secondary market, learn how prices are quoted and returns are calculated. x
  • 14
    The Truth about Pricing
    Investors and traders have opinions about what is the right price for the asset they’re trading. But how do they arrive at their values? Compare theories, practical methods, and models that guide market players when pricing assets, including the fundamentals-based approach, the economics-based theory, and the method of comparables, where “like” prices “like.” x
  • 15
    A Tale of Two Funds
    Examine differences between two of the most important types of money management companies or “designated traders”—mutual funds and hedge funds—and contrast the trading strategies they pursue. Learn why index funds are a good investment option, and about the trading technique called a “short sale.” Then consider whether hedge funds have the power to trigger a financial crisis. x
  • 16
    The Market for Corporate Control
    Move on to a market where entire companies are bought and sold, fortunes are made and lost, and yet—frequently—no money changes hands. As you delve into what economists call the market for corporate control, learn what it means to buy and sell corporate control and how mergers, acquisitions, hostile takeovers, and stock swaps operate. x
  • 17
    What Companies Tell the Markets
    From “material information” to CEO compensation packages, which details are publicly held companies required to disclose? Break down what information can be found in the annual and current reports companies file with the SEC, paying particular attention to the importance of the numbers provided on financial balance sheets and income statements. x
  • 18
    What Moves the Markets
    People who can predict market shifts by paying attention to economic indicators have the potential to earn huge profits by buying or selling before everyone else does. But which indicators and price statistics are the most important to follow if you want to understand what’s happening in the financial markets? x
  • 19
    When Central Banks Talk, Markets Listen
    Since the 1950s, central banks such as the U.S. Federal Reserve have become one of the most powerful forces in the financial markets and the global economy. Why are central banks so powerful—and so secretive? How and why do they affect market interest rates so much? Peer inside central banks to find out. x
  • 20
    Interest Rates as Indicators
    Move on to a deeper discussion of how interest rates are connected to each other with a look at benchmark rates such as government bond rates and the controversial LIBOR. Learn how these rates reveal information about the state of the economy, then focus on one of the most important but least understood diagrams in all of finance—the yield curve. x
  • 21
    Risk Management and Insurance
    Even with all the financial tools at our disposal, we can’t completely protect ourselves from risk. Learn about the different types of risks that investors and companies encounter on a daily basis, and the main ways that individuals and companies manage those risks—including the use of financial products such as insurance. x
  • 22
    Mortgages and Securitization
    What happens to your mortgage after you buy a home? Solve this mystery as you investigate the mortgage market and why the securitization process—in the housing market and elsewhere—is attractive for both borrowers and lenders. Learn why mortgage-backed securities exist and how Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac operate. x
  • 23
    The Whys and Hows of Financial Regulation
    Who is in charge of monitoring the financial markets? How are the rules of the “game” enforced? Consider the fundamental reasons that financial institutions require regulation, and learn some of the conflicts that arise between entities charged with this task. Then, see how a cycle of regulation and deregulation began in the 1930s and continued through the financial crisis of 2008 and beyond. x
  • 24
    The Future of Finance
    Big trends are changing the way that financial systems function. Learn what they are, and the opportunities they offer, like peer-to-peer lending. And see why, thanks to these trends, each of us needs to take on much more responsibility for our financial well-being than previous generations did. x

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Your professor

Connel Fullenkamp

About Your Professor

Connel Fullenkamp, Ph.D.
Duke University
Professor Connel Fullenkamp is Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Economics at Duke University. He teaches financial economics courses, such as corporate finance, as well as core courses, such as economic principles. In addition to teaching, he serves as a consultant for the Duke Center for International Development. Prior to joining the Duke faculty in 1999, Professor...
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Reviews

Financial Literacy: Finding Your Way in the Financial Markets is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 42.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course Prof. Fullenkamp is an articulate, thoughtful lecturer, and the course accurately delivers on the promise in the course description: "Introductory in nature but by no means taught at a surface level." The first half of the course is very basic; it is clearly directed to a financial novice, and Prof. Fullenkamp clearly and succinctly describes the basic building blocks of the financial system - the role of banks, credit card companies, the stock market, the bond market, etc. The second half of the course, however, focuses on topics that are a bit more challenging - the money market, the Eurodollar market, pricing theory, hedge funds, economic indicators, central bank policy and operations, interest rate policy, securitization, and financial regulation. I have a relatively high degree of financial sophistication from my work and private investing, but I nonetheless enjoyed the course, particularly the second half. I highly recommend the course, especially to the novice, but also to the more financially sophisticated purchaser who has the patience to hear information the purchaser already knows in order to get context and information about things the purchaser might not know quite as well. I listened to the course and thought audio was entirely satisfactory.
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clear and Insightful Overview I used “overview” in my title, although this course goes much deeper than that implies. “Overview” applies in the sense of covering all the salient aspects of this fairly complex, yet most important subject. I felt I had a decent comprehension of the stock and financial markets before taking this course, but “Financial Literacy” showed me that there is much more to them than meets the eye. Prof. Fullenkamp did an awesome job of presenting the material in a straightforward, comprehensible manner. The material flowed well, and was so well structured that one is lead to the very next question, which he than asks on the listener’s behalf – a most effective technique. Prof. Fullenkamp is very easy to listen to – wonderful cadence, clear pronunciation, with great timing between thoughts – and very personable, too. Anyone who has any investments, or plans to do any investing or saving – which should include all of us – will profit from this Great Course. I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2017-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course and Professor The Professor takes excellent course material and makes it easy to understand and relevant. This is the second course, of similar nature, I have taken that uses this Professor. I hope there is more from him.
Date published: 2017-02-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Want to be more confused about finances? The course's stated intent is increased understanding of financial concepts, terminology, and mechanisms. Instead, after patiently pushing myself through all 24 lectures, I feel more confused than before. The instructor is obviously just reading his lectures, never repeats what are the important points, and constantly introduces new acronyms and economic terminology without taking extra time to completely explain them. I am not a professional educator, but I have been blessed with many great educational experiences in the past. And in NONE of them does the instructor just read out his lectures. I am literate enough to read them myself if that is all there is to it. And please get rid of the canned applause at the end of each lecture. Worse than a bad sit-com on TV. If indeed the applause is real, it must be out of gratitude that the lecture was over. I signed up for this course because i have always felt intimidated by the financial world. Lots of mysterious terms, practices, and ideas. Unfortunately, this course did little to dissuade me from that feeling of intimidation. More mystery, more confusing terms, more buzz words that only economists can understand. This was my first foray into the world of The Great Courses. If I hadn't been reassured by friends and associates of the value in these courses, my negative experience in this course would probably dissuade me form purchasing any more.
Date published: 2016-03-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Perfectly Fine... The course does a pretty good job of connecting a broad macroeconomic perspective with the more personal microeconomic factors that affect us, as households, more directly. It does provide a fairly broad, but I'd also say fairly shallow, overview of what financial markets exist, and how they work. An objective of the course is to make an individual 'more comfortable' with markets. It isn't a trading or investing course; and while it explains the forces that buffet individuals or households, there's not a practical aspect that would help us moderate that buffeting, or, for that matter, make a lot of money. The good professor is engaging, talks well, the material is organized and presented well enough. I'm not sure what a reasonable expectations might be, but I was disappointed in the visual aids and graphics used; there really aren't that many graphs, charts or relevant illustrations. Quite a few images are used, but very few are meaningful. A statement that 'people save for their retirement' might be followed by 2 images of happy older people. A statement that 'financial planning can be challenging' is followed by a stock photo of a perplexed couple staring at a pile of paper documents on a tabletop. It's a course that bridges economics and finance--there must be many opportunities to illustrate trends, relationships and points with meaningful visual aids. There is a definite focus on US markets, but there are many references to world financial market events, and the concepts are presented in a suitably general way, then reference to US instruments and institutions, so that applying one's perspective to other markets should be relatively straightforward. I did find myself wryly amused by what seemed to be a 'pro-business, ‘individual-wary’ perspective at points: at one point, a for-instance develops with a ‘let’s say that half of all consumer borrowers are bad borrowers’--well, sure, that's a pretty high number, but I guess for assumption purposes... Subsequently, an example of ‘asymmetric information’ is a hacker phishing for account information (probably from Nigeria?). It just struck me that there are probably much better, much more pervasive examples of ‘asymmetric information’ within the broad business community: selective disclosure on financial statements, insider trading, etc. Now, let's see... what next?
Date published: 2016-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Despite my skepticism of how much I could learn from this type of course, I decided to give it a try based on many positive reviews. I guess I thought it would be quite fluffy to college educated folks that read financial newspapers and magazine. But I'm glad I gave it a try. I have a decent understanding of these types of things, and this course filled in many holes very nicely. I think this course could be beneficial for anyone but particularly for young people about to start out with loans and credit cards. I especially appreciated the history that explained many of the reasons that things are done the way they are. Highly recommended!
Date published: 2016-01-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I Learned alot but Potential for Improvement Pluses: • The professor opened my eyes to the various, creative, and sometimes complex ways institutions lend and borrow money; The professor explained the various instruments starting with loans and then building up to other vehicles such as bonds, stocks, money markets, foreign exchanges, mutual funds, and mortgage-backed securities • The professor did a good job of illustrating how the financial activities of borrowing, lending, and trading are all interconnected in driving the health of the economy and impacting individuals’ daily and long-term financial needs Minuses: • The professor alternated between spending more time than probably was necessary explaining simple topics to not spending enough time explaining complex topics; What was slightly off-putting was the way he’d ask questions that he guessed we would think to ask, in a way that somewhat came off as him trying to appear down-to earth and a common-man, but then not following through and truly explaining the answers well enough or providing enough examples; There were times when a topic begged for further explanation but he inexplicably just moved on to the next discussion • A few more examples when explaining items like bond prices/yields could’ve made the world of difference in understanding some of the complex topics • The middle lectures were insightful but the beginning and ending lectures were somewhat hard to get through
Date published: 2015-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Introduction to Financial Markets I’ve been involved in the financial markets for close to 2 decades now and was familiar with almost every topic covered in this course. These lectures made me aware that I didn’t understand the mechanics of market operations to the level that professor Fullenkamp was able to explain them. If you are new to the financial markets, this is a great introduction. If you are like me and deal in the financial markets daily, but don’t have a finance degree, I believe you too will learn a lot. The professor is engaging, knowledgeable, and has a way of explaining things in a way that is very straight forward. Other lectures of this kind that I’ve watched outside of the Great Courses are mired in finance double talk and theory that is outside the reality of how markets actually work. Professor Fullenkamp never oversells the theory he is presenting. That’s rare for an academic economist. Bottom line, I loved this course!
Date published: 2015-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Difficult to watch Whoever directed the filming of this course did a very poor job. The professor moves around far too much. It is very annoying and difficult to focus on what he is saying. He's like a moving target
Date published: 2015-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Informative I want to preface this by saying, you need to get the VIDEO course. I myself purchased the video download version and thought it was incredibly helpful, but I cannot see anyone learning from this through pure audio. The professor uses many charts and pictures to help the viewer understand each concept, and it does indeed help. I am a college student who wants to delve further into the financial field, but cannot major in finance, so this course really helped solidify my basic understanding of financial concepts. I would recommend it not only to people who already have a basic understanding of finance, but also to people who come in knowing nothing. At the end of the course you will be able to confidently read and understand news stories and reports on publications like the Financial Times, Barons, and the Wall Street Journal. While it is true that all this information is present for free online, this course presents it in a comprehensive and easy to understand manner.
Date published: 2015-08-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delivers on the promise Excellent course and completely justifies it's name: Financial Literacy. I would recommend it to everyone who wants to learn about our financial system and what really happened in 2008 to start with this course. It provides good foundation to understanding financial market developments, major terms and instruments, participants and regulation. It is not a complete or in depth course of everything you need to know about financial markets but rather broad strokes, hence literacy. Some may find it basic mainly because of the first few chapters that everyone who has a mortgage should know. The rest of the course covers major concepts and engines that help to clarify some misunderstandings about financial mechanisms, government involvement, programs and regulations. Professor is very engaging and articulate. His presentation is straightforward and he is not trying to impress by using financial mambo-jambo terms but rather shows that financial markets can be explained in plain English. I would insist that my daughter (recent college grad) watches/listen to it because it may convince her to start investing into her retirement now. Thank you, Professor.
Date published: 2015-07-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Basic and Boring I've been a customer since 1995 or so. I have listened to dozens of lectures. This was my least favorite. The subject was too basic for anyone who has read the Wall Street Journal with any regularity. I have been reading the WSJ regularly recently, and I had hoped that this lecture series would help me understand some of the dynamics underlying what I read there. It didn't do that. I didn't see the video, so I don't know for sure, but it sounded as though the professor was reading. I listed to the lectures after work on my bus ride home. It's not the first time I fell asleep during a Great Courses lecture, but it is the first time I fell asleep during almost every lecture. (I took this as evidence that the lecturer was reading, if not from a paper, then from a teleprompter--placing emphasis in unusual places as inexperienced speakers often do and never pausing to collect his thoughts.# I read only one other review of this series, but I agree with the comment that the lecturer spends too much time on basic concepts and too little time on more complex concepts. Not that there were many complex concepts. I listened to all 24 courses, hoping that it would get better/deeper. It never did. It's been 25 years since I was in college. Maybe this lecture is at the right level for most recent grads these days. I hope not, but perhaps it is, judging from the 90% of reviewers who recommend the course. #Another disappointment, as I'm afraid I can't really trust those recommendations anymore.# The professor seems like a likeable guy--a little geeky and square--but his frequent attempts at humor were unsuccessful and more annoying than entertaining. I feel bad giving a negative review, particularly since I've never taken the time to review any of the excellent courses I've listened to before. But the only person that I feel bad for is the lecturer, and he seems to have plenty of fans. The thought that I'll probably be written off as a crank is somewhat distressing, because that would mean that in addition to the time and money I wasted on this course, I will have wasted time thinking negative thoughts #which I try to avoid doing) and trying to provide helpful guidance to consumers.
Date published: 2015-05-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not that great I have been a long time Great Courses customer and I feel like this is the first course that really missed the mark for me. I feel like this is a hard subject to tackle without any kind of visual presentation. Lots of numbers are thrown around, references to graphs, etc... I really wish it was emphasized that this was a video lecture at the time of purchase. I'm not even sure why just the audio would be available for a graph-heavy subject like this (I agree I should have known better). With that said, I tried my best to follow the lectures without a visual aid and still felt like I got most of it. As another reviewer said, most of the content of the lecture is very basic. With that said, I feel like the professor possibly tried to fit too much into the series. Much emphasis was spent on very easy concepts and later in the series more challenging concepts were simply glossed over with a dizzying array of terms and numbers that left the student feeling a bit left out as to what was going on. I feel like the back half of the series was just crammed in to paint the big picture. I would have almost preferred that the lectures stayed high-level and basic throughout the whole series with a separate lecture series that expounded on most of the more complex topics found in the second half.
Date published: 2015-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Must Course for Everybody This is a must course for everybody. All of us have financial interactions in our everyday life including credit cards, car loans, mortgages, investments, or pensions. However, like medicine, engineering, sports and other major activities, the world of financial has its own set of principles and terminology. To fully understand the financial world and our interactions with it, a good understanding of the basic principles and terminology is required. This course does an excellent job of providing that information. Professor Fullenkamp does a very good job of explaining these basic principles and terminology and how it relates to our daily lives especially for items such as credit cards, car loans, insurance, mortgages, etc. I have recommend this course and especially recommend this course before taking any of the other finance related courses offered by The Great Courses.
Date published: 2015-02-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Overview, Great Professor This course provides a solid, if necessarily general, overview of the various financial markets that underpin the global economy. It's a great introduction to the foundations of finance for those just starting out, but individuals with experience should also find something to appreciate in this focused overview. I found the lectures on the function of money markets to be particularly informative, even as someone with experience. The series is current as of 2013 and contains insightful references to financial events of the recent past. My recommendation, however, is due mainly to the talents of the professor himself. I have listened to many of The Great Course lecturers, and can confidently say Professor Fullenkamp is one of the best presenters among them. He possesses the unique talent of being both an enthusiastic authority on the subject at hand, while also maintaining a relaxed and conversational style, which helps foster a deeper interest in the listener and the desire for further study. His other course, Understanding Investments, is also well done. Though that series is much more specific to the concerns and strategies of individual investment, and less of a broad overview of the markets themselves.
Date published: 2015-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Finally got it Thanks for finally letting me understand what financial markets are about. Even with a university degree in Economics, these concepts have been blurred for me. A slight problem with a few of the CDs in my CD players, otherwise perfect.
Date published: 2015-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from educator I am new for finance, did not understand what anything meant, so this course gives you all the definitions about mutual funds, IPO, and many more, so I feel a little bit more educated. The Professor is a good teacher.
Date published: 2015-02-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Very Basic I should first note, I only went through half of the course and that I've studied business. This course is truly intended for those seeking financial "literacy". If you've taken finance, accounting or market based classes, you've probably learned and seen much of this material. i only went through half of the material and felt like this course, for me, was a waste of my time. The great courses has the best return policy you could hope for, so when I called and spoke to a rep they gave me all the return information. My humble opinion is this is meant for high school students (at least in the United States because we rarely teach finance (which is astounding) and for the many adults striving to get a grasp on financial literacy. It could be utilized at a younger level depending on the student.
Date published: 2014-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great review I knew much of this material, but I was grateful for the excellent and very clear review. This is a great preparation for the two more complicated investment courses offered by the Teaching Company. The professor has a very pleasant voice, and his enthusiasm for his material is delightful. If you want to prepare yourself to invest, take this course first! You'll learn about the various investment tools, the role of banks and central banks, what interest rates mean, how mortgages work, and the role and mechanisms of financial regulation. Don't miss it!
Date published: 2014-12-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Financial Literacy: Finding Your Way in the Financ Great course for beginners who are just starting in the Financial ecosystem. The course content has been very carefully selected with lot of thought process and the presentation by the Professor was FANTABULOUS with real world examples. I would definetly recommend this course for any Sophomore who is starting in complex Financial ecosystem. After listening to this course, I also bought other courses taught by this Professor. Please keep up the good work you are doing. Thumbs up to GREAT COURSES and the Professor. Best wishes,
Date published: 2014-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This course is first-rate. The speaker has created content that is both simple and comprehensive, and his delivery is very easy to listen to--a big factor in how effective a course is. I'm a lawyer but don't have much of a financial background, and the course has been a very helpful introduction to the financial markets. I've been listening in the car, and the program works well without video. The print materials are well designed and help reinforce each lecture. The speaker has another course, about understanding investments, and that's next on my list!
Date published: 2014-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent overview of a difficult topic This was a nice overview. It is not meant to replace a finance course where one learns by performing calculations, but gives one enough knowledge to hold a conversation or read the Wall Street Journal. Highlights include an explanation of how company stock prices remain related to company production, a nice description of the recent financial housing crisis, and interest rates used in the European markets. The professor is knowledgable, easy to listen to and enthusiastic about the subject. This is a good course to start one's financial literacy, and for those who have some experience already, to fill in some inevitable gaps.
Date published: 2014-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Basic finance you never get in school This is a basic, yet comprehensive finance course that one never gets in school unless one pursues a business degree. Even though I had a finance course in graduate business school, it did not cover many of the issues such as securitization of mortgages, flow of funds between and among financial institutions, how interest rates are created and fluctuate, and how bond yields change under varying economic conditions. This is a course for anyone who wants to maximize their financial future through rational selection of debt and equity instruments. Although the course is taught at a university level, it is filled with common sense.
Date published: 2014-06-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from interesting and simple way to understand money I got this course because I invest money but never really understood EXACTLY what the terms of my mortgage, credit cards, FICO score, or mutual funds meant. This course explains the basics of how financial markets work, from banks to financial contracts to lenders. Dr. Fullenkamp is a great lecturer and holds my attention and always seems to know when to ask the "stupid" question that I would have asked, and then answers it. In addition, he constantly ties concepts from previous classes to the current class so I actually remember stuff. Today I was reading about the Supreme Court potentially hearing the Tibbles case and I understood what the case was about (the reporter, maybe not as much). I highly recommend this course even if you think you know a lot about finance. A friend of mine who is a CEO and well versed in the financial markets learned some new things too.
Date published: 2014-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Great Courses course yet I've listened to The Great Courses' courses for years and this is my all-time favorite. The professor makes the topic enjoyable and accessible to people of all knowledge levels, and his manner is thoroughly engaging. It's practical information we all can really use in our day-to-day lives, and covers not only topics like banking, bonds, securitization, and the like, but why banks require so much paperwork before they'll grant a mortgage loan and the aspects about the borrower that they consider during the process. I'm currently listening to it a second time and then plan to look up other courses by this professor.
Date published: 2014-03-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Clear, Concise and Timely Topics This was an excellent course with excellent material, topics, and a very clear presentation. The topics are extremely timely, he builds upon prior lectures, and is very comprehensive. I did find, however, that the professor is extremely animated to the point of distraction yet in the interest of making a point. This took my attention away from content in some points and was quite bothersome. On the other hand, he appears extremely knowledgable and is able to explain the concepts in a very basic but certainly not condescending way. I will listen to this course a second time it's packed with so much information.
Date published: 2014-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Finance for Dummies Unless you work in the banking industry, are a financial planner or a fund manager, you need to take this course. With one or two exceptions (mostly on the topics of securities), I found something of value in every single lecture from Dr. Fullencamp. An engaging presenter, he makes the mundane interesting and he doesn't overwhelm the viewer with a lot of charts, graphs, or visual aids. This pairing of this course and another of my favorites, "Thinking Like an Economist" by Randall Bartlett would make excellent topical bookends. Probably the biggest and best take away I got from this course is that we are and will be increasingly responsible for our own fiscal security. The final lecture, The Future of Finance, sounds both a warning and an opportunity. This is stuff they should teach in high school instead of the culturally-based pablum that totally unprepares our young people for the real world. I highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2014-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I was waiting for course like this Schools are lacking in teaching financial literacy to our children. This will do. Thank you professor.
Date published: 2013-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Splendid Course If you're already a financial whiz-kid, pass on this one. For the other 99% of us, this course is a must if we are to survive and hopefully prosper financially. The Professor is great -- he explains concepts clearly, and since he has nothing to sell you, is refreshingly forthright. A really good course. Thumbs up.
Date published: 2013-10-07
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