Money Management Skills

Course No. 5231
Professor Michael Finke,
Texas Tech University
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4.5 out of 5
47 Reviews
87% of reviewers would recommend this product
Course No. 5231
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What Will You Learn?

  • Learn how to properly use money management tools, including mutual funds, stocks, and bonds.
  • Explore the pros and cons of different major investments, including college, retirement, and home ownership.
  • Build a comprehensive financial plan that will help you achieve your unique financial goals.

Course Overview

Money management can be intimidating, but the good news is that the newest research into the human brain can help us understand why we make mistakes and how we can create an effective plan to meet our financial goals. Learning to navigate complex financial markets and create good financial habits is essential to the all-important goal of gaining control over our financial future.

Money management requires knowledge of financial products, investment and risk theory, and essential tax rules. But it also requires an understanding of how we as fallible humans make mistakes. These lectures will go beyond the advice of a traditional money management course and delve into the emerging science of financial decision-making. With this course, you’ll learn how to overcome your brain’s programming and avoid following your emotions down the wrong financial path.

The goal of money management is to maximize our happiness at every stage of our lives. Whether you are a novice investor or a seasoned pro, a young person getting started in life or a Baby Boomer contemplating retirement, Money Management Skills is an excellent primer for creating financial security. Taught by financial expert and Texas Tech University professor Michael Finke, these 12 practical lectures will boost your confidence around money management. This is not a course for big investors looking for the next hot stock. Rather, these lectures are for regular people who want to make sound financial decisions without obsessing over the daily changes in the market.

For most of us, a few basic principles of money management can help us get our financial houses in order, answering such questions as:

  • What are the optimal uses of credit and debt?
  • Is home ownership actually a good investment?
  • How much insurance do I really need?
  • Where should I invest my money?
  • What should I do to prepare for retirement?

Money Management Skills takes you on a tour of some of the most widely available financial products, from mutual funds to life insurance to college savings accounts. Professor Finke offers evidence-based guidance for building a financial strategy using these products. When you complete the course, you will have all the important information you need to manage your finances—as well as being aware of psychological pitfalls to avoid.

Manage Money for Every Stage of Your Life

After reviewing the psychology of decision-making—and how our instincts often steer us wrong when it comes to loss aversion, risk tolerance, and information overload—Professor Finke explains the “life cycle theory” of financial planning. This eye-opening theory offers a framework for making financial decisions based on the different stages of your life, and it will give you an entirely new perspective on money management.

The goal is simple: to get the most out of your money across time. There is a time in all of our lives where we should be borrowing more and saving less, and a time when we should be saving more and borrowing less. As he teases out the implications of this framework, Professor Finke introduces you to the range of financial products and tools at your disposal, including:

  • liquid assets,
  • stocks and bonds,
  • mutual funds,
  • credit,
  • mortgages,
  • insurance, and
  • estate planning.

You’ll receive a comprehensive overview of these options, as well as general guidance about the principles of taxation, building a credit history, analyzing your tolerance for risk, choosing a retirement age, and much more. Professor Finke ties it all together with the most up-to-date financial data and trends.

Create Your Long-Term Financial Plan

The tricky thing about financial management is that our instincts are often unreliable. Scientific evidence suggests that humans are hard-wired to make emotional decisions that prevent us from making good decisions under stress. For instance, we might be tempted to sell stock when the market falls, or we might overestimate certain risks while ignoring greater threats. The key to sound money management is to develop patience and discipline for the long haul.

Money Management Skills gives you a rational blueprint for setting financial goals, managing debt responsibly, setting aside money for retirement, taking advantage of tax benefits, navigating end-of-life issues, and much more. You’ll discover a host of basic rules of thumb, such as:

  • Education is one of the most valuable investments you can make for yourself or your children.
  • Choose passive, low-expense mutual or index funds for long-term investing, and be sure to diversify your portfolio.
  • Term life insurance is a great value, but depending on your tolerance for risk, comprehensive auto insurance might not be such a good deal.
  • Retiring just a few years later can leave you with significantly more money to spend annually during your retirement.

While everyone’s life is different, the information and sound advice in this course will empower you to create your own financial plan to reach your goals. Professor Finke provides a worry-free approach to handling all aspects of money management.

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12 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    Understanding Your Financial Brain
    Begin your course with an examination of the brain to explore the tension between conscious decision-making and the automatic emotional response of our limbic systems. This tension affects many of our approaches to financial management, including our innate aversion to loss, our tolerance of risk, and our investment confidence. x
  • 2
    Managing Money with Life Cycle Theory
    In this lecture, you will reconsider your entire approach to your finances. Life cycle theory is a framework for making financial decisions at different stages in your life, and it offers sound guidance for saving, borrowing, and investing across time. In other words, it's about making sure you get the most out of your money from young adulthood through retirement. x
  • 3
    Basic Investing: Keep It Simple
    You don't have to be a financial guru to make wise investment choices. In fact, as you will learn in this lecture, a few basic rules of thumb are all most of us need to make solid financial choices. Review the basics of investment and risk, the importance of diversification, and a simple theory for building a profitable investment portfolio. x
  • 4
    The Key Financial Instruments
    Tour the range of investment options, from liquid assets such as cash and checking accounts to long-term assets such as mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. See what fees and returns you can expect from each type of instrument - and what tax obligations you may incur. Then build a strategy of investment for the long haul. x
  • 5
    How to Use Credit Optimally
    Debt can be intimidating, but when used appropriately, it is a powerful tool. Psychology plays a key role when we take on debt, so it is important to recognize bad habits such as impulsiveness. After getting an overview of credit and credit history, you'll survey the variety of loans available, from credit cards to auto loans to mortgages. x
  • 6
    Investing in Education
    Most economists would agree that education offers one of the highest returns of any investment; however, paying for college often involves taking on student loans. Whether you're a high school student or a parent preparing to pay for your child's tuition, learn the key risks of student loans, and see what tax advantages you might apply toward a college education. x
  • 7
    The Economics of Home Ownership
    After education, home ownership might be the most important financial decision we make in our lifetimes. Is home ownership really a great investment? When should you buy a house versus renting? Examine these questions as well as the basics of obtaining a mortgage. Key considerations include types of loan, mortgage insurance, points, and taxes. x
  • 8
    Managing Risk with Insurance
    Insurance is really about risk management." The world abounds with perils, and insurance is about estimating the probability of a loss and weighing the cost of insurance versus potential out-of-pocket expenses. Fortunately, some elementary principles help guide you toward critical coverage and help you avoid less beneficial policies." x
  • 9
    Essential Tax Principles
    No discussion of finances can evade the topic of taxes. In this lecture, Professor Finke provides a clear and concise overview of the U.S. income tax system: how our income is taxed, as well as the myriad credits and deductions that are available. His discussion also includes payroll and state taxes, as well as other taxes the average American pays. x
  • 10
    Saving for Retirement
    When should you retire? And how do you save enough to ensure that you're financially covered for the future? This lecture demystifies the retirement savings process with continuing guidance from the life cycle theory of managing money. Explore the different investment options at your disposal - including 401(k)s, IRAs, and annuities - and build a strategy for retirement. x
  • 11
    Fundamentals of Estate Planning
    The goal of estate planning is to prepare your financial affairs to save your relatives from a confusing mess of assets, liabilities, and property transfers after you've passed. Here you'll discover a roadmap for sorting out your affairs, setting up trusts for your assets, and creating a plan for your end-of-life care options. x
  • 12
    Putting Your Financial Plan Together
    Wrap up the course by building a solid and realistic financial plan. You'll learn how to set up a cash-flow statement, prepare a budget for future expenditures, and make a balance sheet for your estate planning process. Then, apply the fundamentals of this course to achieving your financial goals. x

Lecture Titles

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What's Included

What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Instant Video Includes:
  • Download 12 video lectures to your computer or mobile app
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 12 lectures on 2 DVDs
  • 104-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 104-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

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Your professor

Michael  Finke

About Your Professor

Michael Finke
Texas Tech University
Professor Michael Finke is a Professor of Personal Financial Planning and Director of the Retirement Planning and Living Consortium at Texas Tech University, where he leads the doctoral program—considered the premier academic program in financial planning. He has doctoral degrees in Consumer Science from The Ohio State University and in Finance from the University of Missouri. A longtime advocate for ethical...
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Reviews

Money Management Skills is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 47.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Matches My Experience My late husband was a CPA, CFO. My brother-in-law is a financial planner/stock broker. I am a theatre/music person. I listened to this course for a better grasp of handling my estate and found that I recognized much of what was taught because of life experience with my husband. The material, which is not my favorite topic--that's why I only rated the content 4 stars, was presented in an interesting manner, and I especially was intrigued by the teacher's lifetime financial strategy suggestions. I appreciated the confirmation that I'd been living by sound financial principles, and am anxious to have my children listen to the lectures as well. I believe the information presented will enable them to make better financial choices for their futures. I can vouch for the success that comes from following the sound financial principles presented in this course.
Date published: 2017-09-15
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Starts with silly premise He begins by expounding the idea that our spending should be flat throughout or life. Borrow when young, repay & invest during prime years, then draw down savings in old age. Crazy. Some sections are crammed with ideas that aren't covered in any depth and others vere into trivia that virtually everyone knows.
Date published: 2017-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent advice on spending over a lifetime The concept of smoothing your spending over the course of your life. Allows you to be able to enjoy your entire life not just a specific period like retirement. The course also focuses on keeping investing simple which lowers fees and minimizes risk. The professor was informative and able to communicate his message in a positive and succinct manner.
Date published: 2017-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Road map for my grandson's financial future! I purchased this for my grandson's 18th birthday to provide a road map for his financial future. I look forward to going through the course with him to make sure he stays on the right financial road!
Date published: 2017-03-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great overview course I've listened to this course a couple of times and love it. I mostly listen while I drive to work so sometimes it's helpful to listen more than once. I'm not a financial person, not especially trained in managing finances. I'm in charge of my own life and savings however, so this course I found very instructive. I'd imagine people with financial backgrounds would say it's too simplistic, but that's just the level I needed to start with. if you're looking for an overview type of course, this is terrific. Easy to understand, good examples given from the professor's own life and teachings with his students, and and very helpful. Thank you Great Courses for another winner.
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Money Management Skills This course is superb. I should have reviewed it 30 years ago. Unbiased and many excellentpointers
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everyone can learn something from this Everyone, regardless of education level can learn something from this course.
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from very valuable and easy to understand Great presentation of deep and important information.
Date published: 2016-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Starting Over I wish I had this 30 years ago. You hear that time and time again. But it rings true today for me. I'm really learning a lot and getting motivated to turn around my financial habbits and lifestyle. The information presented has been a real help to get me started and organized in the right direction. I am making the plans needed for success, and am trying to stay out of the way of this achievement. I'm running low on time now that I'm in my 50's and still have credit card habbits that are so damaging to my future. Cut em up and put em away.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Overall good I got this course to preview it to decide whether it would be good for my 28 and 32-year old daughters. It was pretty comprehensive, and I did learn a few things. I suspect that someone who doesn't have a good foundation in financial matters could easily become overwhelmed by this course, but if someone can stick it out they will learn a lot. My biggest complaint relates to Chapter 2. The idea of distributing spending across uniformly across a lifetime is presented. This absolutely makes no sense to me. He says that if one predicts that lifetime earnings will average X, then at a young age one should borrow so as to spend X per year--and then in later years when earnings are higher one should pay back the loan. This doesn't take into account uncertainty and interest rates. And surely it doesn't make sense for a 20 year old who predicts a $150,000 income later in life to borrow so as to spend that much now!! In the discussions on retirement planning, there is virtually no discussion of uncertainty.
Date published: 2016-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great overview course I wish I'd known some of this a decade or two ago. On the other hand I've done okay with my retirement savings, and this course helped to affirm that. Also this course helped provide some pointers for future asset management. As I approach retirement, I need to shift my thinking, and this course helps with that. The professors style is direct and clear, perfect for a non-economist, non-finance geek like me. I understand some other reviewers critique that it's too simple, but for me, it was a perfect overview. I hate going to see my finance guy and having no clue what he's talking about. Now I'll know.
Date published: 2016-08-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Course If you desire to understand money management this course for you.
Date published: 2016-07-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Needs improvement This course provides a quick introduction to basic information that everyone should know. However, it very much needs improvement. It especially needs many more graphics. As it stands, there's no point to purchasing a DVD. An audio recording will do. Following are some suggestions for a much-needed revision. 1. Add graphics, such as plots, phrases summarizing what's said, calculations. 2. Definitions of terminology, especially terms from microeconomics such as present value. 3. A live audience. The pacing between one camera and another is highly artificial. 4. Frequent changes in the setting and the professor's clothing. 5. Some mention of the effects of inflation. While very low now, that will change.
Date published: 2016-06-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Depends on the Audience Whether you will enjoy this course, or benefit from it, depends on how much you already know about financial management. The course assumes that the listener has little or no financial background and also assumes the listener has a moderate to low income. That being said, the course has a lot of helpful and intelligent advice. I appreciate that the professor often cited studies to back his assertions about the best way to tackle certain money management issues. I wish the Great Courses made a similar course aimed at high school students or young adults.
Date published: 2016-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good fundamentals This course provided me with useful tips and reflections on how to improve my money management. It contains a variety of different topics presented in a way which is both professional and easy to understand. I wish it were less US-centered, because many parts of different lessons are only relevant to people in the US and provide little information to others. Overall, thanks to this course I I feel better empowered to manage money in a more rational and less random way, so I definitely recommend it to anybody who has no prior (or very little) financial knowledge.
Date published: 2016-02-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from WORTH YOUR MONEY Highly professional course, very understandable, helpful for decisions in your investment, the teacher very knowledgeable, i would recommend this course to everyone that have not decided on any investment and is ready to do it
Date published: 2016-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This is an excellent, although brief, course. The focus is on the psychology of human decision making and this is an extremely important topic. Of course this course would be most valuable for someone in their twenties before purchasing a house. There is also value for anyone at almost any age. if you are retired then this is probably only of value in sharing and discussing with younger family members. Brief, but it accomplishes it's mission and should leave anyone (that is open minded) better prepared to manage their own finances. Don't expect any detailed stock investment tips but some very good basics are covered.
Date published: 2015-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Introduction to an Essential Life Skill I appreciated this course due to its thorough coverage of the basics of personal finance and its quick pacing. I watched this course with my 20-something daughter as she prepares to start on her own so the course served as a review for me (35 years in corporate finance) and an introduction for her. Understanding Your Financial Brain (Lecture 1) is outstanding. The imagery of the elephant and rider is one i refer to often in explaining and questioning my own financial behaviors. The professor presents the material clearly and the scope of the course is practical and thorough. Life Cycle Theory (Lecture 2) and how financial strategies can and should change as we age resonated with my daughter as she quickly understood the importance of starting to invest for retirement in her 20s (Yea!!) as she today prepares to pay the future version of herself in retirement. I also appreciate the intelligence of the content and the absence of any religious dogma. I personally believe my daughter and son are best served when they know how to intelligently handle debt rather than NO DEBT NO DEBT NO DEBT. I also like the fact that unlike many electronic finance talking heads you see these days - Dr Finke isn't selling anything - not trying to convince you of a particular point of view - just a simple presentation of theory (labeled clearly as theory) and fact. The course booklet contains a strong summary of the points covered in each lecture. I appreciate being able to preview and then review the main points of content. Learning sound financial behaviors is essential to life success. My thanks to the The Great Courses and to Dr. FInke for an outstanding contribution to building these skills.
Date published: 2015-07-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Starter Material This is an excellent start to those just learning about financial matters. Although almost all financial books and courses will give you the same advice. In this course no direct investment advice as to what products to buy or organizations to call, as is best. What is given is a broad knowledge and tips on financial planning and budgeting. How to plan for all stages of life and considerations you need to think about with all financial decisions both now and in the future. I would consider recommending this course to someone who does not wish to sit through a semester of classes when you can learn at your own pace and not have to worry about passing exams or taking notes.
Date published: 2015-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent intro to financial planning I bought this course to help prepare for the Dantes (DSST) exam for college credit in Personal Financing. It is an excellent prep tool for the exam. The Professor does a nice job presenting the information, breaking down money management concepts into simple (but detailed) language nearly anyone can understand. Bravo. If you need a foundation for planning your retirement, buying a house, paying for your education or just about any other major life event; having the information presented by this course will better prepare you for making IMPORTANT money decisions.
Date published: 2015-04-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Exactly as described This course was presented as an overview on money management skills and that is exactly what it was. Though I wished for more detain in certain subjects, most provided just the right amount of specifics. It is a great course for those with little knowledge of factors necessary to grow and protect your assets. The professor kept it interesting and kept it moving. I would also highly recommend any course presented by the late Dr. Rufus Fears. He was an exciting and entertaining lecturer on many aspects of History.
Date published: 2015-03-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Advice for Family Finance I wish I had the benefit of this advice when I was 25. The suggestions on investments and insurance are spot on with my experience over the last 35 years. I would have been in a much better position as I now approach retirement if I had this advice at the beginning of my career. I think the advice is so usefull I plan to forward it to my three grown children. If they take this advice now, they will be well positioned to manage their finances over their careers. Program very well-done and useful.
Date published: 2015-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very informative I enjoyed the course, I feel more confident to start investing and saving now.
Date published: 2015-03-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great checklist The course is comprehensive and functions as a great financial checklist
Date published: 2015-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellant course Bought the set. He started basic in each of the topics covered and grew my knowledge.
Date published: 2015-01-20
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Hi or Lo Level, the Prof can't decide This course disappoints. After enjoying so many Great Courses, I ran to this one without listening to it first. I even bought one for each of my four college grad 20-something daughters for the holidays. I figured it would be great for them to listen to on commutes as they get started in different cities/careers. As I listened deeper into the first three lectures, it became clear the prof can't decide whether this is an upper level or an entry level course. I bought it as an entry level, but it is clearly over the head of the average listener. It is fine for me as I am a long time investor. But for my daughters who didn't study finance and econ, it is definitely NOT. The prof speaks in his first three lectures at a higher level, using words and phrases without explaining them much --- and then "later" promises to define some basic terms, but doesn't in that same lecture. I write and speak for a living, as a lawyer and grad school adjunct prof, and a CARDINAL rule of introducing terms is to define them as you go -- not to use the word to make a point and suggest you'll define it later. You lose the point doing that, and this the prof does in the first three lectures with some regularity. So if you want an entry level trainer course for those starting out, this isn't a good one. If you want a higher level lecture, this might be way to start, but then again it might not. Like the prof, I can't decide....
Date published: 2015-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from a practical course This course gives excellent financial advise to the demographic that watches Great Courses. Giving specific examples, the lecturer has a comfortable and professional approach to finances.
Date published: 2015-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Moneyt Management This is a practical course for money management and has real answers on how to invest in a real world situation. This seems relevant for one near retirement or one just starting to invest.
Date published: 2015-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Clarifying the muddy waters of money matters I don't know why it should be made so confusing to save money when it's so darned easy to spend it. That's why I ordered this course on Monday Management Skills. I enjoyed watching it over the long holiday and it cleared up a lot of confusion in my mind about when to save, how much to save and why. It's easy to understand and he covers all aspects of money management exceedingly well. Highly recommend it to anyone who wants to insure their financial stability.
Date published: 2015-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from You'll wish you heard this at 21 From looking at the lecture titles, you could be forgiven for skipping this course and assuming you already know everything. But chances are, you would be missing out on some important information. It may sound generic, but there are several tidbits of useful information which are timeless and not related to the stock market, although he does incorporate the recent stock market crash. He offers useful information for every stage of life, so it would pay to revisit the course once one nears retirement. Some examples of his advice, which he gives supporting evidence for: 1. stick with term life insurance over whole life products and invest the difference. 2. invest in a low expense ratio, diversified ETF or index fund which mirrors the stock market rather than buying individual stocks 3. stay away from variable annuities, but you can consider fixed annuities 4. max out employer retirement accounts and matching contributions 5. retain as much risk as you can as a means of wealth creation, particularly when it comes to purchasing insurance for smaller products. 6. invest in an umbrella insurance policy that covers liability up to $1 million for home and auto He also gives useful information on taxes, estates/will planning, credit, home ownership, and education investments. He also goes into the benefits and drawbacks of a financial advisor, which may not be necessary if you follow all of his advice. Suffice it to say, all of it is practical and worth listening to with an open mind. The professor explains concepts clearly and logically, and I can gladly recommend it to anyone interested in financial planning.
Date published: 2015-01-12
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