Your first step in choosing a personal financial management course should be to fully understand your need for such a course. If you are taking a course simply out of interest or because you want to improve your ability to wisely invest your money, your considerations are very different from those who are facing severe financial problems or who are required to complete a financial management course due to bankruptcy. Investigate both the course provider as well as the course’s instructor before enrolling. You should also ask to see a copy of the course syllabus, as this can give you a good understanding of what subjects will be addressed in the course.
If your goal in taking a personal financial management course is to improve your budgeting skills or to learn how to invest your money, you may be able to find a pertinent course through a community college or adult education program. Another option is to find out if such courses are available through your workplace, such a through the investment firm that manages your pension or retirement plans. Some well-known personal finance authors and speakers also offer classes. If you encounter a financial expert who offers advice that resonates with you, you may want to consider enrolling in any classes that he or she offers. Of course, it is always important to evaluate the credentials of any school or individual that offers a personal finance course and to enroll only in programs taught by someone who has solid academic and professional credentials in the area of personal finance.
On the other hand, if you are coping with serious debt issues and need help in getting them resolved, you may want to consider a personal financial management course offered by a credit counseling service. Such a course is typically targeted toward people who are dealing with debt and and spending problems and may be better suited to your needs than a class in investment strategies. These courses can sometimes be completed online, making them convenient if you work full-time or must take care of family members.
In the United States, individuals who file for bankruptcy are required by federal law to complete a personal financial management course. If you are in bankruptcy proceedings, you should request a list of approved education providers from the United States Trustee or, if you live in Alabama or North Carolina, the bankruptcy administrator in your state. You can’t get a discharge without completing an approved course, and it is very important that you verify that the course is approved for satisfying bankruptcy requirements.