Skip to main content

Free online course on certified financial planning

URBANA, IL -- A free, online financial planning course is now open for registration. The course provides an introduction to financial planning, including the benefits of a career in the field.

Financial Planning for Young Adults is being offered by Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. and the University of Illinois. The Massive Open Online Course or MOOC provides an introduction to basic financial planning concepts. It is open to the general public through Coursera, an education platform that partners with universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses free of charge.

For more information about the course and to register, visit

"This course is for people to learn more about how financial planning can impact their lives in a positive way. It is also for people who are interested in the field of financial planning and maybe even thinking about becoming a CFP professional," said University of Illinois associate professor of agricultural economics Nicholas Paulson.

Within each module, students will view a combination of traditional lecture-style videos, along with video vignettes that introduce financial topics for discussion among the course participants. Each of the videos introduces a real-world scenario where financial decisions must be made and financial planning concepts can be applied.

Although the videos were produced with young adults in mind, Paulson believes they will engage students of any age. The videos will help all students in the course think critically and decide how they would resolve the financial situation presented.

The course is divided into seven separate modules, which are each intended to be completed in approximately one week:

1) Setting Financial Goals and Assessing Your Situation

2) Saving Strategies

3) Long-term Savings and Investment

4) Budgeting and Cash Flow Management

5) Risk Management

6) Borrowing and Credit

7) Financial Planning as a Career

Paulson is a co-developer and instructor of the course, along with Dr. Charles R. Chaffin, CFP Board's Director of Academic Programs and Initiatives, and University of Illinois Extension consumer economics educator Kathy Sweedler. The course also includes information about career opportunities in financial planning with advice from CFP professionals across the country.

"Both the University of Illinois faculty and those working in the profession as CFP professionals believe that this course will be a wonderful introduction to a career, as well as a great way for people to learn more about financial planning," Chaffin said. He stressed that the course is not intended to be a replacement for any portion of the education requirements for CFP certification.

The University of Illinois has worked with CFP Board in the past and offers a bachelor's degree in financial planning. Students study finance and economics as they apply to individuals, households, and small businesses in the course of accumulating and using financial resources. All students who graduate with a degree in financial planning from the University of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics are eligible to sit for the CFP certification exam.

"Because financial planning is such a personal topic, students will be encouraged to define their own financial goals and objectives while we discuss concepts and provide tools that they can apply to reach those goals," Sweedler said.

For more about the CFP Board, visit