McGill University campus is seen Tuesday, June 21, 2016 in Montreal. To help Canadians better understand how to manage their personal finances, McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management has collaborated with RBC Future Launch and the Globe and Mail to develop a free online financial literacy course. (Paul Chiasson/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

McGill University offers free online financial literacy course ‘for everybody’

(NOTE: for more information on this course, contact McGill University directly)

With the Christmas shopping season entering the final stretch, Canada’s leading university in partnership with the country’s largest bank and one of the most influential newspapers are offering a free online course to help Canadians with their post-Christmas financial hangover.

The financial literacy course was designed by McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management in collaboration with RBC and the Globe and Mail newspaper.

“Like health and wellness topics, we believe that everyone has a fundamental right to be equipped with the financial knowledge required to navigate daily life and succeed in the long-term,” Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean of McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, said in a statement.

The McGill Personal Finance Essentials course is available in English and French and aims to enhance participants’ knowledge and skills related to their own personal finances, said Benjamin Croitoru, associate professor at Desautels and academic director of the course.

The course consists of eight modules that teach students the very basics of personal finance, Croitoru said.

It tackles such subjects as debt and borrowing, money and budget building, investment, real estate and a bit of investment psychology, Croitoru said.

Successful completion of all the course modules and tests will earn participants an attestation of course completion verifying their personal financial knowledge. (McGill University)

“One thing that you learn when you look at how people actually invest in real life, is that our instincts are not very good for investing,” Croitoru said in a phone interview. “I think it’s a good idea to know a little bit about psychology to be able to anticipate the mistakes that you’re likely to make and to avoid them.”

It takes about three hours to go through the content offered by the course but those who register for the course have to take tests after each module, he said.

“You can only progress to the next module if you’ve passed the test,” Croitoru said. “It’s not like taking a full four-credit course in university but it’s still a significant commitment.”

Successful completion of all the course modules and tests will earn participants an attestation of course completion verifying their personal financial knowledge.

More than 20,600 people have registered for the course since its launch in November and 1,155 have already completed it, Croitoru said.

“That goes beyond our expectations, but personally I really feel that the skills that we’re teaching in this course, everybody can benefit from it,” Croitoru said. “Almost everybody at some point in their life is going to borrow money, everybody has to deal with balancing income and expenses, and almost everybody at some point in their lives invests.”

There are three sessions remaining in 2020.

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