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Last updated:

May 31, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


The Open University has joined forces with MoneySavingExpert (MSE) to produce this new course to give you the skills and knowledge to master your finances. The course was written by The OU, with MSE providing support and guidance.

Packed with videos, audios, quizzes and activities, the course covers all the key aspects of personal finance in six sessions of study that each take around two hours to complete.

The course starts by looking at how to be savvy when spending money and at the behavioural and marketing pressures that try to influence what consumers buy.

It then looks at budgeting and the impact of tax on household finances.

Borrowing money is something virtually all households are familiar with but it can cause financial problems. The course explains how to borrow money sensibly if necessary, whether it’s a loan to buy a car or a mortgage to buy your home.

Do you want to save or invest money? The course looks at simple savings accounts but also investments such as shares, commodities or property. It explains what is involved and the risks you expose yourself to as you look for a higher return on your money.

The course finishes by getting to grips with the complexities of pensions. It will help you to think about your options when retiring, such as how much your state pension will amount to, supplementing this with an occupational or personal pension, and what you can do if your pension provision falls short of what you need.

Enrolling on the course will give you the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge – this, together with the OpenLearn statement of participation, constitute the qualification Martin Lewis refers to in the video. Badges are not accredited by The Open University but they're a great way to demonstrate your interest in the subject and commitment to your career, and to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

Once you are signed in, you can manage your digital badges online from My OpenLearn. In addition, you can download and print your OpenLearn statement of participation – which also displays your Open University badge.

This course is endorsed by the CPD Standards Office .  It can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development but is not accredited learning. We are unable to provide formal learner verification services for participation in our open online courses, which are provided freely by The Open University as self-directed CPD.

The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations for the course before you begin, in our optional start-of-course survey . Once you complete the course we would also value your feedback and suggestions for future improvement, in our optional end-of-course survey . Participation will be completely confidential and we will not pass on your details to others.

Earn this free Open University digital badge if you complete this course! The badge can be displayed, shared and downloaded as a marker of your achievement. The badge is awarded for completing the course and passing the quizzes.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • budget effectively and know how to make good spending decisions
  • understand how income is taxed
  • understand how and when to borrow money responsibly
  • understand savings and investment products – including their different risks
  • plan for retirement and know what to do if a projected pension is insufficient.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction and guidance 00:25:00
  • What is a badged course? 00:15:00
  • How to get a badge 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:20:00
    • What is your financial personality? 00:25:00
    • The social influences on spending 00:10:00
    • Your habits could impair your spending choices 00:05:00
    • The preference for bringing forward financial rewards and for delaying outlays 00:10:00
    • The preference for simplicity over best value 00:10:00
    • Not evaluating the evidence properly when buying things 00:10:00
    • Putting off the decision can be a (bad) decision 00:10:00
    • Your personality can seriously affect your spending 00:10:00
    • Understanding the marketing forces that can affect our spending 00:15:00
    • A decision-making model to take control of spending decisions 00:10:00
    • Half-time quiz 00:03:00
    • Why do we buy insurance? 00:30:00
    • Applying Steps 1 and 2 of the decision-making model to insurance 00:15:00
    • Applying Steps 3 and 4 of the decision-making model to insurance 00:20:00
    • Mobile phones and insurance 00:12:00
    • Shopping online 00:15:00
    • Being a smarter online shopper 00:20:00
    • End-of-session quiz 00:03:00
    • Summary of Session 1 00:20:00
    • Introduction 00:20:00
    • Income and taxation 00:15:00
    • Understanding income tax 00:25:00
    • National Insurance Contributions (NICs) 00:20:00
    • Half-time quiz 00:30:00
    • Understanding tax codes 00:20:00
    • Do I need to make income tax returns? 00:15:00
    • Why do I need to budget? 00:10:00
    • The income side of the budget 00:15:00
    • Turning to the spending side of the budget 00:30:00
    • Building your budget 00:20:00
    • Your own budget 00:45:00
    • Trimming your spending 00:20:00
    • End-of-session quiz 00:03:00
    • Summary of Session 2 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:20:00
    • The boom of borrowing in the UK 00:20:00
    • Good debt vs bad debt 00:20:00
    • Credit reference agencies and your credit history 00:15:00
    • How your credit history is compiled 00:20:00
    • How to boost your credit worthiness 00:20:00
    • Good tips to help your credit worthiness 00:10:00
    • Half-time quiz 00:03:00
    • Who are the lenders? 00:10:00
    • The debt supermarket: get to know the products 00:30:00
    • How much does it cost to borrow money? 00:15:00
    • Annual Percentage Rate (APR): the key comparator for borrowing decisions 00:20:00
    • Setting interest rates and the role of the Bank of England 00:25:00
    • Low cost and high cost borrowing 00:30:00
    • End-of-session quiz 00:03:00
    • Summary of Session 3 00:25:00
    • Introduction 00:20:00
    • Getting a mortgage: how much can I borrow? 00:25:00
    • The property in question and the importance of ‘loan-to-value’ 00:25:00
    • Repayment or interest-only 00:25:00
    • Fixed-rate or variable rate? 00:10:00
    • Half-time quiz 00:03:00
    • Mortgage choices: offset, flexible and portable mortgages 00:07:00
    • Managing your mortgage: overpaying 00:15:00
    • Moving to another deal 00:15:00
    • Ditching a fixed-rate mortgage 00:20:00
    • The other costs of buying a property 00:20:00
    • Mortgages: understanding and managing the risks 00:45:00
    • End-of-session quiz 00:03:00
    • Summary of Session 4 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:20:00
    • Why should we save up for the future? 00:20:00
    • The difference between saving and investing 00:15:00
    • The UK’s savings problem 00:15:00
    • The savings supermarket: What type of accounts can I get? 00:20:00
    • What about Premium Bonds? 00:15:00
    • The savings supermarket: Should you get an ISA? 00:15:00
    • ISAs for your first home or your retirement 00:20:00
    • The savings supermarket: Understanding interest and tax 00:20:00
    • The savings supermarket: some final points 00:15:00
    • Money in a savings account is almost always safe 00:25:00
    • Drawing up your savings strategy 00:20:00
    • Half-time quiz 00:03:00
    • Investments – the riskier (but possibly rewarding) side of saving up 00:15:00
    • Understanding shares 00:15:00
    • Understanding bonds 00:20:00
    • Understanding commodities 00:20:00
    • Understanding property investment 00:20:00
    • Understanding investment funds 00:25:00
    • Investment strategies: how to manage your risk 00:10:00
    • Understanding peer-to-peer products 00:20:00
    • Do I need financial advice when choosing an investment or should I go it alone? 00:30:00
    • End-of-session quiz 00:03:00
    • Summary of Session 5 00:15:00
    • Introduction 00:20:00
    • How does spending change in later life? 00:15:00
    • State pensions 00:15:00
    • How far does the state pension go? 00:20:00
    • Occupational pension schemes 00:15:00
    • Occupational schemes: moving to average salary pensions 00:15:00
    • Occupational schemes: they work like a pay rise 00:15:00
    • Half-time quiz 00:05:00
    • Personal pensions: money purchase schemes 00:20:00
    • Planning your pension: the costs and risks 00:30:00
    • Understanding pension tax allowances 00:25:00
    • What can I do with my pension when I retire? 00:15:00
    • The 2015 pensions revolution: freeing up access to pension pots 00:25:00
    • A shortfall in your pension plan – the options 00:25:00
    • End-of-course quiz 00:05:00
    • Summary of Session 6 00:20:00
    • Where next? 00:10:00
    • Tell us what you think 00:10:00

About the instructor

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