One of the great things about technology is that you have access to information about — anything. It is easy to find information, but sometimes you have to be careful about where you learn. The information is not always available. In many cases, if you want to learn about any subject from an expert, you have to pay money to watch a video or seminar. Unless you head to Khan Academy.
Online Expert Financial Education for Free
Khan Academy is run by Salman Khan, the son of immigrants. Khan has a Harvard MBA, as well as degrees from MIT in Math and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. So, when Khan provides videos on finance and the economy, as well as lessons on Algebra, Calculus and Physics, you know that he’s solid. Plus, he’s had experience teaching gifted children. Khan is a smart guy who reads extensively on other subjects so he can provide information about Biology and Chemistry, too. When he doesn’t know about something, or is having trouble putting an explanation in words, he contacts experts who can help him round out the explanation.
The idea behind Khan Academy is to provide a “world-class education to anyone, anywhere.” Khan has been praised by Bill Gates, who, according to a CNN Money article, uses Khan’s videos to help his children with their homework. Khan offers more than 1,600 videos on a number of subjects, including finance. There is also an exercise dashboard with sample problems and formulas to help you out. You can also make use of a knowledge map to plan out your course of study, or look at a progress report.
The former hedge fund manager has a good grasp of finance and economics, and it is possible to learn just about anything you might want to know on these subjects, as well as on math and science subjects. All of the lessons are in chunks of 10 minutes or less, making them digestible. Using only low-tech doodles, Khan effectively manages to teach a lesson in the time allotted by YouTube for videos, although some concepts require a succession of videos to understand. But in such cases, the parts progress logically, helping you understand aspects of a concept before you move on.
It’s a great concept for education, and one that can help you learn more about finances and other subjects. Whether you need a little tutoring for your school work, or whether you are a lifetime learner interested in expanding your knowledge, Khan Academy is a great resource.
Here are some examples of financial videos offered by Khan:
The housing price conundrum: This lesson is actually done in four parts. The first part, below, is interesting because Khan sets it up to show you that, even though housing prices increased dramatically from 2000 to 2006, they really probably shouldn’t have — if you are going off classic supply/demand. Subsequent parts take you through the reasons that housing prices skyrocketed, providing you with insight into just what fueled the run up to the housing market crash.
Bonds vs. Stocks: A great lesson on the difference between bonds and stocks. A basic, and helpful, look at the difference between these two securities. Before you invest, you really should understand the investment, and this post is a good primer on the basics of what is probably in your portfolio in some form or another.
Banking 1: I love this video about the basics of banking. This video is part of a whole series on banks and banking concepts. If you start here at Banking 1, and follow the series (which is supposed to expand as well), you will learn a great deal about how our money system works. You can even get to a great videos addressing the Fed Funds Rate, and what happened to gold, as well as information on Fractional Reserve Banking.
Miranda is a professional personal finance journalist. She is a contributor for several personal finance web sites. Her work has been mentioned in and linked to from, USA Today, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. She also has her own personal finance blog: Planting Money Seeds.