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Courses

Complete learning experiences on over a dozen topics. Log in to continue a saved course.
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Budget Basics

38 minutes

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From setting goals to paying off loans, the basics of effective budget management.

  • Setting Goals
    Setting financial goals offers the chance to step back from everyday pressures, allowing us to think about how we’d like to be rather than as how we are.
  • Debt and the Pressure to Spend
    It’s wonderful to have the freedom to buy so many products, but unless you’re rich, the key to happy spending is planned spending.
  • Nudging Yourself Toward Your Goals
    No matter what your financial goal, it's important to have an accountability system in place.
  • Introduction to Budgeting
    Why budgeting is important, no matter how much money you earn.
  • Income and Expenses
    A big part of budgeting is identifying income and listing expenses.
  • Evaluating Your Budget
    After you've identified your income and tracked your spending, it's time to compare the numbers, gain perspective, set priorities, and make changes.
  • Tracking Your Spending
    Tracking your money can be a powerful way to spot unplanned spending.
  • How to Improve Cash Flow
    Cash flow is a key indicator of your financial health.
  • Money Saving Ideas
    Looking for ideas for ways to save money? Almost everyone can find a way to save using at least one of these tips.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Buying a Car

44 minutes

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From choosing a make and model to financing a purchase, topics every consumer should understand when buying a car.

  • Buying a Car Introduction
    An introduction to the basics of this major purchase and responsibility.
  • Choosing a Make and Model
    A look at four important factors to consider when choosing a car: fuel consumption, insurance rates, reliability, and depreciation.
  • The Total Cost of Ownership
    Understanding the many costs associated with owning a car - from financing cost to taxes.
  • Buy or Lease Decisions
    The pros and cons of leasing.
  • Financing a Car Purchase
    How a loan affects the total cost of buying a car.
  • Evaluating a Used Car
    How to "do your homework" before buying a used car.
  • Negotiating Your Car Purchase
    Effective negotiation could potentially save you thousands on your next car purchase.
  • Setting a Target Price
    How to set a realistic target price for both new and used vehicles.
  • Negotiating Price
    Know what to expect when negotiating the best deal.
  • Avoiding Surprises
    Think the negotiating is finished when you agree on a price? Here's how to negotiate dealer extras and extended warranty pitches.
  • Common Mistakes
    Twelve common mistakes to keep in mind when shopping for a car.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Financial Basics

36 minutes

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A money management course that outlines the basics of financial health - from budgeting to insurance.

  • Financial Health
    The concept of financial health is the foundation of any financial plan.
  • Introduction to Budgeting
    Why budgeting is important, no matter how much money you earn.
  • Choosing a Bank or Credit Union
    Key factors to consider when choosing a financial services provider.
  • Credit vs. Debit Cards
    Credit and debit cards each have pros and cons. When should you use each?
  • Credit Reports and Scores
    Credit reports and scores determine the rates you pay when borrowing and can affect your ability to get certain jobs.
  • Managing Accounts
    Account management strategies for checking and savings.
  • Building Credit
    Understanding the decisions and behaviors that can lead to improved credit scores.
  • Identity Theft
    Understanding ID theft and how to prevent it.
  • Financial Goals Exercise
    A goal-setting exercise that includes weekly, monthly, yearly, and long-term goals.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Financial Planning

32 minutes

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What you need to know to start making a long-term financial plan, from getting married to planning for retirement.

  • Medical Care Planning
    How to make sure your wishes are followed in a medical crisis.
  • Financial Planning
    Learning the "how" and "why" of short, medium, and long-term financial planning.
  • Estate Planning
    Wills, trusts, and other end of life issues.
  • Creating a Will
    A will is the cornerstone of the legal framework of an estate plan, and everyone should have one.
  • Powers of Attorney
    Everyone faces the possibility of temporary or permanent incapacitation. Make sure your wishes are followed.
  • Talking About Money
    A look at some of the financial considerations of getting married.
  • Planning for the Unexpected
    Planning for unexpected events, including accidents, death, and even the possibility of divorce, are all part of a responsible marriage.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Financial Trouble

37 minutes

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What to do if you're in financial trouble, from creating a debt reduction plan to your rights when dealing with debt collectors.

  • Spotting the Signs of Financial Trouble
    Many Americans find themselves in debt, but for some, debt turns into a serious problem with lasting consequences.
  • Dealing with Financial Trouble
    If you ever find yourself experiencing financial trouble, there are steps you can take to get back on track and to minimize the damage to your credit.
  • Debt Reduction Plans
    Whether you do it yourself or work with a credit counselor, creating a debt reduction plan is an important first step for those with financial trouble.
  • Credit Counseling
    The role of credit counseling organizations and how a debt management plan works to restore credit over time.
  • Choosing a Credit Counselor
    The best way to find a good credit counselor is to know what questions to ask.
  • Credit Repair Scams
    There's a big difference between a non-profit credit counseling service and a credit repair scam. Learn how to tell the difference.
  • Debt Collection
    Your rights and responsibilities when dealing with debt collectors.
  • Debt Collection and Legal Actions
    What to expect if you are sued over debt.
  • Understanding Bankruptcy
    The types of bankruptcy and why bankruptcy should be used only as a last resort.
  • Alternative Financial Services
    Understanding why payday loans, check cashing services, and similar services may be bad deals for consumers.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Having a Baby

35 minutes

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A look at the financial challenges of raising a child.

  • Introduction
    Having a baby is not just a family decision, it's a financial decision too.
  • Babies and Budgets
    How to get your finances in shape before a baby arrives, including a budget review, paying down debt, making sure you're getting the best on any long-term debt, and creating an emergency fund.
  • Paying for the Baby Years
    The non-childcare costs you can expect when having a baby, from cribs to health insurance.
  • Managing Risks
    Life is filled with unexpected events. Learn how to ensure the financial security of your child in the worst case scenario.
  • Children and Taxes
    A review of the tax benefits that can help you manage the expenses incurred with children.
  • Childcare Choices
    An overview of different childcare choices and the financial implications of each.
  • Growing Up - Childhood and Beyond
    A look at the additional costs of raising a child beyond the first few years including the indirect costs.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Identity Theft

22 minutes

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An overview of identity theft, including strategies for preventing it and what to do if it happens to you.

  • Identity Theft
    Understanding ID theft and how to prevent it.
  • Avoiding Identity Theft
    The three Ds of identity protection: Deter, Detect and Defend.
  • Protecting Your Digital Information
    There are many data backup solutions available designed to protect personal information that vary in their security and ease of use.
  • Dealing with Identity Theft
    Understanding the different types of identity theft and what to do in each scenario.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Managing Credit

30 minutes

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Credit reports and scores, credit vs. debit cards, reading your credit report, plus more.

  • Credit vs. Debit Cards
    Credit and debit cards each have pros and cons. When should you use each?
  • Credit Reports and Scores
    Credit reports and scores determine the rates you pay when borrowing and can affect your ability to get certain jobs.
  • Risks and Benefits of Credit Cards
    Credit cards offer benefits for many consumers, but it's important to understand the risks of unsecured credit.
  • Building Credit
    Understanding the decisions and behaviors that can lead to improved credit scores.
  • Understanding the Credit Card Act of 2009
    How the new regulations work to protect card holders.
  • Reading Your Credit Report
    A detailed description of what to expect and look for when viewing a credit report.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Managing Student Loan Debt

45 minutes

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An introduction to student loan repayment choices and strategies. Visit the Library for in-depth coverage of repayment plan options.

  • Making Smart Repayment Decisions
    Flexible federal student loan repayment plans can help you avoid financial trouble and reach your financial goals.
  • Repayment Strategies
    To repay your student loans, you need a comprehensive strategy to put your education debt in a larger financial picture that includes your income, non-education debt, and long-term goals.
  • How Repayment Plan Choices Affect Loan Cost
    Your repayment plan choice can greatly affect your monthly payment and the total cost of your student debt.
  • Deferment and Forbearance Options
    Both deferment and forbearance can help you avoid financial trouble. If you think you might qualify, reach out to your loan servicer as soon as you first experience financial difficulty.
  • Managing Loans in Times of Financial Distress
    You can’t always prevent financial stress, but how well you manage it will make all the difference in how successful you’ll be in meeting your repayment obligation.
  • Grace and Deferment Period Strategies
    Federal education loans all offer a grace or deferment period – a set amount of time during which repayment is not required. How you manage loans during your grace period can make a big difference.
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness
    If you work in certain fields or for certain employers, a portion of your Direct Student Loan debt may be eligible for forgiveness.
  • Loan Consolidation
    Loan consolidation can simplify the loan repayment process, but you must review the loans you plan to consolidate carefully – once consolidated, there’s no going back.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Paying for College

51 minutes

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The basics of financial aid, including the types of aid, applying for aid, borrower responsibilities, and repayment strategies.

  • Financial Aid Introduction
    Whether you're considering higher education for yourself or starting to plan for the education of your kids, understanding the financial aid process is the first step to meeting your education goals.
  • Types of Financial Aid
    The main types of financial aid are education loans, grants and scholarships, work-study, and service programs.
  • Creating an Aid Strategy
    Considerations when planning to pay for school, including school choice, employment options, accounting strategies, and the importance of borrowing wisely.
  • Understanding Financial Need
    Some aid is based on financial need and some is not. What exactly is "financial need?"
  • Applying for Aid
    The aid application process, including descriptions of the FAFSA and Profile forms.
  • Education Loans
    A description of the main types of student loans, including government loans, consolidation loans, and private loans.
  • Choosing the Right Loan
    Questions every student should be able to answer before taking on a student loan.
  • Selecting a Private Loan Lender
    When federal loans are not enough, private lenders such as banks, credit unions, and non-profit lenders can help to fill the gap.
  • The Master Promissory Note
    An introduction to the agreement that specifies your rights and responsibilities when accepting a student loan.
  • Repaying College Debt
    A look at common repayment plans, including how different plans affect your monthly payment and overall cost.
  • Borrowing Wisely
    Making smart choices about student loans, including a description of the impact of loan capitalization.
  • Independent Student Status
    Understanding your financial aid dependency status, including a discussion of what to do if the parents of dependent students refuse to help them pay for college.
  • Dealing with Too Little Aid
    Why some students find themselves with too little aid and what can be done to make ends meet.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Saving and Investing

34 minutes

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Why and how to invest, including how to save money now.

  • Saving and Investing
    The difference between investing and saving, and how to tell what's the best option for your needs.
  • Types of Investments
    The pros and cons of stocks, bonds, and cash. The concept of asset allocation is explained.
  • Investment Accounts
    The types of accounts available to investors, including both taxable and tax advantaged accounts.
  • Saving for Retirement
    Why save for retirement and the impact of fees on investment performance.
  • Retirement Saving Strategies
    How to develop a comprehensive retirement savings strategy.
  • Retirement Accounts
    An overview of the major retirement accounts, include Individual Retirement Accounts, Simplified Employee Pensions, and 401(k) plans.
  • Retirement Savings Ideas
    A few simple things to keep in mind when starting a retirement savings plan.
  • Individual Development Accounts
    Understanding the benefits of IDAs, how to qualify, and where to find a program.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Understanding Insurance

32 minutes

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Understanding the common types of insurance, including auto, renters, health, plus more.

  • Insurance
    Understanding how insurance plays an important role in our financial lives.
  • Auto Insurance
    Types of auto insurance, factors influencing cost, and choosing a policy that's right for your situation.
  • Life Insurance
    Who needs life insurance, types of policies, and how to determine coverage.
  • Renter's Insurance
    Understanding the benefits (and potential pitfalls) of this type of inexpensive insurance.
  • Health Insurance
    The various health insurance choices.
  • Disability Insurance
    The benefits and costs of these often complex policies.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.
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Workplace Transition

42 minutes

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Key topics for those transitioning from school to the workplace.

  • From College to the Workplace
    No matter what your financial outlook is after leaving school, the concept of financial health is an important step towards long-term financial success.
  • Salary Expectations Versus Reality
    Most young people tend to overestimate their starting salaries.
  • Earning a Paycheck
    A brief overview of common paycheck deductions and how to increase earning potential.
  • Employer Benefits
    There are four main types of employee benefit programs: health insurance, retirement plans, tax-advantaged savings, and supplemental benefits such as life and vision care insurance.
  • Making Decisions About Employee Benefits
    Employee benefits vary between employers, so it’s up to the employee to make the most of whatever benefits are offered.
  • Day One of a New Job
    First impressions are important. New employees should take the time to prepare for the first day to ensure that they start off on the right foot.
  • Time Management
    To be successful in today’s workplace, you need to know how to manage the limited amount of time you have to accomplish all of your tasks.
  • The Concept of Professionalism
    Being a “professional” paves the way for both current and future success, no matter what career you choose. Professionalism requires you to draw upon a set of skills that may seem outside the specific skills required for your job.
  • Networking in the Workplace
    Effective networking can lead to success in your career both now and in the future.
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Taxes

9 minutes

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We'll look at some common taxes, how they could benefit you, and how to make sure you're paying exactly the right amount.

  • Tax Benefits for Higher Education
    The federal government provides a number of tax deductions and credits that can help reduce your cost of attending college.
  • Paycheck Tax Deductions
    Making sense of the deductions taken from your paycheck. How "independent" workers have unique tax challenges.
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Money Smart Kids

14 minutes

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Talking about money is often a challenging subject, mostly because there’s so much to know, and a lot of it is very confusing. Here are some suggestions for starting the right conversations with your kids

  • Money Smart Kids
    Develop an understanding of what you want your children to learn about money and why it's important they do.
  • Allowances
    There is a lot of debate over whether or not you should give a child an allowance. Learn about the different types and the pros and cons of doing so.
  • Financial Influences for Children
    Children face a multitude of external and internal influences that impact their beliefs and habits with regards to money. Each has a different level of influence, but they are all important to recognize.
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Buying a Home

18 minutes

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The pros and cons of buying a home, including a comparison with renting.

  • Buying a Home
    Pros and cons of buying a home, including a comparison with renting.
  • Borrowing for a Home
    Understanding the parts of a mortgage and common mortgage loan options.
  • Buying Versus Renting a Home
    How to decide if the time may be right for you to buy.
  • Generic Post-Course Survey
    This five-question survey measures general satisfaction with any course.

Financial Wellness Home

This Week

A young soldier salutes.

Personal Finance and the Military

How to best serve your financial interests, while also serving your country.

About PFCU

PFCU is a Michigan financial cooperative dedicated to improving members’ lives. As a cooperative credit union, we’re not-for-profit that is owned and run by our members. Our excess profits are returned to members in various forms, such as lower lending rates and higher savings rates, to help them reach their financial goals.


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