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The Household Balance Sheet (MOOC)

The Household Balance Sheet (MOOC)

About the course

Finance Fundamentals: Managing the Household Balance Sheet starts by looking at borrowing and debts. You get to grips with the factors that drive interest levels. You will look at the differences between ‘good’ debts and ‘bad’ debts and at the way lenders view the credit score of those seeking to borrow money.

You will then move on to examine the array of investments that people can hold – including savings accounts, bonds, shares and holdings in funds. You will look at the determinants of investment returns and at the historical evidence about which are the best investments. You will also look at how investments are taxed.

Housing is the next topic. You will look at the costs of buying and selling property and at the rationale for owning property and the risks involved. This involves understanding the mortgage products that are used to buy property.

The course finishes by examining one very crucial investment: the investment in your pension fund to support you in retirement. You will examine how occupational or personal pensions are needed to top up the pension provided by the state and how to determine how much income you will need in retirement. You will also look at the impact of the recent reforms to pensions in the UK.

The 4-week course is up-to-date and uses an array of audio-visual assets to help you through the subject matter.

This course is part of the Business and Finance Fundamentals and Finance Fundamentals programmes which will enable you to master this subject in depth.

The course has been adapted from the original material created by The Open University’s True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance, and was made possible thanks to the generous support of True Potential LLP.

What you will learn

This course has been developed by The Open University Business School – a pioneering institution that is triple accredited by AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB.

It is one of eight from The Open University, designed to help you gain fundamental business and financial skills, including communication, networking, relationship building, project management, personal financial planning and management, investment and financial services.

You can complete this course as part of one of these two programmes:

Finance Fundamentals: four courses, which will give you valuable skills to manage finances at home and at work, and enable you to earn a FutureLearn Award.

Business and Finance Fundamentals: eight courses; holders of FutureLearn Certificates of Achievement for all eight courses can earn 30 UK credits towards The Open University Business School’s BA in Business Management by passing a linked Open University assessment module (requiring separate OU registration and fee).


For further information about registration, the final assessment course, your eligibility and the BA in Business Management, visit the Open University website. The Open University does not operate in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. This means that Learners based in those countries will not be able to convert their participation in this programme to Open University course credits.

About the instructor

Martin Upton is Director of the True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (PUFin) at the OU Business School. Previously he was Treasurer of Nationwide Building Society.

Starting date: 20 February, 2017

Duration: 4 weeks, 3 hours per week

Language: English

Instructors: Martin Upton

Institution: The Open University



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