You’ve been looking forward to retiring for your entire working life. Now that it’s finally here, though, you’re more than a little lost.
What are you supposed to do with all your free time? How can you stave off boredom and avoid wasting money or radically upending your entire lifestyle?
Fortunately, hitting senior status can come with several perks — starting with free courses for lifelong learners like yourself. Interested? These 14 sites are the best places to get started.
Earn money online by taking surveys
$55,000 might sound crazy … but with a company called Survey Junkie, it’s possible to get your share of it every day by taking their surveys in your extra time.
Follow these simple steps to start earning:
- Sign up for an account with Survey Junkie here.
- Take surveys.
- Repeat daily and get paid for sharing your opinion!
P.S.: You can cash out with as little as $5 through PayPal or bank transfer, or transfer to gift cards from a number of stores.
Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative
Carnegie Mellon University’s Open Learning Initiative (OLI) doubles as a resource for independent students and long-distance instructors.
While OLI has more paid courses than free ones, its free courses cover the basics of research methods in most fields.
They also offer helpful guidelines for self-guided learning and point you toward the next steps in becoming certified in fields from health care to IT.
Since 2009, Academic Earth has curated free courses from the country’s top universities, including Yale, MIT, the University of Chicago, and more. You can watch individual lectures or go through distinct courses on topics like the psychology of politics and machine learning.
Coursera has nearly 6,000 courses, certificates, and degrees available for at-home learners. If you want to find a new job post-retirement, Coursera details the median salaries for top jobs and lists skills, classes, and certifications that can help you land the job you want.
Its dozens of free courses range in topics from entry-level Korean language learning to negotiation strategies for business professionals.
Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt
Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.
National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.
How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.
EdX started as a collaboration between MIT and Harvard to make education more accessible, affordable, and universal.
Today, edX partners with more than 250 other prestigious institutions and universities worldwide to offer classes in data science, artificial intelligence, and other IT-centric topics.
Some of the top universities in the country offer free courses for lifelong learners.
Harvard hosts 144 free webinars and online courses in computer science, programming, world history, and the humanities. Most courses are available on-demand and take between one and 12 weeks to complete.
Yale’s free Open Yale courses are mainly introductory-level classes taught by top Yale professors.
Unlike some of the learning sites on our list, Open Yale doesn’t help you earn course credits or work toward professional certification.
Instead, it’s ideal for lifelong learners interested in studying topics like American literature, financial markets, philosophy, and the social sciences.
Like Yale and Harvard, Stanford hosts free, on-demand classes and lecture series taught by some of their top professors.
Classes include Introduction to Probability Management from the School of Engineering, Principles of Economics from the School of Humanities and Sciences, and Health Across the Gender Spectrum from the School of Medicine.
Are you looking for bite-size lessons rather than long-term courses? TED-Ed has a wide selection of free videos, each presented by an expert in their field and running anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours long.
TED-Ed classes are on topics as diverse as bats, moon phases, food waste, gut health, and the history of Black Friday.
Are you more interested in learning a technical, highly marketable skill than taking college courses for the sake of learning? Codecademy is the best, most established free coding site you can find.
Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account
Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1
With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!
This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.
Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.
Like Codecademy, Udemy helps you access courses that teach marketable skills in areas like coding, finance, marketing, and game development.
Udemy’s paid courses and certifications can help you land a lucrative side gig, but its free courses include introductory photography, coding, aromatherapy, and more.
Whether you want to start your own business or learn a new hobby, Udemy is an excellent place to begin.
Learn It Live
Learn It Live hosts free face-to-face and on-demand classes, mostly in personal development, fitness, mindfulness, and general health and wellness.
It’s not as rigorously academic as some other sites on our list, but Learn It Live can be a useful jumping-off point for anyone interested in maintaining their activity levels and quality of life during retirement.
Libby (through your local library)
Libby is a shared online library collection with hundreds of thousands of digital books, magazines, newspapers, and audiobooks, including textbooks, lectures, and courses.
Exactly which Libby texts you can access depends on what your local library has subscribed to, so you’ll need to log in to the app using your library card.
The Great Courses (through Libby)
The Great Courses are individual lectures conducted by world-class experts in art, cooking, storytelling, economics, and much more.
While you can purchase standalone courses for a one-time fee, you can access some (or all) of the courses for free through Libby if your public library has a subscription. Open the Libby app and search for “the great courses” to see if they’re a part of your library catalog.
Your local community college
Wherever you are in the U.S., chances are there’s a state college, community college, or university in your area that offers some sort of free community programming.
That could mean free online courses, in-person classes at a reduced fee (usually lower than $100 for the semester), or occasional drop-in lectures free to anyone in the community.
Find out what’s available near you by googling your state’s colleges along with keywords like “free courses” or “lifelong learning.” If you don’t find any good results, you can always call the number listed as the university’s contact line and go from there.
Thanks to the 14 free learning opportunities listed here, your continuing education doesn’t have to cost a cent of your hard-earned retirement money.
Whether you’re hoping to retire early, are already in the middle of a great retirement, or are on the cusp of leaving the workforce for good, signing up for a free online course is an excellent use of your time.
Of course, picking up a new skill set is definitely a perk if you’re hoping to boost your retirement savings with a part-time job in a new field. But learning is worth it for its own sake, not just for earning money.