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You and your money

This innovative module sets personal finance against its wider social, economic and political background, providing a gentle introduction to aspects of economics, while also giving you practical tools and ideas on how to manage your own money effectively. The module is structured around four themes: the changing economic, political and social context; individuals, households and other relationships; economics and the real world; and the life course and financial planning. You'll study income, expenditure, debt, savings and investments, housing, insurance, pensions and caring, critically appraising the balance between personal and social responsibility for financial well-being. 

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

Browse qualifications in related subjects

Module

Module code
DB125
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
30
Study level

Across the UK, there are two parallel frameworks for higher education qualifications, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ) and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). These define a hierarchy of levels and describe the achievement expected at each level. The information provided shows how OU module levels correspond to these frameworks.

OU SCQF FHEQ
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

This module has three primary aims, to:

  • give you the knowledge, skills, tools and confidence to manage your own money well
  • provide an introduction to the social sciences, especially economics, relating them to the real world in which we live
  • gently build and practise your study skills and employability skills as a strong foundation for your further studies at the OU and life beyond.

The study weeks are arranged in pairs with each pair devoted to a different topic. In the first week of each pair, you’ll read a chapter in the module textbook, which has been specially written for this module and includes lots of activities to help reflect on the material, test your understanding and apply the ideas to your own finances. In the second week, you’ll consolidate your learning through a rich mixture of video, audio clips, slideshows, activities and interactive tools.

You can use the tools with your own money, for example, to understand how tax affects your earnings, see how much you’d need to save to reach a goal, what the repayments would be on a loan or mortgage, and explore your options for building up enough pension savings.

Throughout the online weeks, you’ll share in the lives of 12 households, two each from the UK, USA, Germany, Sweden, Brazil and India, so you can compare financial experiences from across the globe and the factors that influence them.

Here is a taste of what you’ll study in each pair of weeks:

  • Setting the context: an introduction to the module themes. This includes some major world trends, such as ageing populations and the march of technology which are changing the demands on our money. You’ll look at the behavioural traits we all have that influence the way we interact with our finances, firms and each other.
  • Income. What influences pay, including worker power and gender issues. How the tax and benefits system affects your income and can be used to relieve poverty and reduce inequality. The way income flows between the different sectors of the economy.
  • Expenditure. Why we spend on what we do from rational choices about meeting our needs to the social factors and marketing influences that work on our more subtle desires for belonging or displaying our worth. In small teams with your fellow students, you’ll explore the world of symbolic advertising. Using cash-flow and budgeting to control your household’s spending.
  • Debt. Understanding the good as well as dark side of debt. How to identify the best ways to borrow and be aware of hidden costs. Using a household balance sheet to check whether you are vulnerable to debt problems. How household debt contributes to economic growth but perversely can bring down economies.
  • Savings and investments. Why low-risk products promising amazing returns simply don’t exist. Choosing the right products for different types of goals. Navigating the risk-return trade-off, with strategies for managing stock-market risk. Why saving matters to the economy.
  • Housing. How, in many countries, homes are more than just a place to live and may be driving a wedge between younger and older generations. Using the economic model of supply and demand, you’ll explore what influences house prices and analyse different solutions to making homes affordable.
  • Insurance. The role of insurance in building your financial resilience – your ability to withstand and recover from shocks and life events. The principle of risk-sharing and how it is being undermined by Big Data and other technological changes.
  • Pensions. The implications for you personally and society as a whole of saving for a pension and the ageing population. How saving for the long-term means battling our behavioural traits. The way different pensions work and what that means for the choices you make and the risks you run.
  • Caring and sharing. The short-term and long-term consequences of decisions about having a family and the social norms that surround unpaid work. The choices households and society face about caring for the elderly.
  • Conclusion. In the light of the previous weeks, what does it mean to be ‘financially capable’? What are the options for society if all individuals and households are to enjoy at least a minimum level of well-being? 

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

Throughout your study, you’ll have the support of a personal tutor. Your tutor will contact you early in the module to introduce themselves and find out what you aim to achieve from your studies. After that, they will provide expert distance tuition through feedback and ‘feed-forward’ on your assignments and be on hand to answer your queries. Your tutor, in collaboration with others, will run a series of face-to-face and online tutorials to help you get the most out of the module materials and prepare for assignments. Although tutorials are optional, you are strongly recommended to attend.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

You and your money starts twice a year – in February and October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2018. We expect it to start for the last time in February 2028.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Essential Documents website.

    Course work includes:

    3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    End-of-module assessment
    No residential school


    Entry requirements

    There are no prior requirements for studying this module. You will need to use some basic mathematics (decimals, percentages, fractions, reading simple tables and charts). Week 1 of the module provides a self-test and additional materials to help you refresh or develop these skills before you start your studies proper. A few further simple numerical techniques (such as averages) are fully taught in subsequent weeks. The module includes a suite of interactive tools that enable you to solve financial problems without having to use or understand the maths involved.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Register

    Start End England fee Register
    06 Oct 2018 Jun 2019 £1464.00

    Registration closes 13/09/18 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    02 Feb 2019 Sep 2019 £1464.00

    Registration closes 10/01/19 (places subject to availability)

    Register
    This module is expected to start for the last time in February 2028.

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).


    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time convenient to you.


    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 20/07/2018.

    What's included

    The module is delivered through a textbook written especially for the module and the module website. The website accounts for approximately 50% of the study. The module includes a suite of 10 interactive tools that are used in your studies but can also help you manage your own money.

    You will need

    You will need the use of a basic calculator.

    The interactive tools run in Excel. Once the module has started and your registration is complete, you will be provided with Office 365 which includes Excel. However, you can also run the tools on your own copy of Excel if you have it, including open-source versions.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module.  Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To participate in our online-discussion area you will need both a microphone and speakers/headphones. 

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students. 

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying DB125 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Overcoming barriers to study if you have a disability or health condition website.