Your assignment is to think through the things you want to accomplish in life. This is not a short-term assignment, and it will require you to work and contribute to it during the course of this Summer II session. The purpose of this assignment is to write down your goals for your future and determine where you want to be. Be very specific with the goals you set. Your goals may include graduating with your MBA, having children, investing in their college funds, buying a home/vacation home, retiring with $1 million, taking a round-the-world vacation, etc. As you think through your goals, recognize that there are many different ways to organize them. You can organize them by time frame: short/medium/long-term. You can organize them by responsibility: family, work, education, church, and so on. Or you can organize them by priorities, with your highest-priority goals first. As you read through each chapter in the text, think of how you can apply your newly acquired knowledge to further develop your personal financial plan. If you need some help with applying the concepts you come across to your personal life, look at the end of chapter Action Plans. Each chapter closes with an Action Plan that should help you put your knowledge into action. For example, in Chapter 1 we talk about choosing a career, preparing for the unexpected (as with economic downturns) etc. As you look over your previously listed goals, you may want to include information about your career path that may impact your goals, as well as contingency plans should you find yourself in another 2008 or 2020 economic situation. In Chapter 2 we discuss the use of personal financial statements as well as budget development. After you read Chapter 2, you may decide to add elements of certain financial statements or a working budget to your personal financial plan. The objective is to add/modify your personal financial plan as you acquire more tips/suggestion/recommendations given your newly acquired knowledge base throughout the semester. By the time you reach the end of Summer II, you should have a well thought out and developed Personal Financial Plan. The following are key things to consider as you develop your financial plan: 1. Im not overly specific on the style Im looking for (first person vs. third person, inclusion of graphs, preparation of videos, etc.) because I want students to develop their plans as they best see fit. In the past, Ive had students simply put together a 10-page write-up (not the best – I would advise using some tables and charts be included), Ive had others include appendices with tables and charts to help explain their plans, and Ive even had a student develop a short video to go along with their financial plan. You have free reign with regard to how you want to develop this. 2. The non-negotiables are as follows: A 5-page minimum is required for Part 1 of your Financial Plan, and another 5-page minimum is required for Part 2 of your Financial Plan. It shows me youve put effort into your plan and have not just stayed up overnight to complete it. If you have been setting aside time each week to work on it as you read through new content, it should not be overwhelming. Remember, a minimum means you are always free to write MORE THAN the 5 pages mentioned. Please keep in mind that quoted text from other sources does not contribute to your overall page-writing minimum. I want your thoughts, your ideas, your goals, and your content written out. You may incorporate some graphs, tables, and calculations to show how you plan to carry out your financial plan, but these should be proportional to the amount of writing and explanations I want to see from you. You can also include some of these tables, graphs, and pictures as appendices to your plan. If you submit only 4 pages for Part 1 of your Personal Financial Plan, I will deduct 5 points right off the top. If you submit only 3 pages for Part 1 of your Personal Financial Plan, I will deduct 10 points right off the top. If you turn in anything less than 3 pages, I will not grade your assignment and you will receive a 0 for it. The same rules apply for Part 2 of your Personal Financial Plan. I also dont want to see only pages upon pages of excel spreadsheets by the time you are through. Im looking for written explanations of what youre presenting. Its important to not just show a table or graphic, but to be able to explain well, in writing, what youre trying to achieve. Please also dont think that if youve performed really well throughout the semester you can get away with turning in a financial plan that doesnt meet the length requirement and take the point deduction without worry. The points for not having the appropriate length are just that. Points lost for not meeting minimum length requirements. Chances are that you will also have more points deducted for not having enough substance in the pages you do provide. 3. I have found that most students start off with prioritizing their goals (either by importance to them or by short vs long term criteria). For example, you may have started your financial plan by simply listing a few of your goals: pay for my MBA, set up college funds for my kids, buying a larger home, taking that dream vacation, investing more money, retiring at 65, ensuring I have the right kinds of insurance to cover needs, making sure my family gets their inheritance without issue, etc. You can then use the information youve acquired throughout the semester to help you develop ways to achieve those goals. For example, you may have decided to create a budget after reading chapter 2. This would be something you can discuss in your write-up (and even provide an example of your budget in your appendix). You may have then read Chapter 3 and decided that you can use time value of money calculations to help determine how much you need to set aside each month/quarter/year in order to meet your education and retirement objectives. You should show me the calculations youve worked on in order to determine these things (I really need to see some time value of calculations in your writeup so that I can see that you’ve fully understand this very important concept). As you read each new chapter, you can discuss things that are important to do when looking for a home. You can detail tax considerations, credit and loan usage, and the things you need to consider when making insurance decisions. You can discuss the types of investments you are choosing and why, and you can discuss important things to consider when developing your will and testament. 4. Please review your writing. If I cant understand what youve written, I cant grade it. Get it reviewed by the writing lab or by a trusted (and capable) friend if you have concerns about your writing skills. I will deduct up to 5 points per each financial plan (part 1 and part 2) if there are too many grammatical and spelling errors. 5. Support your statements. If you tell me you plan to set aside $250 each month for retirement, tell me why/how youve arrived at this number. If you tell me a particular kind of insurance is what you prefer, tell me WHY. Its not enough to just say you like or dont like something. Support your views. Lack of support could result in a loss of up to 25 points. 6. One final thing I will mention is that Im looking for a good cross-section of topics. If you spend your entire assignment simply discussing retirement and estate planning, Im going to assume youve only really spent time studying the last 2 chapters required for the semester. Be sure your financial plan covers a breadth of topics, or you can lose up to 15 points for Part 1 and another 15 points for part 2. Since we cover 7 chapters in Part 1 of your Personal Financial Plan, I would like you to at least cover material from 5 of those chapters (you may cover more i.e. material from each chapter if youd like). Since we cover 9 chapters for Part 2 of your Personal Financial Plan, I would like you to at least cover material from 7 of those chapters in your plan. 7. The remaining points on the table will be rewarded based on my personal assessment of your financial plan.
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