Personal Financial Planning

Taught by Thomas Van Dzura, Professor of Accounting

For most students, the start of their collegiate career also signifies the beginning of their financial independence.  This transition can certainly be a time of excitement, intense questioning, and often worry. Students may wonder, for instance, what are my career or employment aspirations? How do I build a budget? When is it time to start saving for the future? How do I save? Should I rent or own my first home upon graduation? What kind of car can I afford? What is retirement planning and should I start it now? What insurance coverages and plans are essential and how to I acquire them? Affirming this universal life-stage contemplation, a national survey and research conducted by Ohio State University in 2015 found that 70% of college students were concerned about their personal finances.

Set in an online classroom environment that promotes regular engagement, personal connections, and a strong sense of Saint Michael’s College community between students (and instructor), this proposed course serves to help students engage, comprehend, and successfully address the key questions noted above. This course covers key principles, processes, and techniques related to managing one’s own personal finances. The goal is for students to make more informed personal finance decisions and be wiser money managers, and consumers of financial services and products.  Specific topics include personal financial statements and budgets, basics of federal income taxes, time value of money, financial institutions and services, consumer credit, purchasing strategies, selecting housing (rent vs buy), insurance (renters, automobile, health, disability), and fundamentals of retirement planning.


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