Ashford BUS 215 Week 1 to 5 Discussion Questions

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BUS 215 : Personal Finance

Week 1

Visit the Wall Street Journal and other similar sites as may be appropriate. Read at least two articles about the current state of the economy and consider how the economy may be influencing your life. What significant economic issue has the most impact on you? Has a similar economic condition happened in the past? What is the likelihood it could happen again? What should you do to prepare for the next period of economic challenge? Post to the discussion board your 200 word answer. Your answer should focus on selecting and organizing your most relevant comments in a coherent fashion. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.

Review Chapter 3 and prepare a personal balance sheet following the example from Exhibit 3-3. Consider how you might shift, through savings and debt reduction, liabilities to assets. Next, prepare a well-disciplined household budget that can lead you to your goals. Once you have completed the exercise, discuss what you learned in this discussion forum. What are the areas where savings or reductions could help you? How long will it take? Are your goals reasonable, considering your resources? Please note that there is no need to post your personal balance sheet in this forum.

Week 2

Long-Term Financial Health

Investigate at least five different savings and investment vehicles, including savings deposit accounts, mutual funds, IRAs, 401ks, 403bs, etc. Determine the costs, return on investment, risks, and appropriateness for you. Discuss in this forum what you learned and how you can use this knowledge to increase your personal wealth. Post a 200 word response to the discussion board. Your answer should focus on organizing your most relevant comments in a coherent fashion. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.

Credit Cards

Choose one of the following organizations and visit its website:

Credit Network – provides information on credit card rates

Federal Trade Commission – provides information on how to regain financial health, uses and misuses of credit cards and many other related topics

Then prepare a report that summarizes the information the organization provides. How could this information help you to choose your credit card? Post to the discussion board your 200 word answer the impact of the information on your choice of credit card. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.

Week 3

Renting vs. Buying

Consider whether renting or buying a home is the best approach to achieving your long-term financial goals. Use the text concepts, tools, and various data (housing rental costs, home sale prices, mortgage rates, etc.) available to you in your geographic area, and your current and future financial condition to analyze your rent or purchase potential. Suggested websites include About.com: Apartment Living/Rental and Texas Apartment Association. Remember to account for any future increase/decrease in costs, mortgage debt, closing costs, insurance, appreciation or loss, taxes, etc., related to your decision. Determine which would be best for you now and in the future. Post to the discussion board a 200 word summary of information gathered, as well as your decision based on this information. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.

Life Insurance

Life insurance can be used to hedge against future risk of financial loss to others (beneficiaries) due to your (policy holder’s) death. But do you need life insurance, and if you do, how much do you need? Read Chapter 12 and use the methods defined (“The Easy Method,” The DINK Method,” “The Non-Working Spouse Method,” and/or “The Family Need Method) as appropriate to conduct your assessment. Determine whether you need life insurance. Then estimate how much, if any, life insurance you should carry. Should you use “term” or “whole life” to meet your needs? What other life insurance products could you use to meet your financial goals? What is the potential that your life insurance needs will change over your life? What would be a good strategy to deal with that change? Determine what would be best for you now and in the future. Did this process reveal something new to you? Post to the discussion board a 200 word summary of your decision and what you learned from the experience. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.

Week 4

Budgeting and Investment

Read the Financial Planning Case at the end of Chapter 13, “First Budget, Then Invest for Success!” Answer the three questions listed below. Post your position in the discussion board in at least 200 words. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.

How would you rate the financial status of the Garners before the air conditioner broke down?

The Garners’ take-home pay is over $4,500 a month. Yet, after all expenses are paid, there is only a $220 surplus each month. Based on the information presented in this case, what expenses, if any, seem out of line and could be reduced to increase the surplus at the end of the month?

Given that both Joe and Mary Garner are in their mid-30s and want to retire when they reach age 65, what type of investment goals would be most appropriate for them?

Debt Reduction

You read in Chapter 13 that it is vital to reduce your credit card balances and other consumer credit before beginning an investment program. You also need to start an emergency fund in case of immediate need. Why do financial advisers make such recommendations? Why should you reduce spending on credit before investing? Why shouldn’t you carry large consumer debt and invest at the same time?

Week 5

Real Estate Investments

Despite the crash of 2008 and 2009, real estate remains a solid investment over time. Why might this be the case? What is it about real estate that makes it a good investment? What kinds of real estate investment vehicles exist, and what are the characteristics of those vehicles? How do you, or could you, use real estate in your portfolio? Your 200 word answer should focus on selecting the most relevant factors and the investment potential of various types of real estate. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.

Estate Planning

What is estate planning and why do I need it (or not)? What elements are contained in an estate plan? Do I need an attorney to help me prepare an estate plan? What is a trust and how is it used? Can I use life insurance to help me fund a trust? Do I need a will? What could happen to my estate if I die without a will? Why is it that so few people do estate planning? Post to the discussion board your 200 word answer to these questions. Respond to at least two of your classmates’ postings.

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