Personal Finance

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Description

About This Course

Do you have clear financial goals? Do you know if you have enough money to buy a car or house, if you can afford to take a cut in pay in order to go back to school, if you will have enough money to retire?

Do you know how much tax you will be expected to pay this year and next, or what you might be able to do right now that will lower your tax long into the future? Do you have enough insurance? Have you developed a household budget and are you sticking to it?

Will your assets be passed to your chosen heirs when you die? Do you know how your creditors judge you and do you know how to change your credit report to reduce your expenses and increase your financial security?

A…

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About This Course

Do you have clear financial goals? Do you know if you have enough money to buy a car or house, if you can afford to take a cut in pay in order to go back to school, if you will have enough money to retire?

Do you know how much tax you will be expected to pay this year and next, or what you might be able to do right now that will lower your tax long into the future? Do you have enough insurance? Have you developed a household budget and are you sticking to it?

Will your assets be passed to your chosen heirs when you die? Do you know how your creditors judge you and do you know how to change your credit report to reduce your expenses and increase your financial security?

Are you confident you can choose stocks and mutual funds wisely and do you know how to decide how much money you should allocate to these types of investments? Do you know how to keep good financial records and do you know which types of records you should keep and for how long?

If your answer to any of these questions is "No," you need this course. This course will prepare you for a lifetime of worthwhile personal financial planning. The tools you will learn are useful, realistic, and easy to work into your regular routine. They will help you gain control over the financial impact of the choices you make.

You'll learn to create and use a budget, borrow and invest wisely, make intelligent decisions about insurance, and plan for your financial future. You'll develop a retirement savings plan, and you'll be better prepared to make large purchases and plan for taxes. You'll learn the essentials of household bookkeeping, record-keeping requirements, and much, much more.

Course Revised April 2013

About The Instructor

This course includes a knowledgeable and caring instructor who will guide you through your lessons, facilitate discussions, and answer your questions. The instructor for this course will be Matt Crabtree.

Matt Crabtree earned his Bachelor of Science in Business, Information Systems Management, in 1999 and a mini MBA certificate from The School of Management at Yale University in 2004. After many years in project management, office management, and business sales, Matt began training individuals and organizations in areas of business finance, leadership development, successful negotiations, sales management, and customer service excellence. Matt has trained individuals and various units within the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as corporate organizations including IBM (technology), Accuray (healthcare-technology), and Gen-Probe (molecular diagnostics). Matt is registered as a securities broker with the Financial Authority Regulation Authority (FINRA) and with the U.S. stock exchanges (NYSE and NASDAQ) and as an investment advisor with FINRA. Matt's natural aptitude for explaining his material in an easy-to-understand and enjoyable manner allows each student to gain insights into areas that are often considered challenging.

Syllabus

A new section of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week 1

Wednesday - Lesson 01

Throughout this course, you'll learn how to use basic financial planning tools that you can work into your everyday routine. In this first lesson, you'll examine your personal finances as they are today, set some basic financial goals, learn how to keep track of your finances, and gain some knowledge of record-keeping requirements. You'll learn how to assess your current financial position. The information you compile during this lesson, and the methods you use to retain and store that information, can set the tone of your financial record-keeping for the rest of your life.

Friday - Lesson 02

If you think about your cash flow in terms of how to best control the money that comes in and goes out of your life, you may discover that you have many opportunities to improve your financial situation. In this lesson, you'll learn how you can control certain aspects of your income collection and disbursement through daily financial events. We'll talk about methods for increasing the amount of money at your disposal, saving money when paying your bills, and reducing your tax burden. You'll learn many ways to save money with your day-to-day financial activities.

Week 2

Wednesday - Lesson 03

Don't be discouraged if your credit history is marred. Despite what you might think, you can establish good credit, control your credit rating so it remains positive, and repair a bad credit rating. Today, you'll learn how to read your credit history, correct errors in your credit reports, and improve your credit so that you're a good risk to potential lenders. Find out what creditors look at when they judge your credit, and how you can check your own credit rating for free.

Friday - Lesson 04

Whether you intend to borrow money for a long term (as you might with a mortgage on a house), a medium term (such as a loan for a car or a college education), or a short term (such as using a credit card to pay for a dinner at a restaurant or your weekly groceries), there are factors about borrowing that you should consider. In this lesson, you'll get the tools to make informed decisions about borrowing. You'll learn about the concept of points or loan origination fees, as well as what loan-related items you can negotiate. Discover the concept of compound interest, and understand that the interest rate you see on advertised loans is not always the interest rate you pay. You'll also learn about where you can go to borrow money and how you can use the Internet to find out more about borrowing. Finally, you'll find out how borrowing money can actually benefit you when tax time comes.

Week 3

Wednesday - Lesson 05

In the most popular lesson of the course, you'll learn how you can create a workable budget and, more importantly, how you can make it stick. A budget is not difficult to make, and it's not difficult to follow. In fact, people who use budgets find they can talk about their finances and their financial goals more comfortably because they have a thorough knowledge of what they can actually achieve. A budget is like a playbook for the future. Today, you'll learn how to create a budget that's flexible enough to meet the changes you encounter in life, and durable enough to help you achieve a lifetime of financial goals.

Friday - Lesson 06

In this lesson, you'll learn about the different types of mutual funds, criteria for choosing a fund, how much to invest, the importance of timing your investments, when to sell, and the tax effects of your investment. You'll find out the advantages to investing in mutual funds, including diversification, the opportunity to take advantage of a fund manager and a research team's expertise, the small minimum investment required to enter a fund, and the ease with which you can make regular investments. We'll also talk about what you need to watch out for when investing in mutual funds.

Week 4

Wednesday - Lesson 07

Today, you'll learn how to choose a financial advisor. You'll find out why it's so important to follow the performance of your investments, and you'll discover how to manage your portfolio. In addition, we'll talk about the tax effects of buying and selling investments and how you can manage the amount of tax you pay on those transactions. You'll also learn how to compare companies that you want to invest in.

Friday - Lesson 08

If you want to invest, there are several different types of opportunities available to you. In this lesson, you'll explore some of the places beyond stocks and mutual funds where you can invest your money, including interest-bearing accounts, bonds, commodities, precious metals, and collectibles. You'll discover that you can begin investing with a very small amount of money, and you'll find out how to familiarize yourself with different types of investments before putting your money at risk.

Week 5

Wednesday - Lesson 09

Today, you'll get acquainted with the many types of insurance and how the purchase of insurance should fit into your overall financial plan. We'll discuss life, health, automobile, and property insurance. Your needs for insurance change throughout your life, so you'll learn how and when to reassess your insurance coverage. I'll give you some tips on dealing with insurance agents and shopping around for the best value and the best coverage. You'll also learn how to save money on existing insurance policies.

Friday - Lesson 10

Retirement might seem like it's a long way off, but it's never too early to start thinking about it. In this lesson, you'll get familiar with the various types of retirement funds available to employees, business owners, and individuals; and you'll learn about putting money into retirement funds, overseeing the investments in those funds, and when and how to take money out of your funds. You'll also find out how the Social Security system works, and we'll discuss the tax effects of retirement contributions and distributions.

Week 6

Wednesday - Lesson 11

There are certain occasions in life that require a major cash outlay. Events like weddings, purchasing a house or a car, or going to college require planning and saving. In this lesson, I'll give you tips for estimating the costs of major purchases, as well as techniques for saving and borrowing to finance these expenses. You'll also see what tax benefits are available when you incur these large expenses. You'll learn about some of the different options for parents and students who are planning on, or are already attending, college. And you'll discover what factors to consider when deciding whether to purchase or lease a vehicle.

Friday - Lesson 12

In the final lesson of the course, you'll learn about estate planning and some of the basic rules that will guide you in making important decisions. We'll talk about the legal fees associated with the preparation of a will, and you'll get some pointers for choosing the right lawyer for the job. In addition, you'll get an introduction to inheritance and estate taxes, trusts, and other means of protecting your assets, as well as information about the duties of an executor for your estate.


Requirements

Internet access, e-mail, the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser, and the Adobe Flash and PDF plug-ins (two free and simple downloads you obtain at Adobe Downloads by clicking Get Adobe Flash Player and Get Adobe Reader).

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