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Course Introduction

The purpose of this course is to help you plan and prepare for not only a successful career, but a successful life as well. There is more to life than your career. You will be very disappointed in life if you achieve your financial goals at the expense of your personal and spiritual goals. Likewise, you will be disappointed in life if you fail to steward your resources to the extent you are not able to accomplish your personal goals due to the lack of financial resources. In this class we will show how the financial decisions you make impact your abilities to achieve your personal and spiritual goals. President Gordon B. Hinckley wrote: “Without preservation and cultivation of the things spiritual, our material success will be as ashes in our mouths” (Standing for Something, Times Books, New York, p. 112).

If you are married, I strongly encourage you to work with your spouse as you learn the material and develop your personal financial plan (PFP). Encourage your spouse to participate in learning this material, and seek his/her help in the preparation of your personal financial plan. (Your spouse can help do the work and you get the credit!) A recommended reading schedule for spouses and friends is available at the end of this syllabus. Readings are all available on the CD and on the Internet. I also recommend you do the Optional Service Teaching by teaching your spouse areas you think important.

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FIN 200; any business major status.

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Course Materials

BYU Custom CD (for PC) Quicken 2012 w/ Personal Finance CD

Required Materials

Please purchase the packet from the Bookstore, which includes the e-book. Personal Finance: Another Perspective (Sudweeks, 2008), Teaching Tools, Required Readings, and Quicken 2010 Deluxe Edition.

Note: You will need Internet access to successfully complete this course.

In addition to materials on the CD, you can find the eBook, PowerPoint slides, readings, and teaching tools at the Marriott School Personal Finance Web site. For example, look under Tools and Resources, Teacher Resources, and Previous Semester.

Recommended Study Habits

To do well in this class, I recommend:

  1. Understand the objectives for each lesson and read the assigned chapters and readings. The objectives are the things I consider important for you to understand. The assigned chapters support those objectives. I realize that we all are at different levels of knowledge of personal finance, and only you know where you are. If you are comfortable with the learning outcomes, feel free to skim the assigned chapters and readings.
  2. Take notes when you read. Be proactive in your learning. Take notes, ask questions, and be an active learner. Remember that you can use an 8.5" x 11" note sheet to help you as you prepare for the Final Exam, so prepare it as you read.
  3. Do the case studies at the end of each chapter. While understanding the review questions may be helpful, the most important area is application. Understand how to perform the necessary case study calculations and apply the material to real-life examples.
  4. Look ahead to know what is due, and don’t put things off. Many of the assignments require more effort than others, and so the sooner you start, the better off you will be. Make a plan and a schedule for completing this course. Please do not put off the teaching experience, readings, or the PFP until the last minute.

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Learning Activities

These are the activities you will complete during this course.


The readings for this course are included on the CD and on the Personal Finance Web site. The readings cover the information you need to successfully complete the course. Online courses are challenging, but can be very helpful. I have found that students generally get out of this class what they put into it. Do not short change yourself by skipping the reading.

Non-graded Quizzes/Case Studies

I recommend that you complete the Quiz/Case Studies concerning the assigned chapters and readings. Case Studies give you the opportunity to apply the tools you have learned to real personal finance situations. This process will refine your capacity to identify problems, develop recommendations, and defend conclusions. Be prepared to address the goals, calculations, and the conclusions from the case analysis, as well as answer any explicit questions required in the case. I will give you the case studies with the answers to help with this process.

Your Personal Financial Plan

You will create and develop your own personal financial plan—your financial roadmap for life—during the course. At the end of the course, you will turn in your PFP for grading. You can think of this Plan as a summary of the major sections of the course, or as your own personal road map to financial and personal success. This is a critical part of this course, and failure to hand in this plan will result in a grade no higher than a C.

Key to your personal financial plan is your own personal and financial goals. Please note that I will not be grading your goals; rather, I will be grading the effort you have put into developing and articulating those goals. Since effort is subjective, you have the option to grade your goals before you hand them in, with the final grade being a weighted average of 30% your grade and 70% mine.

The format for the Plan should include your current situation, i.e., where you are now, and your action plan, where you should be and how you intend to get there for each section. For example, if the topic is life insurance, you would discuss in detail what life insurance you currently have, what company, limits, riders, etc. Your action plan would include what insurance you should have (if it is different from your current policy), and what you plan to do to get adequate life insurance coverage. The key is what you need to do, and that is covered in your action plan. Please note that there is a separate Table of Contents for international students.

The plan should be in an electronic format (.PDF or .RTF), well organized, include applicable spreadsheets, and be helpful to you after you finish this course. A template for the format of each section and examples of completed financial plans is on your class CD and the Marriott School personal finance Web site, under the Learning Tools section (TT01 andTT02) There is no specified length for the financial plan. I strongly encourage you to work on your financial plan with your spouse, parent, or trusted friend. In addition, I strongly encourage you to start working on it now and not put it off until the end of the course.

Important! You will be required to submit the assignment electronically rather than in the 3-ring binder suggested in the Marriott School personal finance plan.

Service Teaching Report

Since my goal is for you to become better teachers, as part of this class you will find an opportunity where you can share a part of the things learned in this class with others. You will develop an outline of what you are to teach, prepare a PowerPoint or other presentation software presentation, and then write up and hand in the results of that presentation, documenting what you taught, who you taught it to, the results of that teaching experience, and any learning outcome that the individuals made from your presentation. This should entail at minimum three hours of service teaching (in three separate 50–60 minute periods). You will turn this material in with your Personal Financial Plan.

Formatting Your Assignments

You will submit your completed assignments to Independent Study electronically through BrainHoney. To make sure that I can open and read your paper, please save them in the following file formats:

Here is how to save your document as an .RTF (rich text format) file:

  1. Type your paper in a word-processing program (such as Microsoft Word).
  2. When you save the file, click the Save as type: drop-down list.
  3. Select Rich Text Format (*.rtf).
  4. Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename. For example, “FIN418_KimJones_PersonalFinancialPlan.rtf.”
  5. Click Save.

Here is how to save your document as an Adobe Acrobat (.PDF format) file:

  1. Type your paper in a word-processing program (such as Microsoft Word).
  2. When you save the file, click the Save as type: drop-down list.
  3. Select PDF (*.pdf).
  4. Use the course number, your first and last name, and the assignment name for the filename. For example, “FIN418_KimJones_PersonalFinancialPlan.rtf.”
  5. Click Save.

Note: You may also “print” your document to Adobe Acrobat. Do the steps you normally would to print a document, but instead of using your printer, select “Adobe PDF.” You will then have the option to specify what to name it and where to save it. Sometimes this method works better than “saving as” a .PDF file.

Submitting Your Assignments

It’s very important that you submit all of the assignments for a portfolio at the same time. Here’s how to submit your completed portfolio assignments:

  1. Click the Portfolio Submission link in your course.
  2. Click Open.
  3. Attach all of the relevant assignments by clicking the Choose File button, then locating the file you wish to submit.
  4. To attach additional files, click Add Attachment and use the Choose File button to locate and upload the next file. Make sure you attach every file you need to include in the portfolio assignment.
  5. When you are finished, click Submit.
  6. You will be asked if you are sure you want to submit this assignment. Click Yes.
  7. You will receive a message that tells you that you have successfully submitted your assignment. Click OK.

Remember: Do not submit any assignment until you have completed all of the assignments for the portfolio!

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Final Exam

There will be one final assessment exam in this course. The questions will come from the text, case studies, and course material. The format of the exam will be workout problems, mini-cases, and perhaps a few multiple-choice questions. Workout problems will be direct and self-explanatory, similar to problems discussed in class and from the homework. The exam will be closed to all class materials (i.e., book, Teaching Tools, and PowerPoints). I do allow one 8.5” x 11” page of notes, printed one side, which you will hand in with the exam.

Your Personal Financial Plan and Service Teaching Report

You will create and develop your own personal financial plan—your financial roadmap for life—during the course. You can think of this Plan as a summary of the major sections of the course, or as your own personal road map to financial and personal success. At the end of the course, but before you take the final exam, you will turn in your PFP and Service Teaching Report for grading.

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Grading will be based on these criteria:

Final Exam: 50%
Personal Financial Plan + Service Teaching Report: 50%
Total: 100%

Grade Scale

A 100–96
A- 95–91
B+ 90–86
B 85–81
B- 80–76
C+ 75–71
C 70–66
C- 65–61
D+ 60–56
D 55–51
D- 50–46
E 45–0

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Copyright Notice

The materials used in connection with this online course are only for the use of students enrolled in this course for purposes associated with this course and may not be retained or further disseminated. Any copying or further dissemination of these materials may be subject to applicable U.S. Copyright Laws. For questions or more information, please visit the BYU Copyright Licensing Office website.

“Members of the BYU community who willfully disregard this Copyright Policy or the BYU Copyright Guidelines place themselves individually at risk of legal action and may incur personal liability for their conduct. The unauthorized use or distribution of copyrighted material, including unauthorized peer-to-peer file sharing, may subject individuals to civil and criminal liabilities, including actual and statutory damages, costs and fees of litigation, fines, and imprisonment

Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)

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University Policy - Title IX Statement

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

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Accessibility Notice

BYU is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates persons with disabilities who are otherwise qualified to participate in BYU's programs and activities. In this spirit, BYU Independent Study aspires to improve web accessibility for users. While not required by law, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Levels A and AA provide a wide range of helpful recommendations to make Web content more accessible. BYU Independent Study strives to apply WCAG 2.0 recommendations where feasible, but may deviate from any recommendations that would result in an undue hardship to BYU Independent Study or alterations to program and course content and objectives. If you have questions about accessibility, or if you need to report problems with any accessibility features please see our Accessibilities and Accommodations Web Page.

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Course Policies

These policies are specific to this course. For additional information about general policies, please refer to Independent Study Course Policies page.


1 written assignment, may be resubmitted once for a fee

Resubmit an assignment for a fee.


1 proctored computer-graded exam, may retake once for a fee, must pass the final in order to pass the course

Retake an exam for a fee.

Getting Help

Please use the help menu in this course to contact Independent Study or your instructor. You can find a list of free tutors available to BYU Independent Study students on the Free Tutoring Services website.

Note: The Harold B. Lee Library website provides a number of online resources and librarians are available via phone, chat, and email to answer questions about library-related issues.

Inappropriate Use of Course Content

All course materials (e.g., outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, media, lecture content, audio and video recordings, etc.) are proprietary. Students are prohibited from posting or selling any such course materials without the express written permission of BYU Independent Study. To do so is a violation of the Brigham Young University Honor Code.

Copyright © 2016 Brigham Young University. All rights reserved.

Published by the
Department of Independent Study
Division of Continuing Education
Brigham Young University
120 MORC
Provo, Utah 84602-1514