Read the introduction and all 12 chapters in Mastering Money.
The essay needs to be at least 2,500 words (I will check) but if you are aiming for an A, I expect 7-10 pages. You need to address all the questions.
After reading this material, do the following and answer the questions that follow. Feel free to add more to it.
Do this first: :
Put together a budget to start using it in February-April. You can either use my spreadsheet or anything else you find online. You can use an app, such as Mint or Personal Capital. Feel free to attach the budget to the essay if you want my feedback.
Sign up for Credit Karma or a similar type of app, like Experian if you do not have an account yet and download the app on your phone so you can always check it when needed. Look at your credit report.
Write down all the debt you have, including the monthly minimum payment and the interest rate for each account.
What is important in your life, big house, new car, travel? Anything goes. I want to see a full paragraph (rather than one sentence) on this.
Do you currently have a budget? How do you keep track of your money coming in and going out? There is no shame in saying no, I do not have a budget right now.
Do you live with your parents now, roommates or on your own? If you are still under 25 or so, single and moved out on your own, do you regret doing it or would do it again (financially)? If you no longer live at home: What were the most unexpected expenses, you had when moving out? Would you do anything differently now?
Are you happy with your credit score? If not, what is causing it to be lower than you would want it to be and what are you planning to do to increase it? If yes, why do you think you have such a good credit score and what will you do in the future to keep it like this?
Are you thinking about getting a new credit card? Which one would you like, for bonus points, cash back, something else? Use https://www.nerdwallet.com/credit-cards?trk=nw_gn_4.0(Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.(Links to an external site.)(Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.)to research and find the best one.
If you have any debt, what is your payoff plan? Are you going to pay the min, more, in which order? Describe the plan to me.
What was your attitude about investments before and after you read the chapter on investments? What types of accounts do you want to open? What types of investments do you want to do? The more specific, the better.
Is there any type of insurance you think you need and do not have now? Any type that you have but need to change? Specifics, please. If you have car insurance, do you know how it works if you have an accident?
How do you do your taxes? Yourself? Accountant? Parents? What do you think about doing your own taxes?
Do you have (or your partner has) or do you think you will have any student loans in the future (for any degree, undergrad or graduate). If the answer is no, please move on to the next question. If yes, how much do you think you will have when you graduate with your undergrad? How about your grad degree if you plan on one? Use an online calculator to estimate your payment for the 10-year standard repayment plan. Are you comfortable with that number?
If you were to start your degree from the very beginning, what would you do differently? Majors, where you choose to go to school, anything that might impact your finances short and long term.
Let’s buy a house now. Please find one you would like to live in on a website like Redfin and figure out how much you need for a down payment, closing costs and what your monthly payment will be. How much would you have to save per month and for how many years to make the house purchase a reality? Are you surprised at the number? Do you still want to buy a house?
Go to http://www.xyplanningnetwork.com/consumer/find-advisor/and figure out who you would want to hire as your adviser (you cannot say me). Why did you decide to go with this person? Keep this person in mind for the future if you ever need help.
When you think about your personal happiness and how it relates to money, what is “your number”? In other words, what income do you think you need to make per year to be happy and why? Also, what form of material things would increase your happiness? A special car? House? I want you to put a number on your happiness.
Now that you are almost done with the class, what is the ONE most important think you will remember from this class?