Chapter_11

New Crisis Possible, But, Not Like 2008: Geithner

“Even with the challenges in the U.S. economy, America is a ‘lucky country.’ ”

During a CNBC interview, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the market reforms after 2008 put “much more capital into the system” and “much tougher rules on risk-taking.”  He went on to say that the reforms are strong enough, if they’re not eroded, to buy this country a relatively long period of financial stability.

Although the American economy is doing relatively well and making steady progress at the present time,     a financial crisis will happen again at some point.  Still the structural reforms undertaken after 2008 can serve to mitigate any future damage.  Mr. Geithner concludes that if a financial crisis does happen in the future, the Federal Reserve and the government would need to act again.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Discuss how the economy affects the lives of the average U.S. citizen.
  • Point out specific steps the government took to stabilize the economy and the financial markets during the economic crisis that began in 2008.

Discussion Questions

  1. How does a healthy economy affect you and your family? How does a weak economy affect you and your family?
  2. At a time when many people believe the government is too involved in the lives of individuals and business, should the government take steps to stabilize the economy and financial markets during an economic downturn? Explain your answer.
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter_11, Financial Planning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Why Should I Invest?

“Simply put, you want to invest in order to create wealth.  It’s relatively painless, and the rewards are plentiful. “

This article from The Motley Fool website explains why investing is a smart idea.  The article begins with information about the importance of goals.  Then asks the question, “What are you saving for?”.  The article also explains the power of compounding and provides specific examples to illustrate how time, rate of return, and age can make a tremendous difference.

The article also summarizes 9 common pitfalls to avoid including: doing nothing, starting late, investing before paying down credit card debt, etc.

Note:  this is one of a series of articles provided by The Motley Fool website.  Hopefully, students will use this article as a starting point and will use more of the educational materials available on this site.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Stress the importance of beginning a savings and investment program sooner rather than later.
  • Explain the power of compounding examples in this article to illustrate the difference in potential returns.
  • Discuss the 9 common pitfalls that often keep people from starting a savings and investment program.

Discussion Questions

  1. What are the advantages of starting an investment program sooner rather than later?
  2. Where can you get the money you need to begin a savings and investment program?
  3. What do you consider the biggest pitfall that keeps you from starting a savings and investment program?
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter_11, Investments, Opportunity Costs, Time Value of Money | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

How Much You Have to Earn to Be Considered Middle Class in Every US State

“Pew defined middle class households as those earning 67%-200% of a state’s median income.”

A recent analysis from Pew Charitable Trusts’ Stateline blog found that the middle class shrunk in every state in the U.S. between the years of 2000 and 2013–the most recent data available.  This article by Libby Kane and Andy Kiersz also provides a detailed table that displays the median income and middle class incomes for each of the 50 states.  Finally, the information in this article points out that the definition of middle class often depends on where you live.  For example, you can feel middle class even if you earn$250,000 a year in some areas of the country which is about five times the $52,250 median income for the entire United States.

For more information, click here. 

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Discuss what it means to be middle class in the United States.
  • Stress how income relates to financial planning, investing, and the time value of money.

Discussion Questions

  1. While the median income for the United States is $52,250, the median income and the middle class incomes for each state vary. What factors account for the difference in these income amounts from one state to the next?
  2. Assume you are offered a new position within your company that will pay $6,000 more than your current annual salary. If you take the new position, you will have more responsibility and it will require that you work longer hours and travel away from home and family on a regular basis.  Do you feel the extra money is worth the changes that will be required if you take the new position?
  3. If you decide to take the new higher-paying position, what would you do with the extra money?
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter_11, Economy, Investments, Opportunity Costs | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

How This Couple Retired in Their 30s to Travel the World

This is a very interesting interview that describes how one young couple decided to take charge of their finances, pay off their debts, and accumulate a nest egg to fund an early retirement.    

When Jeremy graduated from college, he started working for Motorola and earned $40,000 a year.  But his desire to keep up with his friends, family, and co-workers led him to buy a new car and a three-bedroom home.  He was quickly in debt, but fortunately he realized he wanted to live debt free.

Using an interview format, this article describes the steps Jeremy (38) and Winnie (33) took to save enough money to retire while they were in their 30s.  It also describes their current lifestyle and how they spend their money and time since they retired.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Explore why people often feel the need to keep up with friends, family, and co-workers.
  • Discuss the specific steps that Jeremy and Winnie took to take control of their finances.

Discussion Questions

  1. What steps did Jeremy and Winnie take to get out of debt? Would you be willing to take these steps in order to live debt free?
  2. Once Jeremy and Winnie were debt free, what techniques did they use to save and invest their money?
  3. Jeremy and Winnie retired in their 30s. Does the idea of retiring in your 30s or 40s, or 50s appeal to you?  Explain your answer.
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter_11, Investments, Opportunity Costs, Retirement Planning, Time Value of Money | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Inside Warren Buffett’s Childhood Home

“Within these hallowed halls live the memories of Buffett buying his first stock–six shares of Cities Service.” 

Warren Buffett is known for being frugal.  His conservative, frugal nature may have started in his childhood home.  This article provides a link to a video that provides a bit of history about Warren Buffett and allows you to tour the home where Buffett bought his first stock–six shares of Cities Service.  It’s also the place where he cooked up one of his first business plans to buy a six-pack of Coca-Cola for a quarter and sell sodas for a nickel each.  Take a look and enjoy a bit of history about the second-richest man in America.

For more information, click here. 

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Explore some of the reasons why Warren Buffett has been successful not only in investing, but also in life.

Discussion Questions

  1. Warren Buffett started investing when he was very young. He purchased six shares of Cities Service stock.  From that first investment, he went on to build an empire.  What advice do you think Mr. Buffett would give a beginning investor today?
  2. Mr. Buffett is so rich that he could buy just about anything in the world. And yet, he is still known for being frugal.  How do you think this frugal nature affects his investment philosophy and his lifestyle?
Categories: Chapter_11, Investments | Tags: , | Leave a comment

3 Ways to Diversify Retirement Savings Beyond Stocks

“Reluctant to put more of your hard-earned money aboard the roller coaster known as the stock market?  Then it may be a good idea to diversify your retirement savings with other assets, which can reduce your overall risk.”

In this article, Cliff Goldstein suggests three different alternatives that could help you increase the diversification in your investment portfolio.  Of course each investment alternative–real estate, peer-to-peer lending, and precious metals–comes with risks that should be carefully considered before making any decisions.  Along with the potential risks for each investment, the advantages of each investment  alternative are described in this article.

For more information, click here

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Reinforce why investors should use asset allocation to diversify their investments.
  • Point out the reasons why some people choose real estate, peer-to-peer lending, and precious metals in place of or in addition to more traditional investment alternatives.

Discussion Questions

  1. Pick one of the investment alternatives in this article–real estate, peer-to-peer lending, or precious metals. What are the advantages of the investment you chose?  What are the disadvantages of the same investment?

2.  Assuming you had $75,000 to invest.  Would you use one of the three investment alternatives described in this article or would you prefer a more traditional investment in stocks, bonds, or mutual funds?  Explain your answer.

Categories: Chapter_11, Investments | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Newly Married with $52,000 of Debt

My Wife and I Never Discussed Money Before Getting Married–and Ended Up with $52,000 of Debt

Prior to tallying up our debt, we’d talked about traveling internationally, starting a family, and, some day retiring comfortably. There was so much we wanted out of life, but . . .”

This is an excellent article that describes what can happen when a soon-to-be-married couple doesn’t talk about finances.  Fortunately, the two people in this article–Deacon and Kim Hayes–realized they had a problem and then took steps to get their finances back on track.

Specific steps this couple took can make a big difference over time.  Among the suggestions included in this article are:

  • Writing down all your assets, debts, income, and expenses.
  • Prepare a budget and review each item for opportunities to save money.
  • Replacing a newer, expensive car with an older car.
  • Selling unwanted or unneeded items online.
  • Using any extra money to repay debt.
  • Establishing an emergency fund.
  • Saving and investing a specific amount each month.

Consider This:  Deacon Hayes–the author of this article–became a financial planner and now shares his story with his clients.

For more information, Click Here

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Discuss why engaged couples need to discuss their finances before they get married.
  • Stress how easy it is to get in debt and how hard and how much time it takes to get out of debt.

Discussion Questions

  1. Assume you are dating someone who seems to spend more than they make. In this situation, would you continue to date this person?  Explain your answer.
  2. One of the suggestions included in this article is that people write down their assets, debts, income, and expenses. How can this suggestion help a young-married couple plan their financial future?
  3. Assume you have credit card debts and an automobile loan that total $75,000. What specific steps can you take to reduce or eliminate your debt?
Categories: Budget, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 5, Chapter_11, Debt, Financial Planning, Financial Planning Topics, Investments, Savings | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raise a Glass and Toast the U.S. Economy in 2015

According to Mark Hamrick, Washington Bureau Chief, at Bankrate.com, “We go into 2015 and put the very bitter memory of 2007, 2008 behind us.”

With the national unemployment rate down to 5.8 percent, 2015 should be a good year for the economy.  According to Hamrick, “The economy has really done a great job of damage repair, with acceleration here recently with the quality of jobs being added.”  This trend will continue as employers are expected to continue adding workers in 2015 at a monthly pace of about 200,000 each month.

In addition to a lower unemployment rate, projected U.S. economic growth of nearly 3 percent over the next 12 months and stock prices near record highs should continue to fuel the nation’s economy.  On the down side, expect the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates around June 2015.  Also, there is the unknown factors of political and social unrest around the world and the typical global economic problems that could be a drag on the economy.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

Note:  There is a 2 minute video that accompanies this article that you may to use as part of your classroom presentation.

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Discuss the current state of the economy.
  • Explain why unemployment rates, interest rates, political and social unrest, and global economic problems can affect the U.S. economy.

Discussion Questions

  1. Although many economists and investors are enjoying the economic recovery over the last few years, many individuals do not share the same optimism. How do you feel about the nation’s economy?
  2. Are you optimistic about your own economic future? What specific steps can you take to improve your personal economic future?
Categories: Chapter 1, Chapter_11, Economy, Financial Planning | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

5 Questions to Help You Get Your Financial Life in Order

“Rather than making resolutions . . . try answering the following five questions today, with a plan to answer them again when 2015 comes to a close.”

In this MarketWatch article, Chuck Jaffe poses the following 5 questions to help people gauge their financial health.

  1. What’s your net worth?
  2. How many times your current (or last) salary do you have in retirement savings?
  3. What’s your debt-payment burden?
  4. If you don’t see the next New Year, what would happen to your family financially?
  5. When reviewing your finances, what is the single thing that makes you feel the best? The worst?

In addition to the questions, Mr. Jaffe also provides information that can be used to improve a person’s answers  to each question with the goal of helping people manage their personal finances and improve their financial life.

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to

  • Discuss each question with your students and explain how their answers can impact their personal financial decision making and financial security?
  • Ask students to answer one or more of the questions in this article as an assignment.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is your net worth, salary, savings, and debt-payment burden important?
  2. What implications does the question “If you don’t see the next New Year, what would happen to your family financially?” have on your financial planning activities?
  3. When you look at your finances, what makes you feel good and what makes you feel bad? Based on your answer, what can you do to change your answers to this question?
Categories: Chapter 2, Chapter_11, Financial Planning, Savings, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

52-Week Money Challenge

Do you want to take the 52-Week Money Challenge? 

Before saying no, consider it is a simple way to accumulate $1,378 over the next year.  Before saying yes, realize that while it is easy to save small amounts at the beginning of the year, it becomes increasingly harder to save larger amounts at the end of the year on a weekly basis.   Take a look at the table below to see how your money accumulates each week.

image source

For more information, click here.

Teaching Suggestions

You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to:

  • Stress that even small amounts of money over time can increase the amount available for savings or investing.
  • Discuss how monitoring your spending habits can “find” the money that can be used for savings and investing.
  • Talk about the need for financial discipline when managing, saving, and investing your money.

Discussion Questions

  1. In the above table, you begin by depositing $1 the first week, then each week, the amount you save increases. Where can you find the money needed to fund this type of savings program–especially toward the end of the year?
  2. Assuming you achieved the 52-week challenge and you now have $1,378 dollars in the bank. Would you leave it in the bank, pay your bills, or invest the money?  Justify your choice.
  3. After completing one 52-week challenge, would you take another money challenge? Why or Why Not?

 

Categories: Chapter 4, Chapter_11, Financial Planning, Investments, Savings | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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