SCENARIO: Imagine that you are in a position where you need to move – this could be because of a change in job, a need to modify your living arrangements, or something else. In addition to searching for different housing, you want to begin saving for a specific financial goal.
You will use the Assignment Template (an Excel file) to create a budget that satisfies the scenario. You’ll also answer reflection questions related to your goals.
ASSIGNMENT: This assignment has two parts. In part 1, you will create a financial plan based on the scenario described above. You’ll use your productivity skills to organize your plan, and you’ll use your problem solving skills to determine a reasonable rate of savings to reach your goals. Finally, you’ll apply your technology skills to ensure that your budget is balanced, and expenditures (like housing) don’t exceed your employment income.
In part 2, you will answer reflection questions about the decisions you made and the skills you leveraged while building your plan.
For this assignment, you will:
- Create a budget for a financial plan using Microsoft Excel, ensuring that the information is organized, accurate, and complete.
- Identify a personal savings goal and a time frame for reaching it.
- Explain how your choice of housing will help you achieve your personal savings goal.
- Align your expenditures to support your goal.
- Reflect on how creating a step-by-step and organized approach to the assignment helps you adjust the financial priorities in your plan.
A. Assignment Guidelines
DIRECTIONS: Refer to the lists below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.
1. Creating a Financial Plan
❒ Have you populated the table cells for income, savings, housing, and other expenditures?❒ Have you selected a rate of savings that is realistic in terms of achieving your financial goal?❒ Have you verified that the sum of your expenditures (including savings) equals your employment income?❒ Have you verified that the percent column for the expenditures totals 100%?
2. Reflection Questions
❒ Have you directly answered each question that was asked?❒ Have you provided sufficient evidence to support each of your answers?❒ Have you made clear and logical connections between your conclusions and the data used in the annual budget?❒ Have you referred to the skills in this course, if required by the prompt? ❒ Have you included sufficient detail in your answers?
|ECON1010 Taking Charge of Your Economic Future||Name:|
|Unit 2 Touchstone Template||Date:|
|Amount||Percent||To increase the height of a row, hover over the bottom border of that row in the far left margin until your cursor becomes and up-down arrow. Then click and drag the bottom border to the desired row height. If you make an error, you can use the shortcut Ctrl + Z to undo it.|
|PART 1: CREATING A PERSONAL FINANCIAL PLAN||PART 2: REFLECTION QUESTIONS|
|SCENARIO: Imagine that you are in a position where you need to move—this could be because of a change in job, a need to modify your living arrangements, or something else. In addition to searching for different housing, you want to begin saving for a specific financial goal.||QUESTION 1. In step 4, you selected a time frame to achieve your savings goal. How can you tell that the time frame you chose is realistic? Explain.||Your Answer (75 words or less):|
|STEP 1: Think about the productivity strategies you’ve learned in this course. Make a mental plan for how you will break down creating your financial plan into smaller steps. Think about ways you can stay organized and be productive. With your ideas in mind, move on to step 2.||QUESTION 2. In step 5, you selected a housing option. Explain the reasons for your housing choice in terms of the following:
• The time frame needed to achieve your savings goal
• Your family’s anticipated living arrangements
• Your desired quality of life
• Any trade-off decisions
|Your Answer (75 words or less):|
|STEP 2: Choose an annual income as a starting point for your financial plan and insert the value in the ANNUAL BUDGET above. Select from the following:
• Use the provided annual income of $50,000.
• Use your current annual income.
• Use the average (or median) income of a career that you’re interested in. Consider doing a quick online search.
|QUESTION 3. In step 6, you entered more annual expenditures into the budget.
A. What process did you use to make those choices?
B. How do your expenditures align with the financial goal you selected?
|Your Answer (75 words or less):
|STEP 3: Choose a financial goal you would like to save for. It can be a short-term goal (1 to 2 years) or a long-term goal (more than 2 years). You’ll use this value in step 4. Select from the following:
• Create an emergency fund of $1,000.
• Save for a vacation that will cost $2,000.
• Save to buy a $15,000 vehicle.
• Save for a down payment of $40,000 to buy a house.
• Save $50,000 for education for you, a spouse, or a child.
|QUESTION 4. In step 1, you thought about productivity strategies that you might use to break your annual budget into smaller steps for staying organized and productive.
A. How closely did you follow the plan that you thought about?
|Your Answer (150 words or less):
|STEP 4: Now set a realistic time frame (in years) for reaching the goal in step 3. The recommended range is one to 10 years. This will yield a required rate of savings:
• To understand your savings rate ($ per year), divide your financial goal by the number of years you plan to save for it.
• Enter the result in the Savings cell of the ANNUAL BUDGET.
• Briefly describe your overall savings goal and the time to achieve it next to the ANNUAL BUDGET in the space provided.
|STEP 5: Choose a housing cost (rent or mortgage) and enter the amount in the Housing cell of the ANNUAL BUDGET. Select from the following:
• Pay an annual mortgage of $15,000 per year.
• Rent an apartment for $12,000 per year.
• Rent a room only for $9,000 per year.
• Use your current annual rent or mortgage.
|STEP 6: Fill in the other expenditure amounts in the ANNUAL BUDGET according to your preferences. Do some online research, if necessary. For this exercise, be sure to use all the income that you designated ($50,000 or otherwise). Look ahead to step 7 to see how you can use formulas to help you balance your budget as you work.|
|STEP 7: Your ANNUAL BUDGET may or may not be balanced. To check, do the following:
• Enter a formula to calculate your total expenditures. Adjust your expenditures until the total equals your annual income.
• Next, enter formulas in the percent column to calculate each expenditure as a percentage of the total expenditure.
• Finally, using your ANNUAL BUDGET as a reference, complete the REFLECTION QUESTIONS on the right side of this spreadsheet.
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