Creating a personal financial plan | Econ 1010 | Strayer University–Augusta

 

Touchstones are projects that illustrate your comprehension of the course material, help you refine skills, and demonstrate application of knowledge. You can work on a Touchstone anytime, but you can’t submit it until you have completed the unit’s Challenges. Once you’ve submitted a Touchstone, it will be graded and counted toward your final course score.

We all have financial goals – buying or renting a home, purchasing a car, paying off a loan, or saving up for a vacation. And it can be challenging to figure out exactly how to save toward these goals, given the numerous expenses of daily living. A financial plan helps you identify how you can reach your short-term and long-term goals and leverage planning and organization strategies to make meaningful, incremental progress toward realizing these goals.

Your goal for this assignment is to build your productivity skill by creating a plan for reaching a specific financial goal within an identified time frame. You will use productivity strategies to break financial planning into manageable, organized steps. You will use Microsoft Excel to develop a realistic plan aligned to your financial goal – one that considers economic drivers, requirements, and resources. If you need a refresher on spreadsheets like Excel, review the tutorials in Unit 1, Challenge 3 of this course.

Touchstone: Creating a Personal Financial Plan

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.

Download the Excel template below, which further breaks down the steps involved in this assignment. You will return the completed template as your Touchstone submission.

Assignment Template

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?

B. Rubric

Advanced (90-100%)Proficient (80-89%)Acceptable (70-79%)Needs Improvement (50-69%)Non-Performance (0-49%)

Setting Up the Budget (P1S2-P1S5)

Enter values in the annual budget for income, housing, and required savings rate based on the chosen savings goal.Annual budget includes income, housing, and a savings rate. The savings rate is calculated correctly based on one of the given financial goals and the chosen time frame. Goal has been described clearly.Annual budget includes income, housing, and a savings rate. The savings rate is calculated correctly based on one of the given financial goals and the chosen time frame. Goal could use more description.Annual budget includes income, housing, and a savings rate but the values do not match what was given. The savings rate is calculated correctly based on the chosen goal and time frame. Goal was described.Annual budget includes information for income and housing, but the values do not match what was given. The savings rate is calculated incorrectly based on the given financial goals, but still usable for the activity.Annual budget is missing information for income and housing, and the savings rate is calculated incorrectly based on the given financial goals. Goal was not described at all.

Expenditures and Formulas (P1S6, P1S7)

Enter all expenditures in the annual budget, use formulas to balance expenditures with income, and use formulas to compute the percentages.All expenditure cells are populated, all formulas were used correctly, income equals expenditure totals, and all the percentages are populated and accurate.Most expenditure cells are populated, formulas were used correctly, income equals expenditure totals, and the percentages are populated and mostly accurate.Most expenditure cells are populated, some formulas were used correctly, income nearly equals expenditure totals, and the percentages are populated and mostly accurate.Some expenditure cells are populated, formulas were used incorrectly, income does not equal expenditure totals, and the percentages are populated but some are inaccurate.Not many expenditure cells are populated, formulas were not used, income does not equal expenditure totals, and the percentages are largely missing.

Selecting a Savings Rate (P2Q1)

Describe why your selected time frame to reach the savings goal is realistic. (75 words or less)Clearly describes why the selected time frame is realistic, tightly aligning the rationale to the original goal and the savings rate. Accurately compares savings to other expenditures.Mostly describes why the selected time frame is realistic, aligning the rationale to the original goal and the savings rate. Compares savings to other expenditures.Mostly describes why the selected time frame is realistic, loosely aligning the rationale to the original goal and the savings rate. Somewhat compares savings to other expenditures.Inaccurately describes why the selected time frame is realistic, loosely aligning the rationale to the original goal and the savings rate. Does not discuss the savings rate or any other annual expenditures.Does not describe why the selected time frame is realistic and does not give any rationale as evidence. Does not discuss the savings rate or any other annual expenditures.

Choosing a Housing Option (P2Q2)

Explain your housing choice in terms of the savings goal, your family situation, desired quality of life, and trade-offs. (75 words or less)Clearly explains the housing choice, tightly aligning the rationale to the savings goal, family goals, and quality of life. Accurately compares housing costs to other expenditures.Mostly explains the housing choice, aligning the rationale to the savings goal, family goals, and quality of life. Compares housing costs to other expenditures.Mostly explains the housing choice, loosely aligning the rationale to the savings goal, family goals, and quality of life. Compares housing costs to other expenditures.Loosely explains the housing choice, but does not align the rationale to the savings goal, family goals, or quality of life. Inaccurately compares housing costs to other expenditures.Does not clearly explain the housing choice and does not give any rationale as evidence. References to the savings goal, family goals, and quality of life are incoherent. Does not compare housing costs to other expenditures.

Detailing Expenditures (P2Q3)

Communicate your process for populating the annual budget with expenditures, and relate the steps you took to reach your selected savings goal. (75 words or less)Clearly describes the iterative process for populating the savings rate and other expenditures based on embedded, accurate formulas.Mostly describes the iterative process for populating the savings rate and other expenditures based on embedded, accurate formulas.Mostly describes the process for populating the savings rate and other expenditures. Leaves out some important technical details.Loosely describes the process for populating the savings rate and other expenditures. Leaves out many important technical details.Describes an invalid process for populating the savings rate and other expenditures. Provides no technical details.

Applying Productivity Strategies (P2Q4)

Compare your finished budget to your original productivity plan, give reasons for taking a step-by-step approach, and relate strategies used back to the course content. (150 words or less)Provides vivid examples of how the finished budget aligns to the original productivity plan and gives strong reasons for taking an iterative approach. References to course content are thorough and on point.Provides vivid examples of how the finished budget aligns to the original productivity plan and gives acceptable reasons for taking an iterative approach. References to course content are acceptable.Provides acceptable examples of how the finished budget aligns to the original productivity plan but gives weak reasons for taking an iterative approach. References to course content need improvement.Provides acceptable examples of how the finished budget aligns to the original productivity plan but gives weak reasons for taking an iterative approach. References to course content are incoherent.Provides weak examples of how the finished budget aligns to the original productivity plan. Gives no supporting evidence for the chosen approach. References to course content are missing.

C. Requirements

The following requirements must be met for your submission to be graded:

  • Abide by the word count limits where applicable. No answer should exceed 150 words.
  • Use a readable 11-point font.
  • All writing and data entries must be appropriate for an academic context.
  • Writing must be original and customized for this assignment.
  • Plagiarism of any kind is strictly prohibited.
  • Submission must include your name and the date.
  • Include all the assignment components in a single file.
  • Acceptable file formats include .xls and .xlsx.

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