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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Walter Thomas Porter
FIN 579
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Finance

Finance topics of current concern to faculty and students. Offered only when faculty are available and sufficient student interest exists. Seminar content announced in advance of scheduled offerings. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Class description

"Personal Finance" (Fin 579, SPR 2009, MW, 10:30-12:20) is a special topics course that: • Provides knowledge of all the major areas of personal financial planning • Guides you in the preparation of your own financial plan – a roadmap to your financial future • Sets you a path to financial independence And you also get four credits toward your degree The major topics covered in the course are: • Building your financial foundation • Executing proven income tax savings strategies • Don’t go broke -- managing your debt wisely • What are you worth -- preparing a net worth statement • Your dreams and goals and the financial resources needed to achieve them • Big ticket purchases -- automobiles and homes • Savings and investments -- making your dreams come true • Risk and return -- major investment risks and potential returns • The role of asset allocation in achieving desired investment returns and managing risk • Protecting your financial resources and the role of insurance • Basic estate planning • Financial issues at various stages of your life • Financial advice and advisors • Preparing a financial plan that is right for you The course is taught by Tom Porter who was a pioneer in financial planning establishing a national practice at Touche Ross in the 1970’s. He recently retired as an Executive Vice President of Bank of America where he was responsible for a major Business Unit that included investment banking, investment management, retail investments and financial planning. He has written four books on the subject of financial planning that have sold over 400,000 copies and has presented seminars and courses for over 15,000 executives and professionals. He taught in the Foster Business School from 1966-1975 and has taught in the North European Management Institute in Oslo, Norway and the College of Management at the National University of Ireland. He developed

Student learning goals

Understand the major areas of personal financial planning and their interrelationships

Have a working knowledge of analytical tools to develop and implement sound financial strategies

Critically evaluate recommendations of financial advisors

Prepare your own personal financial plan

Gain control of your life financially

Determine what it takes for you to achieve your financial objectives including financial independence

General method of instruction

Most sessions will combine lectures, discussions of the assigned exercises and readings, and class discussion. My style is informal and the more interaction among members of the class, the better. The exercises and readings and website review is vital for classroom discussion and for you to prepare a complete and sound financial plan. You have everything to gain from thoughtful analysis and preparation. Since teamwork and small group discussions are characteristics of most business activities, I am asking you to form a group of five students to discuss the 8 of the exercises shown in this syllabus. These discussions should take place before the class in which they will be discussed. The responsibilities of each member of the group are: • On-time attendance • Homework done in advance of the group meeting • Active involvement in discussion • Constructive critiques of the work of the other group members

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Grades will be based on the two examinations during the term and Your Financial Plan to be completed and turned in during examination week

The weighting of the three components are: Examinations – 35% each; Your Financial Plan -- 25%; Small group participation – 5%. The criteria for grading the mid-term exams are: • Identification of key issues/opportunities/methodology • Application of course material -- readings /websites/excel forms/class discussion • Quantitative analysis and underlying assumptions related to the analysis • Conclusions • Clean presentation -- grammar, spelling, etc. • Clear and concise writing The critera for grading the small group presentations are: • Quality of the analysis of the exercise and the solution • What you learned from the exercise • How you will apply what you learned to your own financial plan


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Click here for course syllabus
Last Update by Andrew Anderson
Date: 02/10/2009