ECN 305: The Economics of Personal Finance

This three-credit course is an Economics course.  It applies the fundamental Economic problem – how to efficiently allocate (finite) resources in order to most effectively meet (infinite) human wants and needs – to the study of Personal Finance.  In this context, the course covers vocabulary, institutional structures, concepts, and issues to take on the problem of most efficiently allocating finite financial resources to effectively meet students’ wants and needs as households in terms of gaining and preserving financial security, now and throughout their lives.

Within this underlying motivation, the course covers in a qualitative, introductory way essential aspects of consumer personal finance, including record keeping, budgeting and income statements, banking, saving, borrowing, using credit, investing, acquiring insurance, doing taxes, and planning for retirement and end-of-life considerations.  Students will learn important institutional facts, conceptual properties based upon fundamental economics, and issues involving about different types of bank deposits; mutual funds; bonds, including US Savings Bonds; stock; mutual funds; loans, including credit cards, fixed and adjustable rate mortgages, car loans, and student loans; retirement accounts, such as Individual Retirement Accounts and 401 (k) plans; tax deductions and credits; and aspects of health, property, and life insurance. 

Coverage of this Personal Finance material will be framed within basic fundamentals of economic and financial analysis.  This conceptual basis will give students a framework for evaluating and applying to their planning changes in life situations, pertinent laws, and financial products over time.  Overall, the course provides a foundation that can empower students – regardless of their future occupations – to put forth, measure, and evaluate goals involving financial security as well as a set of tools and framework to navigate the financial world over their lives to achieve them.