Skip to main content

Search Bar Icon Close Menu

Online classes

Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

FINC 498: Comprehensive Financial Planning

Course Description

A study of the principles and practices of professional financial planning using an integrated planning model. Case studies will allow students to simulate real-world experience by integrating tax, insurance, and investment planning strategies into comprehensive financial plans. This investments course provides a foundation in modern portfolio theory and portfolio management with special consideration given to retirement planning.

Prerequisite: FINC 354

Proctored Exams: None



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Altfest, Lewis. Personal Financial Planning. 1st ed.. Irwin, Inc., 2016.
    • ISBN-978-0-697-79032-3

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

Comprehensive Financial Planning is a study of personal finance from a planner’s perspective. The course incorporates a theory of personal financial planning based on the idea that the household resembles a business and can profitably use its financial techniques. One premise is that all household decisions should integrate all household operations, assets and obligations. Whether engaged in investment activities, planning insurance needs, educational goals, developing tax strategies or mapping retirement plans, we are performing household operations under the personal financial planning mandate. The course’s objective is effective household operations that we achieve through logical businesslike financial procedures. Households whose activities are financially efficient have the foundations for personal goal achievement.


Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.


Course Objectives

  • To demonstrate a working knowledge of the comprehensive financial planning process and an understanding of the impact of taxes and inflation on various financial strategies.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Explain all aspects of the financial planning process and the impact that inflation and taxes have on personal financial decisions.
  • Create effect strategies for the management of consumer durables and credit.
  • Explain the need for and suitability of life, health, disability and property insurance.
  • Construct investment portfolios with asset allocations and risk-return profiles consistent with investor objectives.
  • Describe qualified and non-qualified retirement plans and their uses in creating a retirement portfolio.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 360-400 90-100%
B 320-359 80-89%
C 280-319 70-79%
D 240-279 60-69%
F 0-239 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussion (8) 80 20%
Homework (6) 60 15%
Quizzes (6) 60 15%
Midterm Exam 100 25%
Final Exam 100 25%
Total 400 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introductions - Friday
Week 1 Discussion 10 Friday/Sunday
Week 1 Homework 10 Sunday
Week 1 Quiz 10
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Week 2 Discussion 10 Friday/Sunday
Week 2 Homework 10 Sunday
Week 2 Quiz 10
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Week 3 Discussion 10 Friday/Sunday
Week 3 Homework 10 Sunday
Week 3 Quiz 10
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Week 4 Discussion 10 Friday/Sunday
Midterm Exam 100 Sunday
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Week 5 Discussion 10 Friday/Sunday
Week 5 Homework 10 Sunday
Week 5 Quiz 10
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Week 6 Discussion 10 Friday/Sunday
Week 6 Homework 10 Sunday
Week 6 Quiz 10
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Week 7 Discussion 10 Friday/Sunday
Week 7 Homework 10 Sunday
Week 7 Quiz 10
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Week 8 Discussion 10 Friday/Saturday
Final Exam 100 Saturday
Total Points 400

Assignment Overview

Discussion

Discussion answers and critique of other postings must show your knowledge of the assigned readings. In general, discussion questions are open-ended and are meant to produce a lively exchange of ideas and differences of opinions. In order to earn full credit for your discussion posts, you must answer the discussion question thoroughly and critique at least two of your classmate’s original postings. Depending on the number of students enrolled, the class may be divided into two discussion groups. You will be able to see postings and interact with students included in your group.


Homework

Homework assignments are designed to test your knowledge and understanding of concepts introduced during the week. Some assignments are fill-in-the-blank questions built from end-of-chapter problems. These assignments are administered online, unproctored, open-book, and can be accessed through the Quizzes area of the course. Since homework assignments are untimed, students can start the assignment early during the week, print, and return to submit assignment before the due date. Homework assignments are not autograded, so you will not see your grade immediately following submission. The instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.

Quizzes

Quizzes are designed to test your mastery of each week’s material. All quizzes are open book/open notes and do not require the use of a proctor. Each quiz consists of 20 multiple-choice questions, and you will have two hours to complete each one. All quizzes must be completed via the Quizzes area of the course. Quizzes are automatically graded in D2L and the results from the graded quiz will include the correct answer for each question.

Exams

Exams are comprehensive for the preceding weeks. For example, the Midterm will cover material from Weeks 1-4 and the Final will cover material from Weeks 5-8. Each exam consists of roughly 40 multiple-choice and 6 problem solving questions, and you will have 3 hours to complete each one. While you are allowed to reference your book and notes for each exam, collaboration is not allowed. The Midterm and Final exams are not autograded, so you will not see your grade immediately following the completion of the exam. The instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.

Study Activities

Study Activities are provided for you in the Content area. These activities are not graded and are provided for your benefit as they will assist you in mastering the week’s material. Attempting to complete the graded activities without the benefit of preparation via study activities will usually result in low grades. While some students will find that the (Level 1) assigned reading material, questions/problems adequately prepares them for the graded activities, others need more time and resources to really understand financial planning concepts.


Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Financial Planning: Principles and Process
Readings
  • Chapter 1, pages 7-19 (Introduction to Personal Financial Planning), Chapter 3, pages 56-70 (Beginning the Planning Process), and Web Chapter C, pages 44-52 (Regulation). 
  • Review Week 1 objectives, lecture, and review questions located in the Content area.
Introductions
In the Discussions area, tell us about yourself, your profession, family situation, interest in personal financial planning, and any other information that can help the class get to know you. 
Week 1 Discussion
Financial planning practitioners should constantly remind themselves of the responsibilities inherent in client-planner relationships. Yet, in recent years, cases of unethical behavior have made headlines. Refer to the Week 1 Discussion: Code of Ethics for the article titled  CODE OF ETHICS & PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, critically assess one or more of the main points and discuss a personal experience with a similar dilemma. Follow instructions for posting to the class discussion
Week 1 Homework

Go to the Quizzes area and open Week 1 Homework early during the week to view and/or print the assigned problems. Since the homework is not timed, students can leave D2L, solve the assignment during the week, and return to submit answers before the due date. All homework assignments are not auto-graded, so you will not see your grade immediately following the completion of the exam. The course instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.

Week 1 Quiz
Complete quiz, found in the Quizzes area. Week 1 Quiz is open book and covers material discussed during Week 1.
Week 2: Time Value of Money, Household Finance, and Financial Statements
Readings
  • Chapter 2, pages 26-55 (Time Value of Money), Chapter 4, pages 77-94 (Household Finance), and Chapter 5, pages 104-120 (Financial Statements Analysis). 
  • Review Week 2 objectives, lecture, and review questions located in the Content area
Week 2 Discussion

Each month, individuals review their bank statements and credit card bills only to be surprised that they spent more than they thought they did. To avoid this problem, each must have financial statements and budgets to assess financial condition and account for income and expenditures. Please refer to the Week 2 Discussion Question: Financial Planning for the article titled “The Changing Role of the Financial Planner Part 2: Prescriptions for Coaching and Life Planning.”. Critically assess one or more of the main points from the article and research a "Scholarly (peer reviewed) Journal" article from the  Columbia College Library that supports your idea, point, or argument. Follow instructions for posting to the class discussion.

Week 2 Homework

Go to the Quizzes area and open Week 2 Homework early during the week to view and/or print the assigned problems. Since the homework is not timed, students can leave D2L, solve the assignment during the week, and return to submit answers before the due date. The course instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.

Week 2 Quiz
Complete quiz, found in the Quizzes area. Week 2 Quiz is open book and covers material discussed during Week 2.
Week 3: Cash Planning and Managing Debt
Readings
  • Chapter 6, pages 124-139 (Cash Flow Planning), Chapter 7, pages 143-171 (Debt). 
  • Review Week 3 objectives, lecture, and review questions located in the Content area.
Week 3 Discussion
With the new bankruptcy law that went into effect in 2005, individuals no longer have an easy time claiming bankruptcy. Login to the online online college library, find a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article pertaining to the new bankruptcy law and alternative ways of resolving debt problems, make a recommendation to clients and explain how the article supports your arguments. Follow instructions for posting to the class discussion.
Week 3 Homework

Go to the Quizzes area and open Week 3 Homework early during the week to view and/or print the assigned problems. Since the homework is not timed, students can leave D2L, solve the assignment during the week, and return to submit answers before the due date. The course instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.

Week 3 Quiz
Complete quiz, found in the Quizzes area. Week 3 Quiz is open book and covers material discussed during Week 3.
Week 4: Investment Planning
Readings
  • Chapter 8, pages 183-228 (Non-financial Investments), Chapter 9, pages 229-254 (Financial Investments), and Chapter 16, pages 453-501 (Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds). 
  • Review Week 4 objectives, lecture, and review questions located in the Content area.
Week 4 Discussion
In 2006, the Roth 401(k) became available but few employers were willing to offer it due to the sunset provision. Now that it has been made permanent, more employers are starting to offer the option. Employees now need to decide if they want to continue their contributions to the traditional 401(k) or should they start contributing to a Roth 401(k). Find a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article pertaining to the Pension Protection Act of 2006, take a position (e.g., clients should participate in the Roth 401(k) or continue with the traditional 401(k)), and explain how the article supports your arguments. Follow instructions for posting to the class discussion.
Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam will open in the Quizzes area on Wednesday of Week 3. Please complete by midnight Sunday.  You will have 3 hours to complete this open book exam, which will cover material from Weeks 1-4. The Midterm exam is not auto-graded, so you will not see your grade immediately following the completion of the exam. The course instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.

Week 5: Risk and Insurance Planning
Readings
  • Chapter 10, pages 259-294 (Risk Management), Chapter 11, pages 297-318 (Other Insurance). 
  • Review Week 5 objectives, lecture, and review questions located in the Content area.
Week 5 Discussion
Many studies compare the financial desirability of buying long-term care insurance versus the opportunity cost of investing the required funds. Refer to the Week 5 Discussion: Long Term Care Insurance for the article titled  “The Financial Desirability of Long-Term Care Insurance Versus Self-Insurance.”, critically assess one of the key statements or main theses and explain how the articles and/or authors supports your position. Follow instructions for posting to the class discussion.
Week 5 Homework

Go to the Quizzes area and open Week 5 Homework early during the week to view and/or print the assigned problems. Since the homework is not timed, students can leave D2L, solve the assignment during the week, and return to submit answers before the due date. The course instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.

Week 5 Quiz
Complete quiz, found in the Quizzes area. Week 5 Quiz is open book and covers material discussed during Week 5.
Week 6: Education Planning and Special Circumstances Planning
Readings
  • Chapter 13, pages 355-379 (Education Planning), Web Chapter A, pages 2-25 (Special Circumstances Planning). 
  • Review Week 6 objectives, lecture, and review questions located in the Content area.
Week 6 Discussion
With a divorce rate of 49% in the U.S., financial planners are called upon to offer advice on financial concerns related to divorce. In the given scenario, a 55-year old woman comes to you for financial advice on how to ensure support herself and the kids before and after the divorce. Find a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article pertaining to divorce planning, list your suggestions and explain how the article supports your arguments. Follow instructions for posting to the class discussion.
Week 6 Homework

Go to the Quizzes area and open Week 6 Homework early during the week to view and/or print the assigned problems. Since the homework is not timed, students can leave D2L, solve the assignment during the week, and return to submit answers before the due date. The course instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.

Week 6 Quiz
Complete quiz, found in the Quizzes area. Week 6 Quiz is open book and covers material discussed during Week 6.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Estate and Tax Planning
Readings
  • Chapter 14, pages 381-411 (Tax Planning), Chapter 15, pages 415-450 (Estate Planning). 
  • Review Week 7 objectives, lecture, and review questions located in the Content area.
Week 7 Discussion
There are many ways that a financial planner can work with clients to build flexibility into the estate plan and implement estate and tax planning strategies. Refer to the Week 7 Discussion: Estate Planning for the article titled  “How Financial Planners Can Add Value to the Estate Planning Process.” and (1) critically assess one of the key statements or main theses of the author, (2) login to the Columbia College Library to research another "Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journal" article, and (3) explain how the article and/or author supports your position or argument.. Follow instructions for posting to the class discussion.
Week 7 Homework

Go to the Quizzes area and open Week 7 Homework early during the week to view and/or print the assigned problems. Since the homework is not timed, students can leave D2L, solve the assignment during the week, and return to submit answers before the due date. The course instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.

Week 7 Quiz
Complete quiz, found in the Quizzes area. Week 7 Quiz is open book and covers material discussed during Week 7.
Week 8: Retirement Planning
Readings
  • Chapter 12, pages 324-354 (Retirement planning), Chapter18, pages 507-533 (Capital Needs Analysis), and Chapter 20, pages 567-593 (Completing the Process). 
  • Review Week 8 objectives, lecture, and review questions located in the Content area.
Week 8 Discussion
The Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) forms the basis of the risk-return relationships used by many investment professionals in designing investment portfolios. Please refer to the Week 8 Discussion Question: Retirement Planning for the article titled “Reality Retirement Planning: A New Paradigm for an Old Science”. Critically assess one or more of the main points from the article and research a "Scholarly (peer reviewed) Journal" article from the  Columbia College Library that supports your idea, point, or argument. Follow instructions for posting to the class discussion.
Final Exam

The Final Exam will open in the Quizzes area on Wednesday of Week 7. Please complete by midnight Saturday. You will have 3 hours to complete this open book exam, which will cover material from Weeks 5-8. The Final exam is not auto-graded, so you will not see your grade immediately following the completion of the exam. The course instructor will review results and post grades on the Monday following the due date.



Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Students who register during the first week of class (drop/add week) will have a 7-day extension for submitting Week 1 activities. Late work will be accepted until the end of the semester for 50% max credit. Assignments are due before midnight on the assigned due date.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


+

Request info