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Online classes

Effective: Late Spring 8-Week, 2017/2018

FINC 498: Comprehensive Financial Planning

Course Description

A study of the principles and practices of professional financial planning using an integrated planning mode. Case studies 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. (2016). Personal Financial Planning (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Education.
    • [ISBN-978-1-259-27718-4]

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. All household decisions should integrate all household operations, assets, and obligations. An integrated personal financial plan (PFP) is created to enable individuals to achieve goals through financial activities.  These activities include cash flow planning, debt management, investment activities, insurance needs, educational goals, developing tax strategies, and mapping retirement plans.



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 Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the financial planning process and key economic influences such as inflation and taxes.
  2. Explain/describe qualified and non-qualified retirement plans and their use in the creation of a retirement portfolio.
  3. Demonstrate a working knowledge of cash flow, credit, tax, risk management, portfolio management, retirement, estate, special circumstances, employee benefits, and educational planning through integrated case analysis.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 450-500 90-100%
B 400-449 80-89%
C 350-399 70-79%
D 300-349 60-69%
F 0-299 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (8) 80 16%
Dropbox Assignments (8) 160 32%
Quizzes (6) 60 12%
Midterm Exam 100 20%
Final Exam 100 20%
Total 500 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Introduction Discussion -- Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 1 10
Dropbox Assignment 1 20 Sunday
Quiz 1 10
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 2 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 2 20 Sunday
Quiz 2 10
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 3 20 Sunday
Quiz 3 10
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 4 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 4 20 Sunday
Midterm Exam 100
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 5 20 Sunday
Quiz 4 10
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 6 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 6 20 Sunday
Quiz 5 10
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Dropbox Assignment 7 20 Sunday
Quiz 6 10
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 8 10 Wednesday/Saturday
Dropbox Assignment 8 20 Saturday
Final Exam 10
Total Points 410

Assignment Overview

Discussions

Discussions are an integral part of this course and represent a significant portion of the final grade. They are designed to help extend your learning into the real world and bridge the gap between theory and practice.

Each discussion is worth 10 points. Initial post is due on Wednesday and 2 responses are due on Sunday except for week 8 where due date is Saturday. Each discussion is set so that you must post your original thoughts before reading the posts of your classmates.

Discussions will use a case study to explore topics covered each week in the readings and study activities. Posts should demonstrate your ability to apply personal finance concepts, vocabulary, and models to analyze financial situations, synthesize course material, and relate it to personal financial questions and problems. Participation in discussions will improve your performance on homework and exams.

Initial post should show insight and analysis on the topic and make clear connections to your readings, research, and experiences. Please make sure to include at least one online article to support your answer and use proper MLA in-text citations and works cited formatting. Respond to at least two other students.

Responses should be substantive, insightful, and provoke further thought. Instructor will not accept posts that consist of “Good post…”, “I agree...”, or similar rhetoric. Disagreement can be healthy, but only if it’s done tactfully and constructively worded. Conventions of professional etiquette, which include courtesy to all users, will be observed online. Offensive, inflammatory wording and personal attacks will not be tolerated. In a diverse population as these classes are, we cannot force our personal values and beliefs on others. Civility and sensitivity is expected in all class communications.No late discussions will be accepted.


Dropbox Assignments

Homework for this course consists of Case Applications related to the topics covered during the week.  You have to read the case background and analyze the financial issues by answering case application questions assigned.

You should demonstrate the ability to apply personal finance concepts, vocabulary, and models to analyze financial situations, synthesize the week’s course material, and relate it to the case. Case analysis should be substantive and insightful.  Student should use assigned readings to support case analysis and use proper MLA in-text citations and works cited formatting where applicable. You will upload the assignment in D2L Dropbox.

When you place a paper in the Dropbox, it is automatically submitted to Turnitin.com, an online source that checks for plagiarism.  Turnitin.com will review your paper and assign a similarity score as a percent based on other works to which they have access. Dropbox Assignment is due on Sunday except for Week 8 where due date is Saturday.


Quizzes

The weekly quizzes will test your mastery of each week’s material. They will be available in weeks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7. Quizzes are open book and open note. Each quiz consists of 25 questions including true-false, matching, and multiple-choice questions. You will have 50 minutes to complete each quiz. All quizzes are available in the Quizzes area of the course.

Quizzes are auto-graded, and you will be able to see the questions (no answers) you missed for a period of 10 minutes immediately following quiz submission.

The results from the graded quiz will be available immediately. All the quizzes will be available on Wednesday and will close on Sunday of the assigned week. You are allowed to attempt the quiz only once.


Exams

The Midterm and Final Exams are in the quizzes area of the course, and each are worth 100 points. Each exam is comprehensive for the preceding weeks’ material. The midterm exam in Week 4 covers material from Weeks 1-4, and the final exam in Week 8 covers material from Weeks 5-8. Both exams will consist of 60 questions including true-false, matching, and multiple-choice questions.

You are allowed 2 hours to complete each exam. The exams are not auto-graded, so your results will not be available until 24 hours after the exam is due. Your instructor will review the results and post grades within 24 hours after the exam closes. You can view the questions answered incorrectly after the exam is submitted. There is no time limit to this. You cannot view the answers. Midterm Exam will be available on Wednesday of Week 4 and will close on Sunday. Final Exam will be available on Wednesday of Week 8 and will close on Saturday.



Course Outline

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

Week 1: Financial Planning Process and Regulations
Introduction Discussion

Introduce yourself and be sure to include your current job position and any personal information that you are willing to share to help us know you better.

Discussion 1

Review the following:

  • Week 1 Journal Article FPA Journal
  • CFP Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility

In 4-5 short paragraphs, (1) critically assess one or more of the dilemmas presented in the article as related to the financial planner's practical Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and (2) discuss a personal experience with a similar dilemma.

Dropbox Assignment 1

Case Application: Client Interview and data-gathering.

Read case in textbook on pages 23-24. In 5 short paragraphs, answer case application questions 1 – 5. Upload assignment in D2L Dropbox.

Quiz 1

Quiz 1 consists of 25 questions including true-false and multiple-choice questions. You will have 50 minutes to complete it. It is available in the Quizzes area of the course.

Readings
  • Altfest: Chapter 1
  • Web Chapter E (in Content area)
  • FPA Journal Article The Ethical Dilemmas of Working with Clients of Intermittent Capacity by Laura Addington
  • CFP Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility
  • Case Application: Client Interview and Data-gathering
Week 2: Time Value of Money & Household Finance
Discussion 2

Read this FPA article: The Changing Role of the Financial Planner

In 4-5 short paragraphs, critically assess one of the key statements or main theses of the authors and research a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article from the Columbia College Library that supports your idea, position, or argument.

Dropbox Assignment 2

Case Application: Time Value of Money. Read case in textbook page 45. Solve/answer case application questions 1 – 5. Upload assignment in D2L Dropbox.

Quiz 2

Quiz 2 consists of 25 questions including true-false, matching, and multiple-choice questions. You will have 50 minutes to complete it. It is available in the Quizzes area of the course.

Readings
  • Altfest: Chapter 2 along with the Appendix
  • Altfest: Chapter 4
  • Journal Article: Read The Changing Role of the Financial Planner Part 2: Prescriptions for Coaching and Life Planning. By Lyle Sussman, Ph.D., and David Dubofsky, Ph.D., CFA.
  • Case Application: Time Value of Money
Week 3: Financial Statements, Cash Flow Planning, and Managing Debt
Discussion 3

Read the article "The New Bankruptcy Law: Changes to Chapter 7 and 13." In 2005 Congress overhauled bankruptcy law, making it harder for some people to file for bankruptcy. Research a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article from the Columbia College Library on alternative ways of resolving debt problems.

In 4-5 short paragraphs, list your recommendations to clients on ways to resolve debt problems effectively and explain how your article supports your arguments.
Dropbox Assignment 3

Read Case Application: Comprehensive Financial Plan. Solve/answer case application questions 1-10. Use Balance Sheet & Pro forma Cash Flow Template for Questions 1 and 5. Upload assignment in D2L Dropbox.

Quiz 3

Quiz 3 consists of 25 questions including true-false, matching, and multiple-choice questions. You will have 50 minutes to it. It is available in the Quizzes area of the course.

Readings
  • Altfest: Chapter 5
  • Altfest: Chapter 6
  • Altfest: Chapter 7
  • The New Bankruptcy Law: Changes to Chapter 7 and 13 (in Content area)
  • Web Appendix D Comprehensive Financial Plan
  • Case Application: Financial Analysis
  • Balance Sheet & Pro forma Cash Flow Template
Week 4: Investment Planning
Discussion 4

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). Clients are asking financial planners’ help in making a decision. Research a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article pertaining to the Pension Protection Act of 2006from the Columbia College Library.

In 4-5 short paragraphs, take a position (e.g., clients should participate in the Roth 401(k) or continue with the traditional 401(k)), and explain how your research article supports your arguments.

Dropbox Assignment 4

Case Application:  Read case application: Financial Investments. Read Web Appendix D. Solve/answer case application questions 1-5. Upload assignment in D2L Dropbox.

Midterm Exam

The Midterm Exam in Week 4 covers material from Weeks 1-4. It consists of 60 questions including true-false, matching, and multiple-choice questions. It is worth 100 points. You are allowed 2 hours to complete the exam.  It will be available on Wednesday and will close on Sunday of Week 4.

Readings
  • Altfest: Chapter 8
  • Altfest: Chapter 10
  • Altfest: Chapter 16
  • Web Appendix D Comprehensive Financial Plan
  • Case Application: Financial Investments
Week 5: Risk and Insurance Planning
Discussion 5

Read FPA article entitled “The Financial Desirability of Long-Term Care Insurance Versus Self-Insurance,” by Gold, Vander, Linden, and Herald. This study compares the financial desirability of buying long-term care insurance versus the opportunity cost of investing the required funds. Research a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article pertaining to Long-Term Care Insurance from the Columbia College Library.

In 4-5 short paragraphs, critically assess one of the key statements or main theses and explain how the articles and/or authors support your position.

Dropbox Assignment 5

Read case application: Risk Planning. Solve/answer case application questions 1-8. Upload assignment in D2L Dropbox.

Quiz 4

Quiz 4 consists of 25 questions including true-false, matching, and multiple-choice questions. You will have 50 minutes to complete it. It is available in the Quizzes area of the course.

Readings
  • Altfest: Chapter 11
  • Altfest: Chapter 12
  • FPA article entitled “The Financial Desirability of Long-Term Care Insurance Versus Self-Insurance, by Gold,” Vander, Linden, and Herald
  • Web Appendix D Comprehensive Financial Plan
  • Case Application: Risk Planning
Week 6: Education and Special Circumstances Planning
Discussion 6

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 this scenario, Anne Smith, comes to you for financial advice on how to ensure support for herself and the kids before and after the divorce. She has hired an attorney but they have just gotten started. She is a woman 55 years of age who has just learned her husband of 30 years wants a divorce. When the couple decided to have children, she and her spouse decided that she would give up her marketing career and stay at home with the children. The husband is an executive in a company making a comfortable salary of $100,000 a year and has decided he wants a divorce. The couple has a moderate portfolio of investments of $50,000, a home with a current value of $250,000. The husband has a retirement 401(k) portfolio of $400,000 and the wife has an IRA of $150,000. Research a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article pertaining to divorce planning from the Columbia College Library.

In 4-5 short paragraphs, provide recommendations for divorce planning and explain how the article supports your recommendations.

Dropbox Assignment 6
Read case application: Education and Special Circumstances Planning. Solve/answer case application questions 1-5. Upload assignment in D2L Dropbox.
Quiz 5

Quiz 5 consists of 25 questions including true-false, matching, and multiple-choice questions. You will have 50 minutes to complete it. It is available in the Quizzes area of the course.

Readings
  • Web Chapter A (in Content area)
  • Web Chapter C (in Content area)
  • Case Application: Education and Special Circumstances Planning
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: Tax and Estate Planning
Discussion 7

Read the article: “How Financial Planners Can Add Value to the Estate Planning Process” by Bruce Weininger. The article discusses ways in which the planner can work with clients to build flexibility into the estate plan and the role the planner can play in implementation. Research a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article pertaining to estate planning from the Columbia College Library.

In 4-5 short paragraphs, critically assess one of the main theses made by Weininger and explain how the researched article supports your arguments.

Dropbox Assignment 7

Read case application: Tax and Estate Planning. Solve/answer case application questions 1-7. Upload assignment in D2L Dropbox.

Quiz 6

Quiz 6 consists of 25 questions including true-false, matching, and multiple-choice questions. You will have 50 minutes to complete it. It is available in the Quizzes area of the course.

Readings
  • Altfest: Chapter 14
  • Altfest: Chapter 15
  • Web Appendix D Comprehensive Financial Plan
  • Journal Article: “How Financial Planners Can Add Value to the Estate Planning Process” by Bruce Weininger
  • Case Application: Tax and Estate Planning
Week 8: Retirement Planning, Employee Benefits, and Capital Needs Planning
Discussion 8

Read the article: “Reality Retirement Planning: A New Paradigm for an Old Science.” by Ty Bernicke. Critically asses one of the main theses by the author. Research a scholarly (peer reviewed) journal article that supports your argument from the Columbia College Library.

In 4-5 short paragraphs, critically asses one of the main theses by the author and explain how your research article supports your assessment.

Dropbox Assignment 8

Read case application: Retirement Planning. Read Web Appendix.Solve/answer case application questions 1-5. Upload assignment in D2L Dropbox.

Final Exam

The Final Exam in Week 8 covers material from Weeks 5-8. It consists of 60 questions including true-false, matching, and multiple-choice questions. It is worth 100 points. You are allowed 2 hours to complete the exam.  It will be available on Wednesday and will close on Saturday of Week 8.

Readings
  • Altfest: Chapter 13
  • Altfest: Chapter 17
  • Altfest: Chapter 19
  • Web Appendix B Employee Benefits
  • Web Appendix D Comprehensive Financial Plan
  • Case Application: Retirement Planningand Capital Needs


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. No late assignments will be accepted

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.


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