Personal Finance Course

About the Course

GFLEC has developed materials for a new personal finance course at an institution of higher education, with the support of the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation. All the materials an educator needs to implement the Personal Finance course are provided below. The materials include comprehensive lecture slides, quizzes, practice quizzes, project guidelines, a final exam, a practice exam, and the solutions to the quizzes, practice quizzes, and exams. The course is intended for students of all majors who want to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to make informed financial decisions.

On this page you will find all the material needed to teach the course. This includes a syllabus, comprehensive lecture slides, practice quizzes and solutions, and a practice exam. The three short videos below explain why studying personal finance is important. They can be used at the beginning of the course or throughout it. The material provided has been specifically prepared for personal finance educators. Teachers of the course may receive the final exam, quizzes, and solutions by emailing their credentials to GFLEC@gwu.edu.

The course was piloted at the George Washington University by Professor Annamaria Lusardi. The recommended way of teaching the course is outlined in the syllabus and the course material. However, educators may opt to modify the syllabus as well as the other material to address specific needs and circumstances. As much as possible, lectures are self-contained and do not depend on what was taught in previous lectures, apart from the beginning lectures.

Bio: Professor Annamaria Lusardi >>

Videos

These videos can be used at the beginning or throughout the course to communicate to the students the importance of this course.

Lectures

Each lecture download includes the comprehensive lecture slides and the associated practice quiz with solutions. For the final exam, quizzes, and solutions, email your credentials to GFLEC@gwu.edu.

Lecture 1 | Course Preview: Interest Rates

This lecture previews the topics covered in the course and discusses interest rates, interest compounding, and financial decision-making applications.

Lecture 2 | Time Value of Money: Financial Calculator Guidelines

This lecture develops the concept of time value of money; it introduces present value (PV), net present value (NPV), and internal rate of return (IRR), along with practical applications. The second part of the lecture, which is optional, explains how to use a financial calculator.

Lecture 3 | Consumer Borrowing

This lecture applies previous lecture concepts to analyze common consumer borrowing products; it introduces loan amortization and APR for monthly payment loans.

Lecture 4 | Saving and Investing

This lecture introduces common investment products (stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) and uses previous concepts to evaluate these products; it also shows how to save for short- and medium-term financial goals.

Lecture 5 | Planning for Retirement

This lecture focuses on planning and saving for retirement.

Lecture 6 | Inflation, Purchasing Power, and the Fed

This lecture covers inflation and how it affects an individual’s income, wealth, debt, and savings; it also discusses money supply and the role of central banks.

Lecture 7 | Mortgage Borrowing

This lecture explains mortgage borrowing and analyzes various mortgage terms (mortgage length, fixed vs. floating rate, and mortgage points).

Lecture 8 | Personal Taxes

This lecture discusses and analyzes tax issues related to individuals, including marginal taxation, deductions, and capital gains.

Lecture 9 | Basic Probability and Risk vs. Return

This lecture introduces the fundamental concepts in probability theory and builds upon these concepts to explain risk and how to insure against risk; it also examines the trade-off between risk and returns in both theory and practice.

Lecture 10 | Risk Diversification

This lecture develops the concept of risk diversification and discusses its role in common financial situations.

Lecture 11 | Risk, Leverage, and Retirement Planning

This lecture applies previous lecture concepts to discuss and analyze the risks faced in saving for retirement.

Lecture 12 | Biases in Consumer Finances

This lecture explains cognitive, emotional, and other biases that commonly affect consumers’ financial decisions.

Lecture 13 | Case Study: Course Summary

The first part of this lecture is a case study that applies the concepts learned throughout the course; the second part summarizes main takeaways from the course.

Lecture 14 | Project Presentations

Students present their projects in class.

EconEdReviews catalogues and provides teachers' reviews of all of the K-12 economic education materials online and links to course materials. The site was launched in 2008 thanks to funding by the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, and support by the Center for Economic Education at UNO, and the Council for Economic Education.