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Making Informed Financial Decisions in Today's World Economy

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Course DatesWeeksMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRN
June 15, 2015 - June 26, 20152M-F 8:30A-11:20AOpenNatalie Webb10259

Course Description

This course introduces students to concepts and tools needed to understand basic economic decision making. By examining how individuals, governments and businesses allocate resources, students will gain an understanding of the environment in which resource decisions are made. In this course, we focus on economic analysis rather than investments. We examine some of the instruments used to invest that can provide students with ways to make better decisions about their own finances.

Average credit card debt: $15,270
Average mortgage debt: $149,925
Average student loan debt: $32,258

In recent years, undergraduates carrying credit card debt have carried an average of less than $500, down from over $3000 in 2011. U.S. households with credit card debt have also reduced their debt, from carrying nearly $16,000 (2011) to under $10,000 (www.creditcards.com). Over 56,000 businesses and 1.5 million US citizens filed for bankruptcy in 2010 (www.bankruptcyaction.com).

Why do so many people and professional organizations not meet their economic goals? What do you need to know to make good economic decisions? What does it mean to be an informed, globally-minded person? How do government policies and national budgets affect wealth and income? What are the world’s major currencies and what will happen to the value of them in the future? What economic tools should you understand now to insure an affluent future?

Economics confronts these questions by looking at how individuals, firms and nations confront the central problem of scarcity. The instructor will provide students with an introduction to the concepts of economics in a global world including supply and demand, rational individual and business decisions, types of economic systems, measures of wealth and income, currencies and foreign exchange, national budgets and economic pressures and concepts underlying investing. Theoretical material given during mini-lecture sessions will be supplemented by discussion sections and group work.

Students will engage with the instructor and one another in problem solving, case study analysis and project work using technology, data and the Internet to analyze and predict economic and financial trends. Students are encouraged to bring their own laptop computers, iPads, or other electronic devices; however, these are not required.

By the end of the class, students will leave with an ability to better analyze resource allocation decisions made by individuals and organizations and the impact of the decisions not only on themselves, but on local, national and world economies. Students will take away important economic tools and problem-solving skills they will build upon in college and find useful in understanding the world around them.

The course does not require any prior training in economics, but does require some basic training in mathematics, particularly in understanding graphs.