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 Jim’s Need to Know: Personal Finance or Golf?

During the Christmas break of his final year at the University of Maryland (UMD), Jim Malone plans to put together his résumé in order to seek full-time employment as a software engineer during the spring semester. To help Jim prepare for the job interview process, his older brother has arranged for him to meet with a friend, Lisa Bancroft, who has worked as a software engineer since her graduation from UMD two years earlier. Lisa gives him numerous pointers on résumé preparation, the interview process, and possible job opportunities.

After answering Jim’s many questions, Lisa asks Jim to update her on what he's up to at UMD. As they discuss courses, Lisa indicates that of all the electives she took, the personal financial planning course was most useful. Jim says that, although he had considered personal financial planning for his last elective, he’s currently leaning toward a beginning golf course. He feels that the course will be fun because some of his friends are taking it. He points out that he doesn’t expect to get rich and already knows how to balance his checkbook. Lisa tells him that personal financial planning involves much more than balancing a checkbook, and that the course is highly relevant regardless of income level. She strongly believes that the personal financial planning course will benefit Jim more than beginning golf—a course that she also took while at UMD.

Critical Thinking Questions

1. Describe to Jim the goals and rewards of the personal financial planning process.

2. Explain to Jim what is meant by the term financial planning and why it is important regardless of income.

3. Describe the financial planning environment to Jim. Explain the role of the consumer and the impact of economic conditions on financial planning.

4. What arguments would you present to convince Jim that the personal financial planning course would benefit him more than beginning golf?


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