This course is about using mathematics to make good financial decisions. It is a new version of the old M133, Consumer Mathematics, which was a two credit course. Instead of focusing on the mathematics of retailing, we will concentrate on the mathematics of finance and investment. The equations involved can be complex at times, but we will largely avoid dealing with those equations by using appropriate technology.
A financial calculator and computer with spreadsheet program (Excel) are essential tools for the course. You must have your own financial calculator, but the computers in the student labs will be available for your spreadsheet assignments if you do not own a PC.
You should have a copy of the text, The Mathematics of Money, which is available at Business Express (1014 South College) for about $20, and a financial calculator. The acceptible calculators include models by HP (10B), Sharp (EL733A), and Texas Instruments (BA II+), which cost from $30 to $40. Any calculator with PV and FV (present value and future value) keys is suitable. A scientific calculator is generally NOT acceptable, although some scientific calculators do have financial functions as well, and those would be OK.
The course begins with work on equations, unit quantities, percents, and graphs. We will start dealing with spreadsheets after a couple of weeks, and they will be an extremely powerful tool for graphing.
The second section of the course is about checking, simple and compound interest, index numbers, and annuities. This part of the course uses the full power of the financial calculators and formula building in spreadsheets to improve our basic financial math skills.
The final part of the course applies tools developed earlier to more complex problems in credit and investment. Home financing and mortgages are considered in detail, and then various investments (including insurance, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and IRAs) are analysed. We even talk about the effect of inflation on investments - Allen Greenspan will not be around forever! During the final section of the course each student will complete a project applying the tools of the course to analyze a financial choice. Examples include buying vs. renting a home, borrowing vs. saving, and working vs. going to college.
Exams will be held on Friday September 24, Friday October 29, and Friday December 10. The compehensive final is Thursday Dec 16, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Grades in M133 will be based on performance in class (including a project), on quizzes, and on exams. There will be about twenty quizzes, three in-class exams, and a comprehensive final. The points available will be approximately 200 for class work, 200 for quizzes, 300 for exams, and 200 for the final. The grading curve will be about 90-80-70-60%.
Course Coordinator: Prof. Manvel