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“SCENARIO: Imagine that you are in a position where you need to move—this could be because of a change in job, a need to modify your living arrangements, or something else. In addition to searching for different housing, you want to begin saving for a specific financial goal.
STEP 1: Think about the productivity strategies you’ve learned in this course. Make a mental plan for how you will break down creating your financial plan into smaller steps. Think about ways you can stay organized and be productive. With your ideas in mind, move on to step 2.
“STEP 2: Choose an annual income as a starting point for your financial plan and insert the value in the ANNUAL BUDGET above. Select from the following:
• Use the provided annual income of $50,000.
• Use your current annual income.
• Use the average (or median) income of a career that you’re interested in. Consider doing a quick online search.”
“STEP 3: Choose a financial goal you would like to save for. It can be a short-term goal (1 to 2 years) or a long-term goal (more than 2 years). You’ll use this value in step 4. Select from the following:
• Create an emergency fund of $1,000.
• Save for a vacation that will cost $2,000.
• Save to buy a $15,000 vehicle.
• Save for a down payment of $40,000 to buy a house.
• Save $50,000 for education for you, a spouse, or a child.”
“STEP 4: Now set a realistic time frame (in years) for reaching the goal in step 3. The recommended range is one to 10 years. This will yield a required rate of savings:
• To understand your savings rate ($ per year), divide your financial goal by the number of years you plan to save for it.
• Enter the result in the Savings cell of the ANNUAL BUDGET.
• Briefly describe your overall savings goal and the time to achieve it next to the ANNUAL BUDGET in the space provided.”
“STEP 5: Choose a housing cost (rent or mortgage) and enter the amount in the Housing cell of the ANNUAL BUDGET. Select from the following:
• Pay an annual mortgage of $15,000 per year.
• Rent an apartment for $12,000 per year.
• Rent a room only for $9,000 per year.
• Use your current annual rent or mortgage.”
STEP 6: Fill in the other expenditure amounts in the ANNUAL BUDGET according to your preferences. Do some online research, if necessary. For this exercise, be sure to use all the income that you designated ($50,000 or otherwise). Look ahead to step 7 to see how you can use formulas to help you balance your budget as you work.
“STEP 7: Your ANNUAL BUDGET may or may not be balanced. To check, do the following:
• Enter a formula to calculate your total expenditures. Adjust your expenditures until the total equals your annual income.
• Next, enter formulas in the percent column to calculate each expenditure as a percentage of the total expenditure.
• Finally, using your ANNUAL BUDGET as a reference, complete the REFLECTION QUESTIONS on the right side of this spreadsheet.”