Discussion: Financial Literacy

Using government, bank, or lender’s websites, find two real savings instruments such as CDs, bonds, notes, 401(k)s, IRAs, or Annuities and compare them using the strategies and techniques from this module. Discuss the pros and cons of each, taking into account APY, length of investment, penalty for early withdrawal. Provide a spreadsheet analysis as part of your discussion and write a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of each. Present your analysis with your spreadsheet to the rest of the class. View the analyses posted by your classmates and respond to at least two. Read the Savings Comparison Directions below for detailed directions.

Savings Comparison Directions

Pick two savings instruments

Find two evenly comparable savings instruments. Consider CDs, Bonds, notes, 401(k)s, IRAs, or Annuities. Be careful to pick two of the same type of instruments. You could compare a 10 year CD to a 10 year US Savings Bond, for example. They both use simple interest, offer similar yield, and mature over similar terms.

Compare the savings instruments

Use the methods learned in this section to analyze your savings instruments. Make a list of their characteristics and design a spreadsheet calculator for each that will enable you to make similar forecasts for the instruments. Design your spreadsheet for accuracy and ease of understanding. A classmate should be able to use your spreadsheet just by reading it, without having to ask questions. Include a brief summary (approximately 200 words) of your comparison stating the strengths and weaknesses of each instrument. You may present this summary in a paragraph, table, or using bullet points. The better you use the appropriate formulas, terminology, and design strategies to create your spreadsheet, the more points you will earn.

Present the situation and your model to the others in the class

Post a message in the application discussion forum for this unit.  In your message, describe your chosen instruments and how you created your spreadsheet calculator.  Use the equation editor as necessary to show the related equations and any calculations you used. Provide a link to your spreadsheet.  The better you communicate, the more points you will earn.  If you enjoy and know how to use multimedia, such as video, audio, and graphics, you may use those as well, but this is not required.

View and respond to the models submitted by your classmates

Pick two of your classmates’ spreadsheets and summaries that were particularly helpful to you.  Write a response to each, explaining in a paragraph or two why their analyses helped you better understand the concepts and skills in this module or better understand how the mathematics and technology for this module could be used outside of class.

Create a new thread in the Savings Comparison forum in the Discussion Board to complete this assignment.

This assignment is required and worth up to 20 points.

Grading Criteria Points Possible
The choice of savings instruments:

  • Are they real-life savings instruments?
  • Do they make a fair comparison (i.e. not comparing a 3 yr CD to a 30 yr Bond)?
  • Is it a unique situation instead of a copy of a classmate’s posting?
The analysis:

  • Are one or more spreadsheet analyses used?
  • Are the spreadsheet calculations accurate?
The presentation:

  • Are the instruments and analysis explained well?
  • Is the spreadsheet well designed and easily understandable?
  • Are appropriate terms used?
Your responses:

  • Did you post at least two responses?
  • Did you explain how the examples helped you better understand the math in this module?
  • Did you ask questions for clarification or make suggestions on how to change or improve the original application posting or any other follow-up postings?