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Family Economic Issues

FCS 3450

Spring 2016

JTB 140 -Tuesday Evening 6:00-9:00 pm


INSTRUCTOR'S NAME: Jerry L. Basford Ph.D

OFFICE HOURS: By Appointment


OFFICE TELEPHONE: 801-581-3435

E-Mail Address

Course Webpage

The class webpage can be found at web/itaj/edi/basford/familyfinance

Course Description

This course is an introduction of the economic approach to family-decision making across the life course. Topics include consumption, saving, time allocation, human capital investment, housing, marriage, divorce, fertility, and retirement. In the course, we will examine how economic decisions that are made at the household level affect the larger society. My personal goal is to give you the tools necessary to have a positive impact on our local, state, and national economies by making sound economic decisions, including becoming a millionaire by retirement

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course you should be able to:


1. Understand basic micro- and macro-economic principles related to family economic well-being.

2. Master basic techniques of economic analysis of family decision-making.

3. Apply these concepts and techniques to various family economic decisions.

4. Enhance analytical thinking relating to data analysis, interpretation, and the presentation of data in a written format.


The required text is a reading packet made for this course. The packet is available under the Homework tab of this website. The link is called FCS 3450 Primer. The packet includes general classroom etiquite, requirements for the reaction papers and class project.  Do your assigned reading before class. Many test questions will be taken directly from the PowerPoint notes and homework.I also recommend the book Personal Finance by Kapoor, Dlabay and Hughes, you can use ANY edition. This book will be used after the first couple weeks of class.

Grading Policy

Your final grade for this class is determined as follows:

Various assignments will be given throughout the semester, including quizzes.

Each assignment/quiz will be graded according to accurateness, neatness, and content.

Assignments and examinations that are not readable by the instructor will be given no credit.

Credit for assignments not turned in on the day due will be reduced by one half per class (example: 1 class late = 50% credit, 2 classes late = 25% credit) Anything more than two classes late will receive NO credit.

All assignments are required to be typed or computer printed. Handwritten homework assignments will receive no more than 1/2 of the credit possible at the time it is turned in.

Your course grade will be determined by the following scale:



A = 94-100%

B+ = 86-89%

C+ = 76-79%

D+ = 66-69%

E = Below 60%

A- = 90-93%

B = 83-85%

C = 73-75%

D = 63-65%



B- = 80-82%

C- = 70-72%

D- = 60-62%



Class Projects

Four project options are available; you will choose and complete 1 project. You may not complete all projects for extra credit; extra credit projects are not offered. Detailed instructions are available in the reading packet.

The project must be typed and paper copies are due at the beginning of class If your paper copy is turned late it will receive a late penalty as discussed earlier.

Reaction Papers 

Each paper is worth 10 points. You only need to complete 4 of the 5 Reaction Papers. There is no extra credit for completing all 5 papers. If you do complete all 5 papers, the first four turned will be the only ones graded.

Homework Assignments

Feel free to use your notes and the example problems in your packet to help you solve the problems. You may collaborate with one other person.





Reading Assignment





Introduction and start Economic Principles unit Parts 1 and 2



Economic Principles-Lecture Section 4 and 5 of Micro/Macro Economics

Budget Spreadsheet Instructions

Section 1


Taxes - Chapter 4

Reaction Paper 1 Due (Section 1)

Exam #1

Section 2

Reaction Paper Articles-Section 1

Section 1


Cash Managmement-Chapter 5

Section 2


Introduction to Consumer Credit-Chpt 6

Choosing a Source of Credit-Chpt 7

Section 2


Exam #2- Chapters 4-7

Reaction Paper 2 Due (Section 2)

Section 2


Consumer Purchasing Strategies and Legal Protection - Chapter 8


The Housing Decision - Chapter 9



Section 3



Section 3


Exam #3-Chapters 8-9

Reaction Paper 3 Due (Section 3)



Section 3


Property and Motor Vehicle Insurance-Chpt 10

Health, Disability, and Long-Term Care Insurance - Chpt 11

Section 4


Exam #4-Chapters 10-11

Reaction Paper 4 Due (Section 4)

Project Due




Introduction to Investing Chpt 13

Section 5


Investing in Stocks Chpt 14

Investing in Bonds Chpt 15

Section 5


Investing in Mutual Funds Chpt 16

Section 5


Exam #5-Chapters 13-16

Reaction Paper 5 Due (Section 5)

Section 5





Students with Special Needs

The University of Utah seeks to provide equal access to its programs, services, and activities for people with disabilities. If you will need accommodations in this class, reasonable prior notice needs to be given to the Center for Disability Services, 162 Olpin Union Building, 581-5020 (V/TDD). CDS will work with you and the instructor to make arrangements for accommodations. All written information in this course can be made available in an alternative format with prior notification to the Center for Disability Services. 

Academic Honesty

All honesty and plagiarism policies established by the University of Utah will be upheld in this class. Academic misconduct in any form in this class will not be tolerated. This includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarizing, misrepresenting one’s work, inappropriately collaborating, and/or submitting the same work for more than one course without the permission of both instructors. 

If you include information from outside the class or quotes in your written assignments, you must provide citations and a reference list. Avoid the urge to over-rely on quotes; a written assignment that is substantially made up of quoted material will not be considered to be your own work, even if you have used correct citations.

If it is discovered that you have engaged in academic misconduct of any type in this course, the Family & Consumer Studies departmental policy states that you will be given a failing grade in the course, and will be reported to the Dean and the VP for Academic Affairs, who will keep your name on record. Should you be reported more than once, you may face expulsion from the University.

This is a very serious issue and I will not tolerate it in my classroom. If you are aware of any misconduct, please inform me immediately. 

For further information about the University of Utah’s policies regarding academic misconduct, please see the student handbook at .

University Drop and Withdrawal Policies

You may drop the course without penalty or permission until September 4. You may withdraw from the course without permission until October 23, but a “W” will be recorded on your academic record, and applicable tuition and fees will be assessed. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact the Office of Admissions and Registrar at (801)581-5808.

Also, remember to pay your tuition by the deadline, or your classes will be deleted and they cannot be reinstated.


In order to qualify for an “Incomplete” in any University of Utah course, you must complete at least 80% of the course work and be in good standing (i.e., have earned at least a C on all completed work) and receive permission from the instructor (if you can justify to the instructor that you cannot finish the course because of circumstances beyond your control). The FCS departmental policy is that students who do not complete the work within 1 year after the granting of an ‘I’ will automatically receive a failing grade. No exceptions will be made to this policy.

Instructor Responsibilities

I will

Be prepared for class and arrive early enough to have all of my equipment set up before class begins.

Use a variety of teaching methods, including lecture, in-class group work, discussion, video clips, etc. in an effort to create a stimulating learning environment and accommodate different learning styles.

Provide feedback on assignments in a timely manner.

Be available for individual consultation during office hours or by appointment.

Reply to email within 48 hours (not including weekends or holidays).

Follow all University of Utah policies regarding conduct within the classroom, incompletes, and accommodations. No exceptions will be made to these policies.

Comply with the Final Exam schedule determined by the University. The Final Exam will be offered during the appointed time.

Treat students equitably and with respect. This includes enforcing responsible classroom behavior.

Student Responsibilities

You are expected to:

Spend 2-3 hours per credit hour in preparing for this class, including completing reading assignments & written assignments, and studying for the final exam. As this is a 3-credit course, you should plan on spending 6-9 hours per week in preparation, in addition to class time.

Complete required reading assignments in a timely manner.

Complete class projects, reaction papers, and homework assignments on time.

Attend class and participate in class activities and discussion.

Arrive on time for class and stay the entire class period – arriving late and/or leaving early is disruptive.

Treat one another, the instructor, the TAs, campus staff, and the classroom with respect.

Seek help from the instructor (and other resources such as the Center for Disability Services or the Writing Center) whenever necessary, and before minor problems become major barriers to learning.

Refer to the syllabus and the class webpage for important information pertaining to the exam, written assignments, and class policies.

Scheduling Accommodations

Students should register for courses for which they have no scheduling conflicts. University policy allows you to make up assignments and exams if you are participating in officially sanctioned University activities, such as intercollegiate athletics. If you miss an exam or assignment deadline due to illness or a medical emergency, medical documentation (i.e., a doctor’s note) must be provided in order to make up missed work.

Things to Note

The syllabus is not a legal, binding contract. It may be modified by the instructor when the student is given reasonable notice of the modification.

Although I will not take attendance, it is expected that you be in class every period. There are some things that you will get only in the lecture that are not in the notes. If you do need to miss a class, it is YOUR responsibility to find out what material was covered and to get the notes from a fellow student. 

I do not offer extra credit. So, do not ask. Extra credit projects are unfair unless all students are permitted to do them, and then extra credit projects simply become one more requirement for all students to complete. 

Student homework assignments will be kept for one week before being destroyed. Student papers (Reaction Papers and Projects) will be kept for one month after the end of the semester. After that time, they will be destroyed.

Please bring a calculator to class every day.

Please show respect for me and the other students by arriving on time to class and by not leaving early. If you must do one of these things, please be discreet. Turn off your cell phones. Texting and surfing are inappropriate during class. Please refrain from these activities so that you do not distract the students around you.

Keep your e-mail address current within the University system. I send out e-mail updates and announcements on a regular basis, and you are responsible for the information sent.   |   801.581.3435   |   FAX: 801.585.3890   |   Campus Address: 206 Park
Mail Address: 201 President's Circle, Room 206, Salt Lake City, UT  84112-9014

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