Rachel Siegel, Lyndon State University
Carol Yacht, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee
Pub Date: 2009
ISBN 13: 978-0-9823618-6-3
Publisher: Saylor Foundation
Conditions of Use
This text covers all the requisite material that you would find in other texts sold by the major publishers. As mentioned in other reviews, the .pdf read more
This text covers all the requisite material that you would find in other texts sold by the major publishers. As mentioned in other reviews, the .pdf version of the text does not have a table of contents, but the online version does. You can get around this by using "CNTRL f" in the .pdf, but it is definitely clunky. A couple comments on the content: I do wish that the formula for present value was made more obvious - that it would stand out from the rest of the text in the same way future value is presented. Also, while there is a considerable amount of information on risk, it is spread out through the text. Additionally, I would like to see a better discussion of how the deductibility of mortgage interest reduces the cost of housing. For instance, paying rent of $1,500/month is actually more expensive than paying a mortgage payment of $1,500/month because of the tax treatment of mortgage interest. Finally, my course outcomes require that I talk about common financial scams and common personal financial mistakes, which are not really discussed in the text. However, in all fairness, not many texts cover this topic.
I did find a couple of typo type errors such as percentages presented in decimal form when the tables clearly labeled them as percentages. However, those were minor and infrequent.
The basics of personal finance, such as risk/return, and time value of money are timeless. The text presents the material as such. The areas that will bear monitoring are those dealing with tax laws and the evolving nature of health care and its benefits. I do like that the authors have placed URLs below tables that may change in the future, such as tax rates.
I found the book easy to read and clear in its examples. I found the language of the text to be at the appropriate level for community college students.
I did not notice any inconsistencies in presentation.
In the online version, students can access different sections of the text very easily. However, the .pdf version does not allow for the student to easily jump from one section of the text to the other. As mentioned above, you can work through this by using "CNTRL f" but its very clunky and may not be an option for the student that is used to using a hard copy text.
The topics are presented in a logical and clear way that makes sense. However, I almost never use a text in sequential order as I usually have a different way of presenting the material based upon my strengths and weaknesses as an instructor. In the case of personal finance, I really like to lay a solid foundation with the concepts of time value of money and risk vs. return, then move on to application of those concepts. This text presents a substantial amount of information on risk, its just spread out through many chapters.
Again, the online version is much easier to use and navigate than the .pdf version.
No issues found.
This book is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. However, I would not be considered a minority so I may not be as aware of those issues as others of a different race or cultural background.
While I'm happy that the authors have posted a .pdf version of the text so that a professor may organize the material in a way that fits their teaching style, its not very user friendly for students. The online version is much easier to use and navigate. Having said that, there is a ton of great material here to use in a personal finance class.
The text is extremely comprehensive, including topics that would be relevant to both younger students just starting out with Personal Finance, as read more
The text is extremely comprehensive, including topics that would be relevant to both younger students just starting out with Personal Finance, as well as topics relevant to the older student who has some Personal Finance experience. in this regard it would be easy to customize a course based on the student population in the section. With 18 chapters included, the range of topics is broad enough that the instructor can pick and choose which topics to include and not run out of content.
I spot-checked random topics for accuracy in mathematical equations (PV, YTM, etc.) and found no errors. Graphical flowcharts make sense and are easy to follow.
This text would be relevant for the foreseeable future, since the text is based on fundamental principles of Personal Finance that don't often materially change.
The text presents concepts in an easy to read way, without too much advanced terminology that an average student would struggle to understand. Concepts are presented using an unbiased tone, presenting pros and cons when applicable.
Each chapter and chapter subsection are organized in the same way, maximizing the book's overall consistency. Students would easily get into a "rhythm" with the text, regardless of which chapters are assigned.
As I mentioned above, there are 18 chapters included... so the text is very modular. No section is too long, which minimizes the risk that students lose interest. Additionally, each chapter sub-section is broken up with graphs, charts, Key Takeaways and Exercises, all in color and with lots of white-space to draw attention.
The topics are presented in logical order. Instructors could easily structure a course starting with Chapter 1 and move through the chapters in order, and the course would make logical sense to the student.
No interface issues encountered. I downloaded the book to my tablet and had no issues opening the book, hyperlinking to chapters, etc.
no grammatical errors noted, however I did not scour the book with this in mind.
As mentioned, the book adopts a neutral tone of voice, free of bias that might be offensive to any racial or cultural group.
I appreciate the prompts in the Exercises sections to the student to reflect on the topic in their Personal Finance journals. In my course, I use the PFJ as an assessment tool, and students love having a comprehensive examination of their personal finance situation at the end of the term as a takeaway.
This book covers a decent spectrum of topics in personal finance and financial planning, such as time value of money, risk, budgeting, tax planning, read more
This book covers a decent spectrum of topics in personal finance and financial planning, such as time value of money, risk, budgeting, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, insurance, investing, career planning, etc. The topics are appropriate for an undergraduate personal finance or financial planning course, it also serves as a good reference book for anyone who wants to plan his/her personal finance serious. Two very important topics in finance, time value of money and risk, need to be covered in more depth. I suggest to split chapter 4 into two chapters – a chapter to cover time value of money and another to cover measuring and evaluating risk. Chapter 9 “buying a home” should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of renting versus buying and covers refinancing in more detail. These will help people make better decisions when it comes to buying a home and refinancing a mortgage. Excel is widely used in Business and Finance including in financial planning and analysis. Including some Excel examples and exercises will help readers understand how personal finance can be managed and how financial planning can be done in Excel.
There are some errors or typos in the text. For example, the mathematical formula of the present value (PV) and future value (FV) relationship on pages 85, 86 and 87 is not correctly presented. The t should be in the exponential position. Maybe the “^” is missing somehow. The definition of “present value” is not accurate (page 83). Present value is not necessarily what is worth today. In time value of money calculations, we define present value as “an early money on a timeline”. For example, if you invested $1000 dollars in the stock market three years ago and your stock account balance is $1300 today, we want to find the implied investment return. In this case, the initial investment $1000 three years ago is the present value. Your current stock account balance is the future value.
The content of this book is relevant and current. The key principles of personal finance and financial planning will not change much over time. Income tax rates and interest rates may change over time but these can be updated easily.
The text is not very clear and even confusing in some places. For example, on page 82, it reads “It also involves understanding and measuring the risks or uncertainties that time presents and the opportunities—and opportunity costs—that time creates”. How do we interpret “time presents risks and uncertainties” and “time creates opportunities and opportunity costs”? I think there are a lot of other factors involved than just time when discussing risks and uncertainties, opportunities and opportunity costs.
The text is consistent in terms of terminology and framework. The terms use in each chapter are consistent across the chapter. There are some inconsistencies in table headings and the actual values. For example, the second column in the table on page 91 is meant to show rates (r) in percentage, then 2% should be displayed as 2 in the table instead of 0.02.
The fact that each chapter in this book is about 20-40 pages long is a good sign of modularity. The authors use a lot of tables and figures to make the text more appealing to read. The learning objectives at the beginning and the key takeaways at the end of each section remind the readers the key concepts in that section.
The book starts with a long case in chapter 1. I think using a case to start a chapter is a good idea but this case is too complicated and overwhelming for students who just start a course. Splitting this big case into several small ones and put them at the beginning of relevant chapters will make the book more friendly. As mentioned earlier, I suggest to split chapter 4 into two chapters. Including a chapter directory and an index is also highly recommended.
The PDF version does not have a table of contents. There is no index at the back of the file either. The images and charts are clear, but centering them will make the text look nicer.
There is no major grammatical issue. But the clarity can be improved in some places.
The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way.
Overall, this book covers most topics that need to be covered in a personal finance or financial planning text. Some areas, such as time value of money, risk, financing a mortgage and refinancing need to be covered in more depth. Including some Excel examples and exercises will definitely make the book more appealing.
The book covers a wide range of topics in the analysis and theory of personal finance. The book consists of 18 chapters and covers all relevant read more
The book covers a wide range of topics in the analysis and theory of personal finance. The book consists of 18 chapters and covers all relevant topics including financial statements, budgeting, risk management, investing in stocks, bonds and real estate, and taxes among others. The chapters include good examples of basic principles that can be further explained by the classroom instructor. There is no table of contents, index or glossary which weakens the effective use of this textbook. In addition, all of the examples used in this textbook are from 2008 which makes this text currently obsolete. Changes in tax laws and consumer strategies need to be updated to make this a usable text today.
The text content appears accurate. I found very few errors. However, as noted above, the examples and references to tax laws in particular are not accurate as the laws have changed since 2009.
This is a very good introductory and easy to understand course book to introduce the student to the world of personal finance. While all textbooks must be reviewed periodically to maintain accuracy and relevance, this text will require more constant updating as our laws and principles change.
There is good use of tables and charts to explain the concepts and calculations. The writing style makes the topics easy to understand
There is good continuity throughout the book. Terms and definitions are consistently applied. A glossary at the end of the book would enable the student to quickly find a term or definition used in a previous section of the book.
The arrangement of the chapters are generally in proper sequence. While the book makes extensive use of sub topics with Key Takeaways and Exercise sections within each chapter, limiting these breaks within each chapter might be advisable. The learning objectives in the beginning of each chapter are useful and provide students with advance notice of what they will be learning.
The text is properly organized and gradually takes the student into the core of this subject. Financial examples and charts provide a good balance for learning.
The book is written in easy to understand language with clear charts and graphs.
There were no issues found with grammar and I found very few spelling errors.
This text is not offensive in any way. Its content pertains to US laws and practices only.
In addition to the book requiring updating to reflect current tax laws and practices, there are other aspects that can be employed to strengthen this textbook and make it more current. Examples would be: (a) demonstrating the use of a financial calculator to solve financial problems; (b) use of accounting software such as Excel; (c) use mini cases to further explain and define principles learned and (d) add more end of chapter problems for student learning and instruction.
The book introduces and explains essentially all of the topical material found in most commercial texts or trade books dealing with a first overview read more
The book introduces and explains essentially all of the topical material found in most commercial texts or trade books dealing with a first overview of personal finance. The implied audience is anyone needing a professional introduction to the subject, but it is clear from the book's content that the major intended audience is college students at any level in their academic programs. The online nature and licensing style of the book apparently allow the front pieces and index to be deleted but makes the book easily searchable and flexible as an educational resource. A few consistent typos throughout the text indicate a possible software translation hiccup that does not detract from the text's readability or usefulness. An opportunity for the instructor is provided by the book's design. Support activities such as assignments and assessments can be supplemented or developed by the instructor to fit a class at hand rather than a general student population.
The book's introduction and treatment of subject material is accurate and presents current information in line with professional practice in the personal finance advisory and educational fields as of the date of this review. There is no apparent bias in chapters dealing with subjects of otherwise intense commercial rivalry. Some charts containing data as of the time of publication will need updating in a few years like any other text in the fields of finance and economics.
The book is most relevant to readers and learners with thin financial life experience whether college student or older person. The general focus of the book is on readers or learners currently living through the transition from a financially protected environment to living on their own. Some of the book's content should be immediately relevant especially to the college student, and most of the book's content should become immediately relevant over the decade following graduation. This allows the book to be a primary source for any learner to know what direction to take for more in-depth information over an extended period.
Material introduced and discussed in the book is clear and devoid of confusing complications sometimes found in textbooks on personal finance. This is a benefit from the authors carefully avoiding the attempt to make the book an encyclopedia on the subject.
Individual chapters are stand-alone in the sense that there do not appear to be prerequisite linkages between them. This contributes to the book's flexibility in course design. There also does not appear to be some type of underlying theory or ideology that might create inconsistencies either between topics within the book or between the book and reality. Terminology and the pedagogical framework are consistent throughout the text.
Having each chapter as a stand-alone unit contributes to the book's modularity in terms of course design and subject matter sequencing. That includes the flexibility for instructors to not use some chapters if the need arises.
Organization of subject matter within the text follows a more or less standard pattern easily followed by a learner with chapters grouped by a main focus such as asset protection or wealth building. The instructor has the option of either using the text from front to back or of altering the subject matter sequencing to satisfy an alternative program of presentation.
The on-screen appearance and layout of the book are clear, easily readable, and searchable. One exception might be an occasional typo apparently caused by an electronic hiccup when moving from one electronic platform to another.
Grammar within the text is accurate and simple. A learner using English as a second or third language should have few grammatical challenges when reading this book.
The book is written within the context of the personal financial environment of the United States. It is inclusive within that environment. The peculiarities of personal finance within the US probably do not lend themselves to relevancies outside the US. A few of the topics introduced and explained in the text such as personal debt, life insurance or earned interest might not be relevant to some cultural or ethnic groups within the US. Those situations can be addressed by the instructor as the situation dictates.
The text is a fairly comprehensive overview of personal financial common practice within the United States. It addresses all of the major topics confronted by the average American family at sometime in its life, and provides a starting point for more in-depth learning on particular topics as they become more immediately relevant. The pedagogical perspective is similar in that the book is like both sides of a sandwich. It gets instructor and learner started, but it is up to both to provide the makings, which provides the creative instructor a wide degree of flexibility and the serious learner an even broader opportunity.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Personal Financial Planning
- Chapter 2: Basic Ideas of Finance
- Chapter 3: Financial Statements
- Chapter 4: Evaluating Choices: Time, Risk, and Value
- Chapter 5: Financial Plans: Budgets
- Chapter 6: Taxes and Tax Planning
- Chapter 7: Financial Management
- Chapter 8: Consumer Strategies
- Chapter 9: Buying a Home
- Chapter 10: Personal Risk Management: Insurance
- Chapter 11: Personal Risk Management: Retirement and Estate Planning
- Chapter 12: Investing
- Chapter 13: Behavioral Finance and Market Behavior
- Chapter 14: The Practice of Investment
- Chapter 15: Owning Stocks
- Chapter 16: Owning Bonds
- Chapter 17: Investing in Mutual Funds, Commodities, Real Estate, and Collectibles
- Chapter 18: Career Planning
About the Book
Personal Finance by Rachel Siegel and Carol Yacht is a comprehensive Personal Finance text which includes a wide range of pedagogical aids to keep students engaged and instructors on track.
This book is arranged by learning objectives. The headings, summaries, reviews, and problems all link together via the learning objectives. This helps instructors to teach what they want, and to assign the problems that correspond to the learning objectives covered in class.
Personal Finance includes personal finance planning problems with links to solutions, and personal application exercises, with links to their associated worksheet(s) or spreadsheet(s). In addition, the text boasts a large number of links to videos, podcasts, experts’ tips or blogs, and magazine articles to illustrate the practical applications for concepts covered in the text.
Rachel would love to hear from you. If you have questions about teaching with her book, comments about teaching Personal Finance, or just feedback, feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This textbook has been used in classes at: Miami University.
About the Contributors
Rachel S. Siegel, chartered financial analyst (CFA), has been a professor of finance, economics, and accounting at Lyndon State College since 1990. She has also taught as an adjunct faculty member at Trinity College (Vermont), Granite State College (New Hampshire), Springfield College (Massachusetts), the University of Vermont, and in Tel Aviv, Israel, for Champlain College.
Siegel is a member of the Vermont CFA Society, the CFA Institute, and the Board of Scholars of the Ethan Allen Institute, as well as a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. She has served as a consultant on investment strategy to the Vermont Land Trust and to other private clients. Siegel’s column “Follow the Money” has been a regular feature of the Northstar Monthly since 2001. Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Siegel earned a BA in English literature (1980) and an MBA (1989) from Yale University. She lives in Barnet, Vermont.
Carol Yacht is a business educator and textbook author. Yacht’s best-selling textbook, Computer Accounting with Peachtree (McGraw-Hill/Irwin), is in its fourteenth edition. She has also written textbooks for QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Office Accounting, Excel, and Carol Yacht’s General Ledger. Yacht’s writing career started in the classroom. To help her students learn new business and technology concepts, Yacht created instructional material. Her first book was published in 1979. Yacht is committed to teaching, learning, sharing, and writing. She is a frequent presenter at conferences.
Yacht teaches Accounting Information Systems at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, College of Business, Executive and Professional Education Center. She has also taught on the faculties of California State University–Los Angeles, West Los Angeles College, Yavapai College, and Beverly Hills High School. She is also the Accounting Section Editor for the Business Education Forum, a publication of the National Business Education Association; serves on the AAA Commons Editorial Board; and is a member of the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Advisory Council.
In 2005, Yacht received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Accounting Association Two-Year College Section. She is also a recipient of the Business Education Leadership Award from the State of California. Yacht received her MA from California State University–Los Angeles, BS from the University of New Mexico, and AS from Temple University.