0.1 Personal Investing Introduction

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INTRO: Economics 2130 – Personal Investing – Online

General Description of Economics 2130 – Personal Investing
This is an introductory economics course. It offers a wide-ranging overview of the role financial assets can play in achieving personal financial goals. This course won’t make you a millionaire, nor will it prepare you for a career as a hedge-fund manager. The goal is to increase your understanding of how financial markets work, and how to use financial assets as part of a life-long financial strategy. Your understanding of financial markets will be enhanced by learning the tools of economics, incorporating knowledge of human behavior, and becoming familiar with particular aspects of financial markets and assets.

In this course I offer you an introduction to investing within the context of a lifetime of personal finance. It’s not a personal finance course as such since we don’t talk about buying a car or a house, or using a credit card wisely, or managing your FICO score. But personal finance is the context for presenting and discussing all investment opportunities, so it is never too far from our minds.

Here are my expectations for you in this course. I hope you will:
1. Participate in the discussions and active learning opportunities
2. Enjoy playing the Virtual Stock Exchange game, even when it gets frustrating
3. Follow all applicable rules regarding academic honesty and student conduct
4. Treat your fellow students with respect,
and by doing so, you should:
5. Learn how simple economics can be relevant and useful
6. Remember some information about financial asset markets and how they work
7. Become more critical readers of stories and news in the media
8. Become better decision makers in your financial lives

Who am I?
I wear many hats, literally and figuratively. I am a Professor of Economics in the Economics Department, and Senior Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. I also have a consulting business, doing mainly expert witness work. (This is called forensic economics.) You may see me around campus, wearing a hat. Say hello if you want.

I was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia.
I have researched some diverse topics over my academic career:
Why students choose private or public colleges
The patterns of persistence at college
Why and how parents invest in their children through education
The contingent valuation method for valuing environmental services
The value of information
The costs of teenage pregnancy and parenthood
The price of water rights
Mitigating the losses from natural disasters
Responses to low probability, high loss events
Researching the social impacts of extreme weather events
Designing insurance policies for natural disasters
The practice of forensic economics in New Mexico
Hedonic damage testimony by forensic economists

I have taught many courses at the graduate and undergraduate level, including:
Microeconomic theory
Macroeconomic theory
Public Finance
Benefit-Cost Analysis and Welfare Economics
Risk Management
Personal Finance and Investing
The Economics of Higher Education

General Layout of Course Topics
Each Topic contains the following material and tasks.
Content – the equivalent of lecture notes, which could also include a video (probably me talking over slides, or hand-written notes or a diagram.)
Digressions – these are asides. Related material that is tangential, or less important.
Resources/Readings – PDFs or links to material on the internet to support lectures, asides, or homework. Includes YouTube videos.
Quizzes – short tests to be done after reading the lecture material.
Homework – More substantial individual work to be submitted from a choice of topics.
Discussions – Whole-class discussion topics, often based on a reading. Students must participate in the discussion as it is monitored and scored.
Virtual Stock Exchange – This can, and should, be discussed in the Discussion forums throughout the semester.