Mike Ilitch School of Business offers new course on personal finance

A 2016 Federal Reserve study found that 47 percent of Americans can’t afford an unexpected $400 bill, a statistic that reveals just how common poor financial health is. Financial literacy has become so critical to an individual’s quality of life that the Mike Ilitch School of Business is offering a new course – FIN 3050: Personal Financial Planning – to teach students the skills they need to build good financial habits.

The elective is taught by faculty member Matt Roling, a CPA and CEO of BoostUp, a financial technology startup based in downtown Detroit. “A lot of people don’t have a good handle on the tools they need to be successful with their finances,” he said. “I want to teach students that while it’s common to have limited wealth when you are young and in college, it’s still important to develop good money habits.”

The primary focus of the class is to teach key concepts of financial planning, consumer credit, major purchases and investing. The course also touches on insurance, taxes, estate planning and financial innovation (e.g., cryptocurrency). 

“This course is unlike any you have taken – demanding and challenging, and ultimately extremely rewarding in many ways,” Sudip Datta, chair of the finance department, said.

Roling said the students’ first task is to create and maintain a spending diary for two weeks to track their finances. Students also sign up for credit monitoring and calculate their own statement of net worth.

Roling is currently teaching the course to about 45 students and said he tries to remind them that financial health is a marathon, not a sprint. “Financial independence isn’t about sitting on a beach drinking margaritas, it’s about living your life on your terms without worrying about whether or not you’ll be able to make your next mortgage or car payment,” he said.

For more information about the course, please contact the Ilitch School’s Undergraduate Student Services office at 313-577-4505.

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