Your college instructor just assigned a personal finance essay as part of your business class, but you're not sure where to start. Personal finance topics range from financial decisions that affect your current life to those that will affect your future, such as retirement plans and investment opportunities. Select a topic that's related to a potential career path you might follow, or choose a subject you know little about but would like to incorporate into your personal finances.
You may decide on a money management topic. For example, you might write about preparing weekly or monthly budgets, finding low interest rates on credit cards, saving money on mortgages, staying out of debt, reducing tax liabilities, purchasing affordable insurance or types of student loans. Thinking of a strong thesis statement for an idea may help you choose your topic or narrow it. For example, if you decide to write about saving money on mortgages, you could narrow your topic choice by coming up with a thesis, such as "Making an extra mortgage payment once a year can save you thousands of dollars in interest."
Credit Cards and Debt
Credit card companies often target college students because they know students consume trendy items and don't always research interest rates and credit card policies before they sign on the dotted line. Opt for a topic about the pitfalls associated with having too much revolving credit or applying for credit cards with high interest rates. You might also discuss how a high debt-to-income ratio and a large number of open credit card accounts can lower your credit score. Discuss credit card penalties, such as expensive fees for missing credit card payments or paying late. A good specific topic could focus on credit card companies that offer low short-term rates only to hike them to high levels once the introductory period expires.
Major Purchases and Insurance
Most major purchases that require you to get a loan, including new automobiles and real estate, demand careful planning and attention to detail. You might choose a topic that discusses mortgage rates, types of mortgages, loan terms, interest over the life of a loan, closing costs, governments fees or mortgage pay-off penalties. Discuss ways individuals go about securing major loans, such as meeting income requirements, establishing strong credit scores and negotiating fees and interest rates. You might also discuss the importance of obtaining insurance policies to protect yourself, your property and your purchases, should accidents or theft occur.
Retirement and Investments
Many college students don't consider retirement plans or investment opportunities because they don't like to think that far into the future. You might choose a topic that spurs your classmates to consider retirement plans and investment opportunities as soon as they land their first major job. Consider topics such as 401k planning, IRA contributions, annuities, stock options, bonds and certificates of deposit.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.