Personal Financial Planning

Module Code FINU9PF
Semester Autumn
Prerequisite FINU9F3 or FINU9CF
Level 10
Credit Value 20
Module Co-ordinator Professor Alan Goodacre
Assessment 20% Group Report, 20% Class Test, 60% Examination

Module Introduction, aims and objectives

On the one hand we are constantly told that we need to save more, or work longer, in order to provide for our retirement goals. On the other hand we continually hear accounts of hardworking individuals who have done just that only to discover that their pension or mortgage endowment provision falls far short of what they were led to expect by their employer, mortgage advisor or financial planner. This module aims to alert students to the key forces driving the financial services industry and help them to identify the steps that they need to take in order to take control of their finances, hopefully at a stage that is early enough to make a difference. The different career opportunities available in personal finance are identified throughout the course.

Learning outcomes and skill developed

By the end of the module a student should be able to:

  • Describe the qualifications and skills required to provide professional financial advice
  • Understand the structure of the financial services industry and the challenges it faces
  • Explain the importance of compound interest rates and inflation in financial planning and demonstrate understanding via appropriate calculations of present values, future values and annuities.
  • Explain the interaction between risk and return from the point of view of a lender and that of a saver/investor
  • Describe the main types of savings and loan products available in the UK
  • Describe the main features of the UK tax system as they relate to individuals (i.e. income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax)
  • Describe and evaluate the main tax shelters available to savers in the UK
  • Determine current and future income requirements and develop a financial plan to achieve them
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the portfolio approach to risk reduction
  • Appreciate the importance of a holistic approach to financial planning that takes into account borrowing as well as saving
  • Describe the main alternative approaches to pension provision and their advantages and disadvantages from the perspective of an individual and of the pension provider
  • Describe how changing demographics might influence the returns available to the investors and pensioners of the future
  • Describe the main providers of financial advice for retail investors in the UK
  • Identify the different fee and commission structures in savings/loan products and discuss how these might influence the advice provided by ‘independent’ Financial Advisors
  • Describe, and discuss the possible causes and early warning signs of, ‘mis-selling’ scandals
  • Describe the main features of, and rationale for, the major types of protection insurance.
  • Understand the benefits of writing a will and outline how an estate will be distributed if a person dies without a will

Introductory reading

The main text which is an essential purchase for the module is:

Jane King and Mary Carey, ‘Personal Finance: a practical approach’, Oxford University Press (2014), [ISBN: 978-0-19-966883-0]. This is available for sale in the University Bookshop


This module information is representative of what is included in the module in a given year. Details of actual reading, lectures and coursework may vary year to year and will be available at the beginning of the semester.

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