Project 2 Reflection

In this reflection you should be explaining what you learned from the experience of doing this project. There is a 750 word limit to this reflection. It should not be a reiteration of how you calculated certain values, but rather insight on both the process of calculating the statistics yourself, thinking about your own retirement, career, earnings, savings, and how that ties together with what we have discussed in the course. Please read the link below about how to address a reflection in an economics course for guidance about what I am looking for here.

From Monash: When reflecting on your learning (such as an educational theory you’ve learned about within a unit) you might address the following questions:

  • Description – What is the concept, idea or theory you are reflecting on?
  • Analysis – Are there aspects you found particularly interesting or challenging? Does it tie in with anything you have learned in the past? Has it changed the way you think, or affirmed something you already knew?
  • Outcomes or Action – What else might you need to find out? Do you have any questions? How might you incorporate or apply these ideas in the future, perhaps in your professional life?

Whether reflecting on an experience, on your own learning, or both, you will need to make sure you include descriptionanalysis and outcomes or action.

A reflection should be about 20% description and 80% analysis. Thus a reflection that is mostly retelling what you did in your calculations would be uninteresting and tedious. Tell me what you learned here and how it all ties together. I am *most interested* in how this project has changed your thinking or helped you think critically.

11 thoughts on “Project 2 Reflection”

  1. While I was creating the retirement plan I realized the importance of savings and investments. When I was younger I started a bank account where I would put all the money I got for birthdays, gifts, and jobs to help me pay for college and so I have already started this process, but I never fully appreciated how helpful it could be. While I am not sure what my current interest rate is, in the Excel sheet I put down a relatively small amount and I was still shocked by the amount of savings. I was a little confused at first but after looking into the apps/articles you provided I feel like I have a much better idea of how to save for retirement as well as have a new appreciation for it. I think my favorite part of this whole assignment was being able to see the savings that I could get throughout the years just through interest without even adding things like paychecks and so thinking about how much money I will be able to save one I start adding money as well has gotten me very excited.
    While I am in school I am not able to make any money, but what I have been doing is taking some advice from a past professor. When I was still in high school I was chosen to be a part of an academic program at Virginia Tech called Governor’s school and while I was there I took an economics course. We spent an entire day talking about spending and my professor was giving a bunch of tips to help us save up and I have still been doing some of those things. One of the things he recommended doing is every time you get paid, put a fraction in savings. He also recommended picking a reasonable amount to pay every week or month and add that to savings as well. While I know that doesnt have to do with this project, I have not been as regular at doing this as I hoped, but after doing this project I have gotten really excited to continue this to save up money.
    After reading up more on the topic I have created plan/list of things that I want to do to help maximise my savings. I have already downloaded an app to help track my savings and another app to track my spending. My plan it to create either a monthly or yearly budget for categories like food, shopping, electronics, maintenance, etc and use that as a guide to help rein in my spending. I am also planning on putting most of the cash I have into the bank to allow it to grow. I also am planing to talk to my parents about what they have done and recommend for me to do to help maximize my savings.
    One thing I want to find out is exactly how much I have in my savings and what the interest rate is so I can plug in those exact amounts and see what the new savings would be for my personal account. I never thought I could get so excited for savings but I am really excited to keep.

  2. Doing this project and writing down a savings plan with taking my family into consideration, I learned how important it truly was to be able to save money. One thing that really had me doing some research was making sure I was choosing the right career path that would help me to fulfill my responsibility of taking care of my family while trying to save for myself and my future needs. I also had to think about the importance of moving to a place where job opportunities would be great with a balanced cost of living. While I was calculating how much I would have left every month after some of the expenses, I realized that even though I am living with my parents, if I wasn’t and I decided to move out, I would truly be struggling with trying to save money because I would have all the expenses fall on me. So I began to appreciate the values of my culture and living with my family and taking care of one another. It definitely isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and many choose to move out and move to another city but for me, in order to save up money while fulfilling my needs, I think it would be a smart choice to be with my family and help each other out while also taking care of my own personal savings goal.

    As I was calculating the expenses and then calculated how much I would have left every month, I realized that I have to be smart with what I spend my money on. Money doesn’t come easy and we often have to work hard for it so when I was creating this savings plan, I realized how important it was to not waste my money on unnecessary materialistic things but rather be smart with my choice of spending and saving. For me, it’s more about making sure I save more than I spend. Aside from that, while I was creating a savings plan, I wanted to incorporate life events that will mostly happen when I get a job. Whether it was buying a bigger family home or moving to another city, I had to think about those factors and include it in my savings plan so that I can look at this savings plan and make sure it is similar to what my future savings plan would look like when I officially began to work and move to another place. Taking those factors into consideration was important because it played a part in terms of how much I might be spending and how much I would likely be saving with my specific degree. However, overall seeing how much I am able to save with my circumstances was really exciting!

    One thing I want to look more into that would help with my savings plan once I actually graduate, is where would be the best place to move for me and my professional career growth but will also help me save more money in the long run. I touched base on this in my savings plan but I truly want to pay more attention to potential places that offer more salary in my field than another place and how I would then plan to manage the move spent and saved.

  3. While working on my retirement plan I realized two main things; living is expensive and I am terrible with saving money. I have lived a very privileged life where I was able to receive an allowance and it was easy for me to ask my parents for money when I was not working in high school. I was also not concerned with saving money until recently, which I know will hurt me in the long run. My career choice will also not help me with saving because a teacher’s salary is on the lower side. When I calculated my earnings and savings for each month, I completed it as I was a living alone in my current city and none of my habits changed except for saving money for retirement. This made me realize how much of my luxuries and privileges that I have while at home are paid for by my parents, and if I were to completely move out I would have to have multiple jobs if I wanted to keep my lifestyle the same. My current plan is to continue to work during school and during breaks in order to save up more money all while living with my parents.

    When calculating all my expenses I noticed that I would have extra money if I were to move to a different area after graduation. I would have the same salary but rent and some bills would cheaper, although not by much. This extra money would also lead to me being able to save more money in the long run. In order to save money there would be things I would have to give up that caused unnecessary spending. After my calculations, I saw I would have very little money left for spending or emergencies, which is terrifying to think about because asking my parents for money cannot be my solution as an adult. I have never dealt with investing my money because, to be quite honest, it terrified me and I did not know what to do. After completing this project and this course, I believe I have the knowledge to star saving and investing on a smaller scale in order to better my future. This project very eye-opening and I plan to complete a different plan once I become older and have my own family.

  4. While growing up, my parents always stressed the importance of understanding how to spend your money. Throughout my life, I slowly started to understand it. But through this class I really understand what it meant to save for retirement. I am a finance major and want to do something like a financial adviser or something involving stocks. Therefore, not only for myself but I want to help people invest their money in the best possible way. But for myself, I need to be smart with my money, by understanding what is essential, what I am going to want to buy that month, and what money I can save or invest. All those factors tie into my future salary, where I live, and my family life. One thing I have done wrong so far in my plan was not taking advantage of my college years making money while still having support from my family. By starting young, I can save up money that will help me get on my feet easier as I get older. But it goes deeper than that. Knowing things about your bank and the stock market are very important. Understanding how much money to invest into your bank for a good return or understanding how the stock market works and making smart investments will be important in getting a good return on investment when I am older. Most importantly, for me at least, being smart with my money in the future is in the best interest for my family. It will be a good backbone for my family if anything were to go wrong. One example of the importance of investing and saving money is the COVID-19 outbreak. Many are laid off or fired because businesses can not afford to have certain employees. Having money saved away could help you and your family survive during times like this.

  5. During Part 1, I realized that the subject I chose related directly to me. I chose JMU (A more expensive for me, non-profit college.) I live in Pennsylvania, so I could have strived to go to UPenn, Pittsburgh, Xavier, etc… However, instead of receiving instate tuition for those colleges, I chose JMU. I decided to go to a college which would give back to their students with the money they spend. I never understood the non-profit organizations/universities and for-profit, and their differences. However, this project had me do more research on them and their pros and cons, and why someone would want to pick one over the other.
    For Part 2, I have always had a passion for inequality, I always loved researching the topic and finding paradox like pictures and finding many hidden meanings behind them. This part for me was enjoyable describing a factor of inequality. I have watched many videos behind the inequality of opportunity, which has to the possibility to relate to systematic racism which I am also intrigued by.
    Before this project, I practically knew nothing about stocks, how they work, and what processes go into them. I have had IRAs and investments into stocks and shares before this project once I turned 18, however, my dad practically did everything for me. I didn’t understand anything about it. However, this project lead to me having a two-hour lecture with my father on what my stocks are, and how to continue to use them and look at them. I learned how to look at my stock and track it whenever I feel like it. I found it interesting how important investing truly is to myself, especially in the long run. I never once investigated my future and how I would receive enough money to retire and be okay from there. After these couple hours of a sudden realization of my shares, I am now truthfully interested and committed to continuing looking at my stocks and adding to them and buying and managing new shares. In the past, my high school would have people who specialized in this subject of investing come to the school and attempt to teach and engage students in the importance of investing. Which I ignored thinking that there was no way that it would apply to me at that age.

  6. My parents instilled a strong importance of savings, ever since I was young. A big stress on how you can still have the things you desire while balancing the necessities. This has become very noticeable in my life decisions especially since living in an apartment and seeing my choices compared to other people. My value of money is different than others I live with, and working has pushed me to realize what my own money is worth, while the loans I have taken out are always in the back of my mind. I have chosen the route of money over happiness when picking my college major which hopefully will allow me to not only have the ability to save more but retire earlier in a state where I can enjoy my later years in life more. The median salary for advertising in marketing is 117,000 dollars, although this job usually requires living in the city. I have decided I hope to live close, but not directly in the urban area and commute. This will cut the cost of high living in the city, except the cost of traveling. I not only hold stocks but recently invested in a mutual fund that does not have as high of return but it does have a better security blanket. I need to have a diverse portfolio, but also not live my life relying on a 401K or stocks. I know. Many Americans think a retirement plan is what they should put their bets on, but especially with what is going on now, I fear more of what my future may look like relying on government money. Knowing this I know I need to save at least 10% of my monthly income or 500 dollars in an investment account to watch my money grow. I think another important aspect is educating myself more on events in the world, and where I should be investing based on that. Many people leave their money to others which can be good but I should also understand where my money is going and when to pull it or invest more.

  7. This project was seen as a wake-up call to me on the importance of money and saving it precisely. After completing part one of this project, I learned how some colleges are seen as a business to some people and factoring in the incentives while deciding which institution to attend is a significant part of the decision process. There are two ways to look at college experience, one being a return on investment and the other being the experience in total. Those looking to save money and are taking out loans should consider their first two years of college at a cheaper institution, and then receive their bachelor’s degree at a more established one if given the opportunity.

    After learning more about the financial debt of college and its importance, I took a more profound understanding of inequality as well. Many individuals are unable to attend universities, especially some with great potential based on their financial standpoint of tuition. Students from inner cities and lower-income status should be given the same opportunity to attend established universities not based on the price. In final, I believe one day that bright students should be given higher education based on their dedication to succeeding and not price.

    Since I was young, saving money and making proper financial decisions has been a big part of my family. I was always taught to get your money’s worth and be proud of what you paid for. Proper investing in stocks or bonds is a handy tool to have while growing up. I personally have been using Robinhood, and I started investing last year and will continue to grow my portfolio and use it as a savings account. Using Robinhood, even if it isn’t for a lot of money, teaches you not to touch your money and to learn the ups and downs of the stock market. Learning from apps like Robinhood and Acorn shows the importance of not spending your money drastically. One thing I plan on doing is saving a certain amount of my income per month and not touching this money regardless of the point of life I’m in. Not moving this money will help for a “dry year” like this COVID-19 pandemic and will be more useful than buying unnecessary materialistic things. Growing a savings account at a young age will give you an edge when you plan on retiring in the future. Finally, a vital part of being financially stable is your cost-of-living. I plan on living at home after college for a couple of years to save money on unnecessary things if I’m able to. Keeping your cost-of-living down is money you can add to your retirement/savings plan in the future.

  8. This project really helped me realize how important saving and investing is. My dad is super into the stock market and it is always on the TV in my house. He stresses out over it a lot (especially now due to COVID causing the stock market to tank) so I never really paid attention to stocks, saving, or investing. However, I will be graduating and entering the workforce in a year so this project gave me some direction and idea of what I will need to do to ensure I live a stable life as well as be able to plan for retirement. As of now, it is fairly difficult to plan for my savings because my future career as a political commentator has a huge wage scale (some are making $30,000 while others are making multi-millions). However, I do know that I will have to move close to a large city to work which is not something I want to do and certainly is not something I was planning on until recently. Having to plan to live near a major city is something I need to start doing now as the standard cost of living skyrockets. I have been lucky enough that my dad opened stocks for my sisters and I when we were younger, though he manages them for us. However, I think that I am going to have my dad explain things to me and get me involved in the stock market and how I can budget for my future. Throughout this project, and just this class in general, I have realized how savings and investing is knowledge you need to have before you start doing it.

  9. While creating my retirement plan it made me think a lot about different aspects of my life. It made me think about my career, my family life and where I want to be in life when I retire. The first question I had to ask myself was how much I want to save for retirement. I chose 3 million dollars to be safe because I want to retire at 55 which is younger than when most people retire. I want to retire at 55 so that I can travel the world at an where I am physically still able. My mantra throughout my life has always been, work hard now and it will pay off in the end. Another factor that I had to think about was what kind of job do I want. I am currently a CIS major and I am leaning towards consulting but still leaving my options open. I had to estimate my job salary by looking up jobs that I would apply for when I graduate on LinkedIn and Glassdoor. This part of the project gave me an opportunity to read more job descriptions and figure out what kind of consulting jobs I would like and what I wouldn’t like. In the process of figuring out how much I wanted to save I realized that it would be beneficial to me to estimate my investments even though I was not going to calculate it into my final retirement savings. I was curious as to what I could potentially gain from investments if I consistently invested throughout the time I worked. I estimated that I could make up to $860,000 USD in investments in the 35 years from now till I retire.

    Throughout the whole project, I realized how much my personal life would impact my work choices and the inequality I would have to face as a woman in a man dominant workforce. I had to think about if I want kids and when do I want to have kids. I had to think about would I want to be a stay at home mother and willing to sacrifice a full-time career to take care of them. In my retirement plan, I chose to not have children so that I could work full time until I am 55. But in reality, I will probably have children I just don’t know when. While doing research for the second part of the project I learned a lot about gender inequality in the workforce and is a hard truth I know I will have to face. If I were to take maternity leave, the company that I work for may or may not pay me for it and I would have to take that into account in my expenses and savings. A company could give as little as 6 weeks of unpaid maternity leave which is not enough in my opinion. I found this difficult at first to understand because many of my male classmates may have not had that in mind when creating their retirement plans. Overall, I found this project very interesting as it gave me insight into what my financial future may look like.

  10. This project was a reinforcement of what I’ve been told growing up. Ever since I had my bank account opened my parents, especially my dad, emphasized the importance of investing and planning for the future. This and the fact that growing up my family lived a “semi-frugal” lifestyle sculpted my appreciation for saving and investments for retirement. This project furthered the appreciation when I took a look into what I have invested in stocks myself through two “investing apps”, Stockpile and Robinhood, and experimenting with the spread sheets Professor Neveu provided us. It showed that as much as I have invested and planned on continuing investing that I have much more to go. I’ve seen commercials and ads about what people need for retirement and it seems that the consensus is to have $1,000,000 and $3,000,000 saved up for use once retired. That does seem like a daunting task, and it can be, which is why one should start to invest as soon as they get their first paycheck.
    The key investment tools I plan on using, and are using some currently, are stocks, dividends, Roth IRA and company’s 401k retirement account. Investments such as stocks are volatile and value can change drastically, meanwhile IRA and 401ks are normally less so, the two types can end up balancing each other out. There are a lot of factors that would go into how much money I end up introducing into my investments. For example, my salary with the first career job after JMU would determine the percentage I put into stocks and additions to my Roth IRA. Also, another key factor would be where I end up living, which affects my overall consumption through various payments such as rent/mortgage.
    I am an advocate for dabbling in some stocks to gain experience in how certain things effect the economy. From all these years of passively listening to what my dad was watching on tv, more actively as of late, I’ve caught instances of conversations about things like interest rates, tariffs and other fluctuating factors. I’ll be honest it was not until I had bought my first stocks that I had gained appreciation for the importance of these factors on the stock market. But at the same time these factors can end up improving your overall investments dramatically. This class and project helped me understand even more how what the Fed does to people’s investments and how it happens.

  11. While working on this project I realized how closely part 1 relates to me. When I was deciding on what college I wanted to go to it was between Rowan University and JMU. I live in New Jersey and if I decided to go to rowan I would only have to roughly $20,000 a year, because I live in-state, while I decided to go to JMU and I pay roughly $40,000 a year because I live out of state. This part of the project really helped me go deeper into understanding why I chose the school I did.
    For part 2 of this project, inequality has always been an important topic for me. Gender inequality has always been an interest of mine. The reason this interests me so much is that I never see people by their gender, race, or by what they believe in. I see everyone as equal and as human beings. I don’t like it how people can diminish women, give them lesser pay, and just overall act like women don’t mean or contribute anything to this world. If people treated everyone as if they were equal and everyone is on the same level and no one is treated like they are lesser of a human then this world be a lot better and everyone would get along with each other.
    Before I started working on this project, I didn’t know much about how stocks worked or about the best way to make money off them. The only thing that I really know-how stocks is you buy low and sell high. After I did my research for this project I still had many questions that I wanted to be answered. I decided to go talk to both of my parents, mainly my mom because she owns a bunch of stocks, my dad though really knows a lot about the economy and which stocks are the best and what you need to look at before you decide to buy a stock. After talking to them I have a much better understanding of buying and selling stocks and about my shares. I plan on getting into stocks more and more as I get older because I can feel really help better my future by doing this. My personal plan for my future is to invest some of my money to try and make it into more money. If I end up making money I will immediately put that money away for my future kids so they can live a fun, healthy, and successful life.

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