Personal Finance Course, 11:373:353 (01)

Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics

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Personal Finance Case #2

Roy Bemmer, 54, has lots of concerns about his finances such as "should I chance taking $5,000 and investing it aggressively?" and "How well am I able to retire at age 60 or 62?" Bemmer is also very concerned about unemployment. His income last year was $83,866, but he expects to earn only $27,000 this year. Earlier this year, he was downsized and took early retirement in order to keep his medical benefits. He was also laid off previously in the late 1990s. Right now, he is living "paycheck to paycheck."

Bemmer is currently working in a series of temporary jobs with variable hours, so his monthly income is unpredictable. His financial goal for the near term is to save as much as possible for retirement and accumulate liquid assets in case he becomes unemployed again. Within ten years, he wants to purchase a new $25,000 vehicle and take vacations costing $3,000 to $5,000 per year. After that, retirement is on the horizon. Bemmer would like to live off his investments and Social Security.

Fortunately, Bemmer has accumulated significant assets to help achieve his goals. His net worth is $700,200. This includes $406,172 in a former employer's 401(k), $102, 413 in seven different mutual funds, $5,750 in savings and checking accounts, and $25,865 in 14 certificates of deposit. Approximately 90% of Bemmer's portfolio is invested in growth or growth and income mutual funds, including five different Vanguard funds and five different Fidelity funds. Bemmer's $110,000 house is owned free and clear, along with $30,000 of property and a $20,000 car, and he has no other debts.

Bemmer's monthly expenses were not listed. He did note, however, that he put 15% of his salary, when he was working, into a 401(k). Currently, he invests all surplus funds in two Vanguard index funds. Bemmer's financial data is meticulously kept in a series of computer-generated tables. He is single, lives alone, and has no financial dependents.

As for insurance, Bemmer has $14,000 of life insurance. His former employer pays all but $24 a month toward the cost of major medical health coverage and he has $500,000 of auto and homeowner's liability. He has never had disability coverage and wonders if he should buy a long-term care insurance policy since he will have nobody to care for him when he gets older. Bemmer has a will that was last reviewed in 1994.

Instructor: Dr. Barbara O'Neill, CFP®, Extension Specialist in Financial Resource Management and Distinguished Professor
Office: Room 107, Cook Office Building, 55 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 848-932-9126
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