Author's Note

Welcome to this manual (and the accompanying website at http://personalfinance.byu.edu) on Personal Finance. We have tried to put together information on the most critical areas of personal finance for students, individuals, and families. We have developed a framework that we hope is clear, concise, and applies the best practices used in the industry. While there may be differences of opinion as to best practices in many of the areas discussed, this platform was developed to facilitate review and discussion of those best practices.

The ideas presented in this book were written with a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint (LDS) audience in mind; however, the financial principles taught herein can be easily extended to members of any Christian faith. Readers not of the LDS faith may encounter a few unfamiliar terms within this text. While these terms may provide valuable insights to members of the LDS faith, a thorough understanding of them is not required to understand the financial principles taught here. If you would like help about any of these terms, feel free to contact me at Personalfinance@byu.edu or visit the Topics page on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ website (http://lds.org/study/topics).

These manuals and website are updated every year for new information, changes to tax laws, and improvements in teaching methodologies. As such, I would appreciate feedback to help make this a better and more useful manual and website. While I have tried to present the material in as fair and balanced a framework as possible and am incorporating changes as they become apparent, there may be errors of omission or commission. While these personal finance manuals and website at http://personalfinance.byu.edu have been approved by the Marriott School of Management for distribution, they remain the work of the author. These errors are solely my responsibility and are not the responsibility of the Marriott School of Management, the faculty, or Brigham Young University.

Special Thanks

I express appreciation to the Rollins Center for eBusiness of the Marriott School of Management for its help and support in maintaining the website, the H. Taylor Peery Institute of Financial Services at the Marriott School for its help and support with the content, and the BYU Center for Teaching and Learning for its help with website design and implementation. Thanks also to Laura Lee Sudweeks for the cover photos and design of the printed versions.

I particularly want to thank the wonderful professors and staff who have helped in this process. They include Grant McQueen, Steve Thorley, Bernell Stone, Scott Sampson, Brent Wilson, Barrett Slade, Andy Holmes, Craig Merrill, Jim Engebretsen, Bruce Burgon, Skip Koller, Mike Pinegar, Steve Nadauld, Dean Longmore, Hal Heaton, Phil Bryson, Jim Brau, Bob Crawford, Keith Vorkink, Brian Spilker, and Joan Young of the Marriott School of Management; Madison Sowell, BYU Honors Program Director; Craig Israelsen of the School of Family Life; Todd Martin and Marilyn Miner of BYU Financial Aid; Michael C. Johnson, Dave Egbert, Blake Herzinger, Lynne Allred, David Hellewell, Andrea Velasquez, and David Eves of Center for Teaching and Learning; Michael Orme and Steve Sandberg of the BYU Legal Department; Dann Battistone of the BYU Athletic Department; and Melvin Thorne, Laura Rawlins, Kim Sandoval, Taylor Rouanzion, Jennifer McDaniel, Christina Champenois, Denise Remy, Camille Hartwig, Katie Newbold, and Jennifer McDaniel of the BYU Faculty Editing Service for their help and guidance.

I also appreciate the thoughtful comments of Stan Benfel of Beneficial Life; Claralyn Hill, attorney at law; Rick Hutchins of Novogradac; Fred Hockenjos of BJ Associates; Jason Payne of Payne Financial Management; Creed Archibald and Phil Sudweeks of Farmer’s Insurance; Dan Wilson of the LDS Church; Tyler Vongsawad of Northwest Mutual; and David Clark of Intermountain Healthcare.

I am thankful for all the hard work and suggestions from my many teaching assistants and students who have helped on this project, including Dallin Anderson, Steve Ashton, Josh Ashworth, John Beck, Will Beck, Mark Bohne, Dan Brown, Craig Bench, Jamon Clark, Derek Collette, Mark Cope, Nick Greer, Armando Gutierrez, Joshua Flade, Brian Harris, Sam Hawkins, Matt Herbert, Greg and Heather Hirschi, Lindsay Johnson, Charlotte Larson, April Lindgren Jones, Nathan Mickelson, James Pearce, Monte Schaffer, Preston Taylor, and Jeff Willson. I am also very appreciative of the many students who have added ideas and comments that have helped improve this book and this website.

Finally, special thanks goes to my wonderful wife, Anne, and our seven children, Kimberly (and Lane Aldrich), Natalie (and Taylor and Halle Barrett), Laura, Clinton, Emilee, Ashley, and Kaili, for all their love and support. They have been wonderful to put up with a dad who asks too many questions and makes too many comments on the area of personal finance. Without them and their love and support, this project would not have been possible.

Bryan Lorin Sudweeks, Ph.D., CFA
September 2011