VIRTUAL BUSINESS CHALLENGE PERSONAL FINANCE–2017

GOAL: You will use your account information to populate your Budget and Cash Flow Spreadsheet

  1. Watch the Cash Flow Video
  2. DOWNLOAD the Budget & Cash Flow Spreadsheet to the Google Drive on your machine from the STUDENT HOME–HOW TO PLAY page.
  3. Go to Student Home> Info Packet.
  4. Find and enter the simulation start date in cell A9 and the beginning bank account balance in cell B9 of the spreadsheet.
  5. Read through the offer letter from ProperLiving Widget & Engineering Design found in the Info Packet. Notice that this is the letter you received prior to starting work (almost a year ago). It is included to provide context for the simulation scenario, however pay dates and specific net pay information are obtained from Student Home>Vendor Selections>Job tab.
  6. Go to Student Home>Vendor Selections> Job tab, select the 401(k) plan and contribution percent.
  7. Scroll down to find the Paycheck Calculator. Notice that the row for your selected contribution percent is highlighted in yellow. You may need to refresh screen if it does not happen automatically.
  8. From the Job tab, determine the number of days from the start date until the first payday. Paychecks arrive every two weeks going forward from that date.
  9. Your net pay is money remaining from your paycheck once taxes and pre-tax deductions have been taken out. Net pay is the amount your employer deposits into your checking account.
  10.  Using the Paycheck Calculator, enter the net pay in the column B cell for the day after you get paid. This is important because the bank has a one-day Funds Availability Hold. That means you can use the money the day after it is deposited.
  11. Now, using the information on the remaining Vendor Selections tabs, enter the bill payments due before your first paycheck. Make sure to enter the bill amount for each vendor in their respective column in the spreadsheet on the date it is due.
  12. Look at the Checking Account Balance Column (Column O, highlighted in yellow). Respond to the following:
    1. At any point did the numbers turn red?
    2. What does it mean when the numbers turn red in the balance column?
    3. Were you able to pay all of your bills in full and on time without going below the minimum balance requirement (for the checking account type you selected )or going negative?
      1. If you answered yes, what could you have done to prevent your account from going negative and/or going below your account minimum?
      2. Discuss methods you will use to remember to pay your bills and keep your Budget and Cash flow Spreadsheet updated.
  13. After building budgets with expected inflows (Credits) and outflows (Debits), you should ask yourself these questions:
    1. Is my bank account projected to be positive every day in the simulation based on the current budget?
    2. Will I be below my bank account minimum balance requirement?
    3. Do I have the right bank account type?
    4. Do have I enough Net Income allocated to allow for enough liquid cash flow to pay my bills on time?
    5. Should I change my 401(k) percentage?
    6. Should I pay more or less on my credit card to fit my budget?
  14. You should not wait until a bill is due to issue the check. In the H&R Block Budget Challenge, there is a two-day processing window for checks. Plan ahead and schedule checks to pay for bills on time.
  15. It is important to remember that entering a payment on your CFS (Cash Flow Spreadsheet) does not schedule the bill to pay–the CFS is for your records only so you can check the bank statement to be sure it is correct–this is called reconciling your bank statement. You must schedule bills to pay at Student Home>Bank.
  16. The CFS is a great tool to guide you through the simulation when it is reconciled regularly.

Reminders

  • You can change your vendor choices in Vendor Selections Tabs until the simulation starts. Once the simulation begins, you can only change your 401(k) contribution percentage (at Student Home>401(k)) and your bank account type (at Student Home>Bank).
  • Remember that entering the check amount in your CFS does not pay the bill. Once the simulation begins, go to Student Home >Bank to issue checks to vendors.
  • There is a one-day hold on deposits. Enter deposits into the CFS on the date the funds are available.
  • Determine the best time of day to dedicate 10-15 uninterrupted minutes to managing money in the simulation. Use this time to update your budget and schedule bills. You should use the first 10 minutes of every class to do this!
  • Actively manage your budget on a regular basis. BE SURE TO LOGIN TO YOUR ACCOUNT AND CHECK YOUR EMAIL ON A DAILY BASIS!!
  • Reconcile the CFS (Cash Flow Spreadsheet) to the bank account activity regularly to ensure it is accurate–DO NOT ASSUME THE BANK STATEMENT IS CORRECT!!!!

SUMMARY: The Budget and Cash Flow Spreadsheet is really two tools in one: Budget – A plan for your money (for projecting over a long term). Cash Flow – Tracks money going into and leaving your bank account (for balancing and projecting cash position on a daily basis).

TERMINOLOGY:

Credit – Money added to your bank account. Also referred to as a deposit.

Debit – Money deducted from your bank account. Also referred to as a withdrawal.

Negative Balance – The bank account has less than $0.

Net Income – The dollar amount of your paycheck. This is your “take-home” pay.

Minimum Balance –The lowest balance possible without receiving a fee.

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