Investments (FIN 321)


FIN 321-01

Fall 2014

Roosevelt University



Instructor: Donald W. Swanton

Contact Information: office Wabash 1112Z, telephone (312) 281-3278, fax (312) 281-3290, email, web site   My web site has information about office hours etc. Google “Swanton Roosevelt” to find me most easily.

Time: Tuesday-Thursday 12:30-1:45

Location: WB 1214

Text: There is no required text. I will be handing out my Notes on Investments (S) in class as the semester progresses. Recommended are The Psychology of Investing 4th ed. By John R . Nofsinger Prentice Hall ISBN-13: 978-0-13-611703-2 and expecially A Random Walk Down Wall Street 10th ed. 2012by Burton Malkiel (M). Get this one cheap in whatever format from It’s a good read, and we will be discussing it and looking at some of the graphs.

Prerequisites: ECON 101-102, MATH 116 or 121, ENG 101-102, ECON 234 or MATH 217, and FIN 311.

Goals: In this course students look at long-term investment situations, such as retirement planning, and we use the theoretical tools of modern finance to explore the trade-offs between risk and return.

Homework:   I will assign homework each week due the next Tuesday. Much of Tuesday will be spent discussing the problems as assigned and then augmenting them. I will collect but not grade homework assignments, but that does not mean that you can afford to not at least try them before Tuesday. The problems will come back in modified form in the quizzes. Finance is not a spectator sport.

Student Learning Objectives: business discipline principles, quantitative techniques.

Grades: Grades will be determined by an equally weighted average of the best three out of the four quiz grades and the retirement planning project. Quizzes and the project will receive the numerical version of letter grades, A = 4.00, A/B = 3.50, B = 3.00 B/C = 2.50, etc. An average above 3.50 is required for an A, above 2.50 for a B etc.  I do not give plusses and minusses.  I will post new sample quizzes on my web page the week before each quiz.

Attendance: I do not take attendance, but see the homework point.

Plagiarism: Please review Roosevelt’s policy on plagiarism.

Religious Holidays: Roosevelt’s policy is to accommodate students who will be celebrating religious holidays. Talk to me in the first couple of weeks, and we will work something out.


Notes: My Notes on Investments currently consist of:

S1        Risk and Return

S2       Real and Nominal Returns

S3       Retirement Planning

S4       Efficient Markets

S5       Event Studies

S6       The Two Fund Separation Theorem

S7       Bond Risk and its Measurement: Duration

S8       The Term Structure of Interest Rates

S9       Interest Rates and Bond Prices

S10     The Theory of Interest


The following schedule is tentative. We may get ahead of it at some points and will probably fall behind at others. Revised schedules will always be on my web page.


As of October 6, 2014

Date                 Notes                Topics

Aug 26             S1, S9              Introduction, risk and return, interest rates and bond prices

That is correct. We will begin the week BEFORE Labor Day September 1.

Sep 2                S2                     Real and Nominal Returns

Sep 9                S2, S3              Real and nominal again, retirement planning

Sep 16              S3, M14           Retirement planning and life cycle investing

Sep 23*            S3                     More

Sep 30              S4                     Efficient markets

Oct 7                 ///                    Review of probability and statistics, correlation

Oct 14*             S6                     Portfolio theory, the Two-Fund Separation Theorem

Oct 21              S6                      More

Oct 28              S6, S5              The Capital Asset Pricing Model,  event studies

Nov 4*             S4, S6              Recap, including human capital

Nov 11             S8-10               Interest rates and bonds

Nov 18             S10                  The theory of interest

Nov 25             ////                 Thanksgiving Vacation

Dec 2               S8, S9              Bond risk and its measurement: duration

                                                 Projects Due December 2, 2014

Dec 9*              ////                  Last Quiz

The asterisk * denotes a quiz on the Thursday of that week, including the last quiz during final exam week.



Standard Project

You are a financial planner.  You have clients who are just beginning to think about planning for retirement.  They are both thirty five years old and have $80,000 in a company retirement plan which they can roll over into their own plan.  They want to retire at 67 but are wondering what effect retiring a year or two earlier or later will have on their retirement.  Their combined income is $100,000 per year, and they want to finance the same income in retirement in real terms.  When they retire they can purchase a two-life annuity with an expected second death at age 87. They need retirement and portfolio planning.

They have not taken any finance courses, and their last mathematics course was many years ago.  They will not understand equations, formulas, or finance jargon.  Large tables will make their eyes glaze over.  Charts and graphs may be helpful. You must explain your recommendations to them in simple, ordinary language.  Prepare a plan with some alternative rates of return and retirement dates and explain what annual contributions they must make to the plan to make their retirement what they want.  Talk in depth about the trade-off between risk and high expected return. Suggest some mutual fund portfolios for them. Make your own assumptions about social security by the time they retire.



Alternative Retirement Project

Use yourself as the client, with your own present situation. This client differs from the real you, because he/she has not taken any finance courses and does not know any more than the clients in the First Choice project.


General Information


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