As an Ivy Tech student, you are making an investment in your education. This project will look at how that investment will pay off if you graduate and get a job in your desired field.

You will be comparing your future finances with someone who is not a college graduate. Assume that the median annual income for a high school graduate is** $****19****,000**, use this value in comparison statements.** **You should make use of **absolute and relative change** in some of the comparison statements in your paper (**without using the words absolute and relative change**). Be creative!

1) **Income Comparison: **Research your expected income after you graduate. Assume you obtain whatever level of education needed to enter your desired area of employment. We recommend using the annual **Median** salary found at: __http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_in.htm#27-0000__**You will need to click on your desired career in order to see the **Annual Median **wage. **If using a different source, you must cite it.*

◻ Your reflection paper should explain your desired area of employment and the median annual salary for that position.

◻ Your reflection paper should contain at least onestatement comparing your expected salary with that of the median income of a high school graduate. *Remember that absolute and relative change statements are an excellent way to compare values.*

2) **Housing Comparison: **Assume that you and your high school graduate counterpart plan to spend 25% of your gross monthly income on house payments. Research the current fixed rate APR for a 30-year mortgageand choose one that might fit your needs. Then use Excel to determine the largest value of a mortgage that each of you can afford to borrow under those conditions.

◻ Your reflection paper should contain at least onestatement comparing the value of the house that a high school graduate can afford and that you, as a college graduate expect to be able to afford.

◻ Explain in your reflection paper what Excel function was used for these calculations.**Do NOT use cell references in your paper**. Cite what source you used to find mortgage rates.

◻ Research housing costs in an area where you would like to live.Will your future salary allow you to afford the house you want, or should you consider other housing options? How much more or less must you spend to get the house you want? Cite what source you used to find housing costs.

3) **Retirement Comparison: **401 k investments are expected to earn a 5.75% annual return. Assume that 9% of gross monthly income is to be set aside for 401 k investment. In addition, your future employer will match 50% of your 401k investment, while the high school graduate’s employer will match 25%. Use Excel to determine the balance on such a 401 k after 40 years of investment for the high school graduate and for your expected income.

◻ Your reflection paper should contain at least onestatement comparing the balanceof the 401 k investment of the high school graduate and for your expected salary.

◻ Explain in your reflection paper what Excel function was used for these calculations.

◻ Your reflection paper should contain a statement of whether or not this 40-year balance is feasible for you to live on when you retire.

4) **Retirement Comparison Part 2: **How much money is the recommendation for you to retire?** **Research this question to find the amount you would be comfortable with when you retire. Then, still assuming a 5.75% return on your 401 k, what adjustments would you have to make to your investment to reach that balance by the time you want to retire? Cite what source you used in your research. *You do not have to consider this for the high school graduate.*

◻ Your reflection paper should contain an explanation of when youplan to retire, whatthe balance of money will be in your retirement account at that time, and how this was calculated. Assuming this will be enough for you to live on in your retirement, will you need to change your investment strategy? If so, how?

**Project Checklist:**

◻ Paper **must**contain some **relative change statements**.

◻ Explanation of career choice and the salary for this career.

◻ Comparison of your expected college salary vs. a high schoolgraduate.

◻ Comparison of monthly house payments and house you could afford with expected salary vs. high school graduate.

◻ Explanation of how house value was determined.

◻ Reflection on the housing costs and researchedhouse values.

◻ Comparison of 40-year 401k balance with expected salary vs. high school graduate.

◻ Comparison of monthly investment amounts for you and employer for your expected salary vs. high school graduate.

◻ Explanation of how the 401k value is determined.

◻ Explanation ofestimate for how much money and number of yearsneeded to retire.

◻ Explanation of how you could achieve thatretirement fund.

◻ Paper should be elegant and coherent with a logical organization.

◻ Paper should be free of grammatical and mechanical errors.

◻ An organized spreadsheet with clearly labeled values.

◻ Completed project should be submitted via Ivy Learn on time.

In addition to addressing the statements above, your project should:

◻ Contain your name, course name and project name.

◻ Be well organized and easy to follow.

◻ The paper should be in paragraph form with an introduction, main body, and conclusion.

◻ Be clear to by someone who is not familiar with the project.

◻ Provide support for your statements e.g. explain how values were found. Do not use cell references!

◻ Give specific values (i. e. quantify statements).

◻ Use appropriate representations (tables, color) that helps the reader understand the project.

◻ Contain a variety of comparison statements, including the use of **relative change **sentences.

◻ **Project should be your original work. Copying someone else’s work is cheating. Sharing your work with someone else is cheating.**