| January 31, 2017

First Budget, Then Invest for Success! Joe and Mary Garner,married 12 years, have an eight-year-old child. Six years ago, they purchased a home on which they oweabout $110,000. They also owe $6,000 on their two-year-old automobile. All of their furniture is paid for, but they owe a total of $4,120 on two credit cards. Joe is employed as an engineer and makes $60,000 a year. Mary works as a part-time com-puter analyst and earns about $16,000 a year. Their combined monthly income after deductions is $4,520. About six months ago, the Garners had what they now describe as a “financial meltdown.” It all started one Monday afternoon when their air conditioner stopped cooling. Since their home was only six years old, theythought the repair ought to be a simple one—until the repair technician diagnosed their problem as a defective compressor. Unfortunately, the warranty on the compressor had run out about three months before the compressor broke down. According to the technician, it would cost over $1,200 to replace the compressor. Atthe time, they had about $2,000 in their savings account, which they had been saving for their summer vacation, and nowthey had to use their vacation money to fix the air conditioner. For the Garners, the fact that they didn’t have enough moneyto take a vacation was like a wake-up call. They realized they were now in their mid-30s and had serious cash problems. According to Joe, “We don’t waste money, but there just never seems to be enough money to do the things we want to do.” But according to Mary, “The big problem is that we never have enough money to start an investment program that could pay for our daughter’s college education or fund our retirement.” They decided to takea “big” first step in an attempt to solve their financial problems. They began by examining their monthly expenses for the past month. Here’s what they found:

Income (cash inflow)

Joe’s take-home salary$3,500

Mary’s take-home salary$1,020

Total income$4,520

Cash outflows

Monthly fixed expenses: Home mortgage payment, $ 890 including taxes and insurance

Automobile loan315

Automobile insurance130

Life insurance premium 50

Total fixed expenses$1,385Monthly variable expenses:

Food and household necessities$ 680


Answer the three questions listed below.

How would you rate the financial status of the Garners before the air conditioner broke down?
The Garners’ take-home pay is over $4,500 a month. Yet, after all expenses are paid, there is only a $220 surplus each month. Based on the information presented in this case, what expenses, if any, seem out of line and could be reduced to increase the surplus at the end of the month?
Given that both Joe and Mary Garner are in their mid-30s and want to retire when they reach age 65, what type of investment goals would be most appropriate for them?

Guided Response: Post your position in the discussion board in at least 200 words.

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