Basic Personal Finance

Cover 2019This book was an unplanned work of passion. It started when I volunteered to teach personal finance at the Florida Youth Challenge Academy (FLYCA), a program for at-risk youth. I was looking for something to give the students that they could take with them and reference after graduation. Sadly, the school couldn’t afford to buy anything for the students, and I didn’t really find any books that fit the target audience. Then I got the terrible news that Richard Fullerton passed away in December 2016. I was heartbroken for the family and frustrated that I couldn’t do anything; I couldn’t even get back to Colorado for the funeral. Shortly after that, I met with a high school principal who wanted to start a personal finance class at his school. I decided to write Basic Personal Finance as a tribute to Rich. I started with his 2007 classroom handout (which I updated while working for him). I updated all the information for 2016, and built it up cover all Florida Department of Education standards for economics and financial literacy as well as specific topics that FLYCA wanted covered.

To date (Dec 2021), I’ve donated over 600 books to local area high school and college students. The second edition added nearly 20 pages to cover changes to the tax code and military retirement, and added a section on college and career choice based on my interaction with local students.

Below are some support materials for those using the book to teach a class or who can’t read the images or tables as published in the book. (You can right click to download any of these.) A typos list follows.

Uniformed Services Blended Retirement System  (New material not in 2017 version)


Finance Project (A little 3-page retirement planning project)


  1. 2018 Tax Brackets (2017 edition: 2016 Tax Brackets)
  2. Budget Start (2017 edition: Budget Start)
  3. Average Expenditures (2017 edition: Average Expenditures)
  4. Sample Budget (2017 edition:  Sample Budget)
  5. CD Interest Rates (2017 edition: CD Interest Rates)
  6. Loan Example
  7. 1997-2018 Effective Returns (2017 edition: 1995-2016 Effective Returns)
  8. 1997-2006 Amazon Revenue
  9. Top & Bottom Earning Majors
  10. 2019 Military Pay Chart (2017 edition) 2017 Military Pay Chart
  11. Flight Pay
  12. Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay
  13. 2017 BLS Consumer Expenditures (2017 edition: 2014 BLS Consumer Expenditures)


  1. Sample Check
  2. Sample Check Register
  3. Sample W-2 (2017 edition: Sample W-2)
  4. Sample 1040 (2017 edition: Sample 1040EZ)
  5. 2018 Tax Table (2017 edition: 2016 Tax Table)
  6. Simulated Portfolio

Blog: There are several blog posts that build on the concepts in the book (as well as other random economic topics). You can use the search bar on the right to pull up posts on any subject ofCover Front  interest.

Typos in 2017 edition: (Let me know if you find any more)
pp24, 33& 38, investments and retirement are discussed in Chapters 6 & 7, not 7 & 8

p28, Insurance is discussed in Chapter 8, not 6

p50, last paragraph: “Also, having over 80% equity in the home…” should be 20%. (This is fixed in later copies of the book.)

p148, the second column (Lease) should sum to $1,978, not $2,637