Getting Rich



Getting Rich is an undergraduate course that I teach about wealth and personal finance. We will learn about the income and wealth distributions, how people accumulate these resources, and whether it is possible to change positions in the income and wealth distributions over time. We also learn about personal finance including basics of cash management, saving, buying real estate, investing, and dealing with work benefits. In the process, we will explore how financial markets function, including markets for housing, stocks, bonds, credit, and related instruments.


It might seem that research on income and wealth are far removed from issues of personal finance. In reality, however, you can understand each of these issues much better if you understand the other. That is, to understand who has income and wealth, it helps to understand the nuances of personal finance. Similarly, to be effective at personal finance, it can be really useful to understand the academic research on the behaviors and processes that affect how people deal with their money.

Course Objectives
  1. to learn about how income and wealth are distributed and why;
  2. to learn about how people navigate markets to manage personal financial resources and to reach financial goals;
  3. to improve understanding of the use of various financial tools including real estate, financial assets, and credit.
Part 1
  1. Wealth & Income: Who Cares?
  2. The One Percent
  3. The Rise of the Super Rich
  4. Varieties of Billionaires
  5. Explaining Inequality
  6. Is the Top Permeable? Upward and Downward Mobility
Part 2
  1. Budgeting &ash Accounts
  2. The Home: Renting vs. Owning
  3. The Real Estate Purchase Process
  4. Investing in Financial Assets: Concepts & Ideas
  5. Investing in Financial Assets: Strategies & Approaches
  6. Starting Your Own Business
  7. Spending: Luxury Fever, Philanthropy, etc.
  8. Credit Savvy &ebt Recovery
  9. Pawn Shops, Check Cashing Outlets, & Fraud
  10. Ponzi Schemes
  11. How Much is Enough?