Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

3 hours per week for twelve weeks or equivalent

Unit rationale, description and aim

The purpose of economic activity is to advance all members of society and the vulnerable. When people reach an advanced age, without secure financial resources, older Australians can be vulnerable. This personal financial planning unit provides additional theoretical knowledge and develops practical business problem solving skills related to the economic well-being of individuals within the Australian society. It introduces students to the key financial planning knowledge areas and the compliance regime in which personal financial planning operates in Australia. It then requires in-depth research into the complex financial situations facing individuals and the development of appropriate personal financial planning strategies to meet identified goals and objectives. This unit provides a bridge between the financial services industry and the Australian society it seeks to serve.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate the knowledge of the responsibility of financial planners in the context of serving the common good and the inherent challenges in the role. (GA1, GA5)

LO2 - Apply the knowledge of the inherent conflicts of interest and moral concerns in financial planning and the importance of maintaining high community standards in managing client relationships. (GA3, GA5)

LO3 - Evaluate the needs and risk profiles of clients. (GA5, GA6)

LO4 - Evaluate diverse financial services and products. (GA4, GA5)

LO5 - Construct a financial plan adhering to all compliance and regulatory guidelines. (GA5, GA8)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include:

  • The financial planning environment including the role of the Financial Planning Association of Australia and the various compliance regimes
  • Ethics, compliance, effective communication strategies, and the client-advisor relationship in the context of codes of conduct within the profession
  • Preparation of cashflow and budgeting 
  • Sources of securing credit and strategies for managing credit 
  • Asset allocation and investment alternatives 
  • Effects of taxation on personal financial planning 
  • The use of insurance products as risk management tools 
  • Superannuation products and retirement planning
  • Social security 
  • Estate planning principles 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The teaching and learning strategy is built on a “student-focused approach,” which can be described as “Level 3. Focus: what the student does” instead of a “teacher-focused approach,” ACU’s teaching policy focuses on learning outcomes for students. Our teaching aims to engage students as active participants in the learning process while acknowledging that all learning must involve a complex interplay of active and receptive processes, the constructing of meaning for oneself, and learning from others. ACU promotes and facilitates learning that is autonomous and self-motivated, is characterised by the individual taking satisfaction in the mastering of content and skills and is critical, looking beneath the surface level of information for the meaning and significance of what is being studied.

The schedule of the workshop is designed in such a way that students can achieve intended learning outcomes sequentially. Teaching and learning activities will apply the experiential learning model, which encourages students to apply higher order thinking. The unit ensures that learning activities involve real-world scenarios that in turn assist with ‘real-world’ preparedness. The unit also uses a scaffolding technique that builds a student’s skills and prepares them for the next phase of the learning process. 

This unit is taught in a flipped classroom format and will require face-to-face attendance in specific physical location/s. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops, most students report that they spend an average of one hour preparing before the workshop and one or more hours after the workshop practicing and revising what was covered. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for you to prepare and revise. It is up to individual students to ensure that the out of class study is adequate for the optimal learning outcomes and successes.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessments are used primarily to foster learning. ACU adopts a constructivist approach to learning which seeks alignment between the fundamental purpose of each unit, the learning outcomes, teaching and learning strategy, assessment and the learning environment. In order to pass this unit, students are required to achieve an overall score of at least 50%. Using constructive alignment, the assessment tasks are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1: Research Report

This assessment consists of a 1000 word essay that requires students to researching a current issue in financial planning practice that presents an ethical dilemma which needs to be considered in the context of Catholic Social Teaching and then submitting a written essay of not more than 1,000 words. This task will require students to reflect on how vital acting ethically is within the financial planning industry.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Research reportEssay 

Artefact: Essay


LO1, LO2

GA1, GA3, GA5

Assessment 2: Financial Plan

This assessment consists of 2000 word financial plan Groups of up to five students will research in depth a client’s financial situation and then prepare an in-depth report (not exceeding 2,000 words) recommending appropriate financial planning strategies, including a detailing of the client’s financial planning goals, cash flow and budgeting for the client, the client’s borrowing and saving strategies, taxation position, and recommended use of insurance. Students will need to demonstrate an understanding of the needs of the client, through the use of appropriate communication media. This will require students to work autonomously and collectively to locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information in order to communicate effectively to a financial planning client. 

Submission Type: Group

Assessment Method: Report 

Artefact: Report 



GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 3: Final Exam 

This assessment task consists of a two-hour exam. This task requires students to draw on their problem-solving skills to demonstrate their comprehension of the topics covered within the unit and their ability to evaluate and apply their learning to specific financial planning cases. This will require students to locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information and demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to all sectors of the financial planning profession.

Submission Type: Individual

Assessment Method: Exam

Artefact: Exam paper


LO1, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6

Representative texts and references

Taylor,S 2017, Financial planning in Australia: Essentials edition, LexisNexis Butterworths, Chatswood, NSW.

McKeown, W, Kerry, M, & Olynyk, M 2017, Financial planning, 2nd edn, Wiley, Milton, QLD.

Billingsley, R, Gitman, L, and Joehnk, M 2017, Financial planning 14th edn, Cengage Learning, Boston, MA, USA.

Garman, T & Forgue, R 2018, Personal finance, 13th edn, Cengage Learning, Boston, MA, USA.

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