“One of the hallmarks of an engineering economics course is that there are lots and lots of problems – example problems, homework problems, and exam problems – that ask you to respond to an imaginary series of controlled circumstances with a solution utilizing the most recent technique being presented. This assignment will required you to go into the “real world”, gather some actual information and data, analyze the situation from a time value of money perspective, then formulate and report your recommendations based on what you found. This is intended to be an open-ended problem with no specific end product in mind. It will be up to you to define the situation, explain what the options are, determine what decision criteria may be needed, document your analysis, and present your conclusions. The result will be no better or worse than what you make of the project.
Your sources of information may be as varied as the Internet, sales brochures, salespeople, people working in a related area, knowledgeable friends, and whoever or whatever you find in the way of a reliable source of information. Use your imagination, your contacts, and your inquisitiveness to seek out and learn what you need to know. Do not be dishonest, deceitful, or a pest when attempting to glean information from those you talk to learn something.
Rather than have you define a potential problem, I am suggesting a list of eight possibilities below. Further, you are being assigned to one of the eight. This is not to be construed as a team effort. Each of you will independently research and report on the assigned problem. You are to do the best job – ALONE – that you can. It is entirely possible that the same situation may yield two or three drastically different results. Your job is to learn as much as you can about the topic, particularly as it relates to the topics of this course, present a summary of the information you have learned, then make any appropriate recommendations you choose.
WASHINGTON LOTTERY – annuity or lump sum payout, which is better and why?