Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan Case Study Memo

Case Study Recommendation Memo Assignment

At Fern Fort University, we write Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan case study recommendation memo as per the Harvard Business Review Finance & Accounting case memo framework. If you are looking for MBA, Executive MBA or Corporate / Professional level recommendation memo then feel free to connect with us.

Other topics that can be covered in the above case memo are Policy . The recommendations in the case memo are - aligned with strategy of the company, based on robust data, and provide a clear roadmap for execution.

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Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan Description

Finance & Accounting Case Study | Authors :: Chuck Grace

Mary Spencer was putting the final touches on her personal financial plan before graduating from the Richard Ivey School of Business HBA program in spring 2012. Generally, Mary was happy with her plan. Her goals, investment policy statement, and financial budget all made perfect sense to her. However, she kept returning to one number - a 43 per cent tax rate! It did not seem fair that just when she started to make some serious income, she would have to give 43 per cent of it to the government. During one of her courses, Mary had spent some time learning about tax strategies available to Canadians. They all seemed to involve three- and four-letter acronyms - TSFA, RSP, RHOSP, etc. - but she wondered which ones would have the optimal impact on her tax situation, and if there was a combination that would work best together.


Purpose of Finance & Accounting Case Study Recommendation Memo

A Case Study Memo or Case Study Recommendation Memo is a routinely used document in leading organizations, and you may be writing number of such memos to executive leadership to “sell” or elevate an initiative that either you are undertaking or you wanted to kick start. Therefore, it is essential that you have a professional case study recommendation memo.

The purpose of a recommendation memo is to concisely recommend a course of action and provide rationale supporting the recommendation. The case study recommendation memo is a one-two page document (not including exhibits) that recommends your course of action and rationale. This format promotes a concise and clear strategic thought process.

Elements of a Case Study Recommendation Memo for – MBA & Executive MBA

1. First Paragraph of Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan recommendation memo

  • This paragraph expresses your intent or action that you required after reading the Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan case study (This recommends……).
  • Topic overview of the case study (the “what”, not “when” or “how”): costs, funding, etc.
  • Ends with the hook: selling idea, the “why” or payoff: this part reveals the author’s point of view. What you intend to do after reading the case and it clearly mention your decision.

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2. Background of Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan case study

This paragraph explains why we are talking about this today. It lays out the story. It provides us details from the case story such as -

  • Historical perspective on the problem is provided. Details are elaborated that underline the given problem.
  • Highlights - what brought us to this moment, why we are in this position, what brought about the need to make this decision.
  • Dimensionalize the importance of the problem to the organization and how it is impacting the organization.
  • Constraints – Provide a situational analysis based on case study analysis.
  • Keep the background section both factual and concise. It is part of the memo where we provide a brief insight into the problem and define the problem.


Is the background clear, concise, and easy to follow?
Does it explain why action is needed now?
Does the appropriate sense of urgency come across in the case study?

3. Recommendations for Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan Case Memo

Recommendations section will provide details regarding what is needed to be done, how it can be done, when to do it and who will do it. It can be elaborated with scenario planning as businesses

  • The details of what, when and how. NO 'why'.
  • This section should be very specific (100% clear). It must be actionable (How much will it cost, when, how, who). The reader should be able to read this and know how to carry out this recommendation.
  • Some cases will require more than one recommendation. It often happens that the firm will require more than one recommendations as there are numerous unknown in the market place.


Is the recommendation clear and actionable? Does the firm has capability to implement the recommendations or does it needs to hire fresh talent?

4. Basis for the Recommendations

  • Here the reader of the case memo will learn WHY each recommendation is the UNIQUE right thing to do.
  • 2-3 solid reasons are typical. The reasons should be backed by clear logic, organization’s vision and mission statements, and robust data analysis.
  • Orignal recommendation can be backed by few supporting roadmap to actions. In operations cases the Critical Path Method of PERT can be used to illustrate the point.
  • Support includes impact on profit, share, and anything else that can affect long-term business goals of the firm.
  • Analysis should address applicable quantitative issues such as NPV, break even analysis, pro forma statement of project budget, sensitivity analysis; as well as qualitative issues, such as, technology consistency, architectural conformance, innovation potential, etc.
  • Appeals to precedent and anecdotal evidence in absence of data, but only in limited, carefully constrained manner.
  • Shows how the recommendation will put the firm at a competitive advantage or is simply acompetitive necessity.
  • The goal is to read the basis and conclude the recommendation.


  • Is the recommendation an inescapable conclusion of the basis?
  • Does the basis for recommendation appropriately consider:
    1. Core competencies and consistency with mission?
    2. External customers and internal clients?
    3. Competitors?
    4. Attractiveness – quantitative measures if applicable (e.g., NPV, ROI, break-even, payback)?
  • Are all assumptions explicitly stated (e.g., needs, technology trends)?

5. Discussions

  • Outline other alternatives not selected and provide brief reasoning for doing so.
  • Discuss risks and key assumptions for Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan case memo (use full disclosure, reference options grid) of your recommendation.
  • When you give a precise number or range, you must support the basis as well.


  • Is the analysis thorough with key alternatives fairly considered using options grid?
  • Risks associated with recommendation for Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan are properly addressed given the present capabilities and future expectations?

6. Next Steps for Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan case study memo

  • Clearly specify the roadmap of the execution. Provide specific date and action that are required to carry on the next steps.
  • Task assignment, objectives, roles and metrics should be mentioned in advance to reduce ambiguity and replication. (what will be done, by whom, and by when)


  • Clear follow-up/next steps?
  • If appropriate, lay out timeline with key milestones to implement recommendation.

7. Exhibits for Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan case memo

  • An Exhibit can be a data chart, map, graph, grid, or simple data table.
  • While doing the calculations please mention all the assumptions. The reader won’t able to decipher each of the assumption so make them explicit.
  • Exhibits should have Title, sources, footnotes to calculation. The point of the Exhibit should be instantly clear to the reader.
  • Exhibits should be cited in the proper order (i.e., do not cite Exhibit 4 first in your Memo and then Exhibit 2).

Checklist for Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan case study memo exhibit

  • Is the analysis presented in the case memo - precise, accurate, and data-based?
  • Are the exhibits clearly laid out, titled, and referenced in the case study memo?
  • Is every assumption mentioned in the case memo is explicitly listed?

NOTE: Every memo may not include every element described above. The specific case will dictate what must be included. For custom case memo please email us or process the order.

You can order Mary Spencer's Personal Financial Plan Case Study Recommendation Memo with us at Fern Fort University .