Impact on Personal and Corporate Financial Health

Assignment Question

FIN 320 Module Four Case Study Guidelines and Rubric Overview People should understand the impact of different types of risk on financial health, whether they’re dealing with personal or corporate finances. The risks for personal finance often only affect individuals and families. These risks come up, for example, when deciding whether you can afford to buy a house or invest in stocks. Financial risks for businesses often affect multiple people throughout the entire company. This includes individuals who do not work in the finance department. When businesses make finance-related decisions, it’s important that they know how their decisions affect all parts of their company. Directions Go to McDonald’s (“the company”) Financial Information webpage. Under SEC Filings, locate and download the quarterly report (Form 10-Q) with the most recent Filing Date. Then write a response. Specifically, you must address the following rubric criteria: Systematic and Unsystematic Risk: Explain the differences between systematic and unsystematic risk. Financial Risks: Describe the potential impacts of the following types of financial risk on the company based on the quarterly report: Interest rate risk Economic risk Credit risk Operational risk Lower Growth Impact: Explain the impact that a lower growth in sales could have on the dividend policy and retained earnings for the company based on the quarterly report. Higher Growth Impact: Explain the impact that a higher growth in sales could have on the dividend policy and retained earnings for the company based on the quarterly report. What to Submit Your submission should be a 2- to 3-page Word document with 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, and one-inch margins. Sources should be cited according to APA style.



Financial risk is an integral aspect of both personal and corporate finance. It plays a crucial role in decision-making processes, whether it pertains to an individual’s investment choices or a corporation’s strategic financial planning. Understanding the different types of financial risks and their implications is essential for maintaining a stable financial position. This paper delves into the distinctions between systematic and unsystematic risk and examines how various financial risks impact a prominent corporation, McDonald’s, as illustrated in its most recent quarterly report.

Systematic and Unsystematic Risk

Systematic Risk

Systematic risk, also known as market risk, is the portion of risk that affects the entire financial market. It cannot be eliminated through diversification because it is inherent to the overall economy. Systematic risk includes factors such as changes in interest rates, economic conditions, political instability, and natural disasters (Smith, 2019).

Unsystematic Risk

In contrast, unsystematic risk is company-specific or industry-specific risk. It can be mitigated through diversification, as it pertains to factors unique to a particular firm or sector. Examples of unsystematic risk include management issues, supply chain disruptions, and competitive pressures (Hull, 2017).

Financial Risks

Interest Rate Risk

Interest rate risk is a crucial financial risk that affects corporations with substantial debt or interest-bearing investments. In McDonald’s quarterly report, fluctuations in interest rates can impact the company’s borrowing costs and the return on its investments (McDonald’s Corporation, 2022). Rising interest rates may lead to higher expenses for McDonald’s, reducing profitability.

Economic Risk

Economic risk encompasses the impact of economic conditions on a company’s financial stability. For McDonald’s, economic risk could manifest as changes in consumer spending habits due to economic downturns or recessions (McDonald’s Corporation, 2022). Such changes can affect the company’s sales and overall performance.

Credit Risk

Credit risk refers to the possibility of customers or business partners failing to meet their financial obligations. McDonald’s may face credit risk when extending credit to franchisees or suppliers. A default by a significant franchisee could adversely affect the company’s revenues and profitability (McDonald’s Corporation, 2022).

Operational Risk

Operational risk relates to disruptions in a company’s operations. For McDonald’s, operational risk may include issues like supply chain disruptions, food safety incidents, or labor strikes (McDonald’s Corporation, 2022). These events can result in decreased sales, increased costs, and reputational damage.

Lower Growth Impact

A lower growth in sales can have several implications for McDonald’s dividend policy and retained earnings. When sales growth is sluggish, the company may opt to conserve cash and prioritize dividend stability over dividend growth. This decision is often appreciated by income-focused investors who rely on dividends for income (Damodaran, 2017).

Additionally, lower growth in sales can impact retained earnings, as there may be fewer profits available for reinvestment in the business. McDonald’s might need to reassess its capital allocation strategies and consider alternative uses for its funds, such as debt reduction or share buybacks (Brigham & Ehrhardt, 2017).

Higher Growth Impact

Conversely, higher growth in sales can influence McDonald’s dividend policy and retained earnings positively. With robust sales growth, the company may have more room to increase dividend payouts, attracting investors seeking capital appreciation. However, McDonald’s must strike a balance between distributing dividends and reinvesting in the business to sustain growth (Ross et al., 2020).

Moreover, higher sales growth can result in greater retained earnings, providing McDonald’s with ample resources for expansion, innovation, and strategic investments. The company can use these retained earnings to fund new restaurant openings, remodel existing locations, or explore diversification opportunities (Gitman et al., 2019).


In conclusion, understanding financial risk is essential for both individuals and corporations. This paper examined the differences between systematic and unsystematic risk and discussed various types of financial risks, such as interest rate risk, economic risk, credit risk, and operational risk. By analyzing McDonald’s quarterly report, we gained insights into how these risks can impact a large corporation’s financial health. Additionally, we explored the effects of lower and higher growth in sales on McDonald’s dividend policy and retained earnings. This case study demonstrates the importance of risk management and strategic financial planning for businesses in today’s dynamic economic environment.


Brigham, E. F., & Ehrhardt, M. C. (2017). Financial Management: Theory & Practice. Cengage Learning.

Damodaran, A. (2017). Investment Valuation: Tools and Techniques for Determining the Value of Any Asset. John Wiley & Sons.

Gitman, L. J., Joehnk, M. D., & Smart, S. B. (2019). Fundamentals of Investing. Pearson.

Hull, J. C. (2017). Risk Management and Financial Institutions. Wiley.

McDonald’s Corporation. (2022). Quarterly Report (Form 10-Q) for the Quarter Ended 2022.

Ross, S. A., Westerfield, R. W., Jordan, B. D., & Roberts, G. S. (2020). Fundamentals of Corporate Finance. McGraw-Hill Education.

Smith, C. W. (2019). Risk Management. In Handbook of Finance: Investment Management and Financial Management (pp. 595-613). Springer.

FAQs: Understanding Financial Risks and Their Impact

What are financial risks in personal and corporate finance?

    • Financial risks are uncertainties or potential adverse events that can affect the financial stability of individuals, families, or businesses. These risks can arise from various sources, including economic conditions, interest rates, credit, and operational factors.

What is the difference between systematic and unsystematic risk?

    • Systematic risk, also known as market risk, affects the entire financial market and is beyond an individual’s or company’s control. Unsystematic risk, on the other hand, is specific to a particular firm or industry and can often be mitigated through diversification.

How do interest rate risk and economic risk impact businesses like McDonald’s?

    • Fluctuations in interest rates can affect borrowing costs and investment returns for businesses, potentially impacting profitability. Economic risk, tied to economic conditions, can influence consumer spending patterns and overall performance.

What is credit risk, and why is it important for companies like McDonald’s?

    • Credit risk pertains to the risk of customers or partners failing to meet their financial obligations. For McDonald’s, this could involve franchisees or suppliers defaulting on payments, potentially affecting revenue and profits.

What is operational risk, and how can it impact a company like McDonald’s?

    • Operational risk encompasses disruptions in a company’s day-to-day operations. For McDonald’s, this could include supply chain issues, food safety incidents, or labor disputes, all of which may lead to decreased sales, increased costs, and damage to the brand.

How does lower growth in sales affect a company’s dividend policy and retained earnings?

    • Lower sales growth can lead a company like McDonald’s to prioritize dividend stability over dividend growth. It may also reduce profits available for reinvestment in the business, necessitating a reassessment of capital allocation strategies.

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