UW-W students engage in financial literacy

Kylie Jacobs, Biz & Tech Editor

Through the week of Feb. 24-28, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students were given the opportunity to participate in America Saves Week, which included both live and web events designed to help students gain financial knowledge from learning their credit scores to how to start saving for retirement.

America Saves Week is a national campaign co-sponsored by America Saves and the American Savings Education Council  Throughout the week, Whitewater hosted several events to be able to promote financial wellness for both students and faculty.

These events included both live events and several webinars hosted by various companies. These live events ranged from ‘The Seven Deadly Sins of Personal Finance,’ to ‘Financial Wellness,’ which was hosted by Lincoln Financial. The webinars were also available to all students, and these ranged in a variety of topics from learning to budget carefully to planning for retirement to using credit wisely.

Sophomore Madeline Walsh was overjoyed to see the number of events that were offered, both online and in person.

“I think it’s a great way to set goals for yourself, figure out how you want to prioritize your money, and really decide what you want out of life – in the sense of do you want to be the person who own a house on the lake, or do you want to be the person who rents that same house for vacation,” she said. “It’s about learning to be able to be independent with your money, and still make smart choices with it.”

There were also individual counseling sessions held by both Fidelity Investments and The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association. These sessions were held to help both students, faculty, and residents living in Whitewater with their finances by professionals, and completely free as well.

There were many areas for the public and faculty to explore as well. Jeffrey Begovatz, a financial consultant for TIAA, held a webinar event for checking in on retirement savings. He explained that based on the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation, it’s even more important to start saving for retirement as soon as possible, as that generation has people working past 65 years of age, and people who plan to continue to work and not retire at all.

“38% of this generation expects social security to be their source of income, this needs to stress the importance of good retirement planning,” he said, “It’s like planning to buy a house; both are long term investments, but we cannot afford to overlook one for the other.”

There were also events helping to check and see how women are handling their own finances. In the course directed by Fidelity Investments, they asked the attendees to describe what position they take with their finances: the ‘driver’s seat’, in which they take the lead, the ‘passenger seat,’ where they know where they stand, the ‘backseat,’ where they aren’t involved, but they want to be, or the ‘just along for the ride,’ where they have barely any interest in finances whatsoever.

Geri Allard, the panelist for this discussion, wanted women to be involved in their finances as much as possible.

“It’s critical that women get more involved and demand more for their finances,” she said, “90% of women, at some point in their life, will be responsible for their own finances, as we are continuing to gain more ground in financial power.”

America Saves Week’s goal is to promote financial wellness to individuals and families. They are also offering for these people who attended either live events of webinars to take a pledge to create a simple savings plan. To join the pledge, visit americasaves.org/for-savers/pledge. For more information about America Saves week, visit americasavesweek.org/.