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Week-Long Presentations To Cover All The Financial Bases

Feb. 14, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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While the U.S. economy has begun recovering, there are still plenty of reasons to be conscious of money and other financial issues, according to Jacki Brossman-Ashorn, director for the Sam Houston State University Student Money Management Center.

Students, in particular, have been affected in various ways, largely through the impact the economic recession had on their families.

“Some students are finding themselves having to contribute monetarily to the family due to one or both parents being laid off work,” Brossman said. “In addition, the cost of living has been increasing. Consumables such as gasoline affect the students. Fuel prices have been an increased worry for students, especially for those who commute to campus or commute home to work on the weekends.”

Showing students how to navigate these kinds of issues in the present and the future is the goal of the money management center’s annual Financial Literacy Week, a series of seminars that cover topics ranging from student loans to starting an investment portfolio.

The fourth annual Financial Literacy Week will kick off on Feb. 27, with four presentations beginning at 10 a.m.

First National Bank of Huntsville employee Lorri Lehmann will discuss various aspects of bank accounts during “Checking, Savings, and Fees, Oh My!”

SHSU Small Business Development Center director Bob Barragan will show students how they can “Be Your Own Boss,” informing them of the necessary tools to start their own businesses, and the SHSU Financial Aid Office will present a “Guide to Financial Aid Success” at 3 p.m., followed by a session where financial aid professionals will help students with their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.

That evening, Stacey Wagner, a clinical dietician at Huntsville Memorial Hospital, will show students how to eat right and keep your pockets tight with “Healthy Meals on a Dime,” held in the Old Main Market Parker Dining Hall.

Tuesday morning will begin with two sessions, including the SHSU Scholarship Office’s presentation on how to master Scholar-X and other sources of free money during “Education Dollars and Cents” at 9:30 a.m., followed by director of University Events Maggie Collum giving tips for throwing a successful, yet inexpensive, party through “Party on a Budget” at 11 a.m.

That afternoon, Jody Tobias and Tiffanie Aguilar, of Texas Dow Employees Credit Union, will tell students about the benefits of credit cards and how they can affect your credit score during “Credit Cards: Make Them Work for You” at 2 p.m.

“Most students that I have worked with are either, A., in lots of credit debt or, B., scared to death to ever have a credit card,” Brossman said. “Students need to understand that credit cards are not necessarily evil. In all actuality, they can be quite a useful money management tool if handled correctly.”

Among the good uses of credit include convenience, for emergencies, to make reservations, and for protection, as Internet and telephone purchases made on a credit card can be contested with the credit card issuer under the guidelines of the Fair Credit Billing Act.

“This session will explain how credit cards can be beneficial if used properly, but also what to look for in getting a credit card, when the time is right, how to understand all of the ‘fine print’ and will explain how to determine if you’re able to handle the responsibility of a credit card,” Brossman said. “The session will also discuss the pitfalls of having a credit card, such as the temptation to overspend and the high cost of interest. The presenter will explain to students how to avoid those pitfalls and be smart about credit.”

Cost-conscious students can get tips from Al Coleman, community affairs specialist for the Dallas region FDIC, during “Smart Consumerism” at 4 p.m.

“We definitely find students are more cost-conscious than they used to be. For instance we had well over 100 students show up to our ‘Extreme Couponing’ event last fall,” Brossman said. “Students were genuinely interested in learning how to save money. In addition, the No. 1 reason we’ve found students come to us for a one-on-one session, is to learn how to budget effectively. I think that in itself speaks volumes.”

At 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dave Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze will present the week’s keynote address when she explains the importance of budgeting, saving and investing at a young age, as well as how to graduate college with minimal debt. The presentation will be in the Lowman Student Center Theater.

Cruze was taught the basic principles of money from an early age by her father—a noted financial author—and has been sharing those principles with her peers since she was 15. She joined her father’s speaking team in 2010.

The presentations for that day will conclude with an exploration of the costs of studying abroad with SHSU International Programs Office study abroad coordinator Jesse Starkey’s “Passports and Wallets” at 2 p.m.

Thursday morning’s activities include the basics of loans—how they work and the real cost of the money being borrowed—during “Loans and Lending,” presented by Lehmann at 9:30 a.m. and “Become a Billionaire,” an introduction to investing by Tyler Johns from Huntsville’s Edward Jones at 11 a.m.

“(When it comes to investing,) The sooner the better,” Brossman said. “Young people have age and compounding interest on their side when it comes to investing. For every five years you delay investing, you have to double your monthly investment amount to achieve the same goals.

“Students should begin investing because real wealth comes from capital gains,” she said. “For most people it’s hard to amass wealth simply by saving out of their wage earnings. Investing in stocks, bonds, real estate, etc., can help a person accumulate wealth over time.”

Two afternoon sessions will round out Financial Literacy Week, including “Phishing: Don’t Take the Bait,” a presentation by SHSU’s Information Resources on safeguarding yourself against identity theft, particularly cyber identity theft, at 2 p.m.; and “Money Ins and Outs,” a budgeting workshop presented by Brossman, at 4 p.m.

All of the Financial Literacy Week workshops will be held in Lowman Student Center Room 315 unless otherwise noted.

In addition to the invaluable information students can garner through the Financial Literacy Week events, students and groups who participate in the activities will be eligible to win prizes, according to Brossman.

Individuals who attend four events and turn in a student stamp card will be eligible to win one of three $650 scholarships, and student groups with the highest attendance points will win $1,000, $750 and $500 for their organization.

For more information on the Financial Literacy Week events, or for more details on the individual and organization contests, contact the Student Money Management Center at 936.294.2600 or smmc@shsu.edu or visit the event’s webpage at http://www.shsu.edu/~smmc/FinancialLiteracyWeek.html.

 

 

 

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