It’s not what you make. It’s what you save.
That’s what Michael McCloskey said, as he asked for a student volunteer to share details of his personal finances.
At that moment, a hand shot into the air. The area high school student divulged to McCloskey how much money he earns each month by working his part-time job, and also how much he spends. Then McCloskey asked the student if he owns a car. The student replied yes, but added that his parents manage its related expenses.
“Well, that’s going to change one day,” said McCloskey, Assistant Professor of Risk, Insurance and Healthcare Management at the Fox School of Business, “and it’s important that everyone in this room is prepared for that day.
The Fox School hosted more than 70 high school students from the Philadelphia region April 29 for a first annual Financial Literacy seminar, offering a variety of guest speakers on topics ranging from early investing, credit, and financial aid for college.
Fox School’s Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, a risk and insurance fraternity, organized the four-hour event, to demonstrate the importance of managing one’s personal finances to prevent common financial pitfalls and to encourage better decision-making in regard to money. Reducing student debt is one of six commitments made by Temple University President Neil Theobald, who recently implemented the Fly In 4 program.
The event opened with McCloskey’s discussion on investing for the future. McCloskey, who teaches a general education course on the subject, explained the difference between good credit and bad credit, introduced the students to terms like insolvency and net worth, and encouraged them to jot down their monthly expenditures as a way of tracking their spending.
The students also learned about college admissions and financial aid application procedures from David Kaiser, Director of Undergraduate Enrollment at the Fox School, and Celeste D. Roberts, Temple’s Assistant Bursar of Financial Literacy. Following a lunch break, the students met with Fox senior Francesca Waddington, Sigma’s Vice President of Community Affairs, for a discussion focusing on the college experience.
“Four years ago, I was extremely confused with applying for financial aid and student loans, and had little understanding of what impact this would have on me when I graduated,” said Waddington, who organized the event with the help of Vice Dean Debbie Campbell, Director of Undergraduate Enrollment David Kaiser and Sigma Director of Community Affairs Sean Johnson.
“I think it’s crucial to educate students who plan to attend college on exactly what the financial burden is and, more importantly, how to lessen this burden. I think understanding how to become financially literate is vital to success, which was our inspiration for starting an event like this.”
The Financial Literacy seminar served as just one of many initiatives organized by the Sigma Chapter. In April, Sigma presented a check for $11,200 to its charity of choice, Brave Hearts for Strong Minds. The organization, based in the Philadelphia area, collects educations funds for children who have lost an income-earning parent.
For more information on the Sigma Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma, visit its website.