Financial wellness for 2020 and beyond

The Personal Money Management Center is one of the oldest of its kind in the nation. A dedicated campus entity that exists to help students with their finances, their programs assisted over 5,440 students last year. Now in its tenth year, the center has changed its name to the Financial Wellness Center and is realigning the services it provides for students.

The Financial Wellness Center will be hosting their annual U Saves Day on Jan. 23. Visit them and see what they’re all about

Financial Wellness Center Director Ann House

We sat down with director Ann House to ask what students need to know about the changes.

Why have you changed the name of the center?

The Financial Wellness Center would like to move beyond the idea that we exist only for budgeting or a quick fix. We believe our name change better reflects our mission to improve the financial well-being of students and staff.

What is financial wellness?

Financial wellness involves learning how to successfully manage money—beyond simple knowledge and skills. It incorporates attitudes, habits and behaviors that will last a lifetime, for true financial success.

What services does the Financial Wellness Center offer?

Through counseling and peer mentoring, we assist students in implementing strategies that may help to decrease financial stress and anxiety and encourage students to continue their studies. We have tips on budgeting, instructions for filing taxes and strategies for managing student debt. But the greatest service we offer is personal one-on-one counseling. Last year we met with 612 individuals.

Our goal is to assist students so they can stay in school and continuing their education. Each student we see has a different story and a unique set of circumstances. This is why personalized one-on-one counseling is such an important service.

Why personal counseling?

There is not one budget that’s going to work for everybody. It depends on what kind of person you are, what you’ve already tried. We don’t want you to do something that hasn’t worked for you in the past. And it’s the same with making plans for the future and setting goals, they’re all very individualized. You can take a class and learn how to budget, but you probably just learn one way to do it, and that’s not what we do in our counseling sessions. We address people’s anxieties over money. We really want to meet you where you are and make your financial wellness work for you.

Especially with scholarships and financial aid, we want to look at your specific situation and be absolutely sure you are making the right commitments when it comes to paying your tuition. We don’t want you to just fill out some forms, we want to make sure there is an understanding of the expectations.

Who are the financial counselors at the center?

Our two financial counselors at the center are AFCs, Accredited Financial Counselors with the Association for Financial Counseling, Planning Education. We also have five to seven student interns, who are our peer-mentors. And we have accounting students who become IRS tech certified preparers assist with filing taxes, walking students, faculty and staff on campus through the various steps. Since this is a school, we consider it a facilitated learning experience and hope it helps for filing in the years to come.

A big part of the center is professional development. We train peer mentors who help their fellow students manage their money better—they usually come from the business school or Family and Consumer studies. These counselors are trained and hired by us and guided through the process of learning for themselves and also how to help others succeed financially.

What else do you want students to know?

Scholarship deadlines are approaching. We can help point you in the right direction on scholarships and student loans so you’re set to pay tuition for the spring semester.

We also have workshops each month during the spring semester. Students are welcome and we’ll be serving lunch.