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Financial advising for students

04/13/2010
By:

Stephanie Paulino

Staff Writer

Noticing the limited resources for information on smart money management on campus, NAACP President Ashiah Richeme said she helped organize a hip-hop inspired program called Rubberband Banks in My Pocket.

Richeme said during the program students will share with one another ways to save and invest money.

“Students walk around with wads of money in their pockets wrapped in rubber bands,” said Richeme. “We want to incorporate the hip-hop sense with how to save money.”

The program, which was held yesterday in room 305 of the student center, said Richeme, was inspired by lyrics from songs by rappers T.I. and David Banner.

Richeme said members of NAACP reached out to the financial aid office, students and faculty from the finance department, and national bank Web sites, like Bank of America and Citizens Bank, for information the organization could pass on to students who attend the program.

Richeme, who is graduating this May, said there is a lot about managing money that she would have liked to have learned sooner, for example: buying stocks and bonds and choosing refurbished products rather than brand new ones.

“Like instead of a $400 iPod, you can buy it refurbished for $180,” said Richeme.

Richeme, a sociology major, said during the program members will also emphasize investing in “how-to” books, which according to her, “feed our minds, as well as our pockets.”

According to Ronald Herron, vice president for Student and University Affairs, there is no office on campus designated for offering students advice on personal finances. That sort of advisement requires a license. He said, however, that the Bursar’s Office provides a link to a PowerPoint presentation on financial planning on its Web site.

Although he could not officially advise students on their own finaces, Herron said he would recommend students have only one non-consumer credit card that they charge modest amounts to regularly and can pay off every month.

“So that when they graduate they can have a credit history,” said Herron.

Rather than create an office for financial advising, Herron said he encourages students to form a club or organization around the concept of peer financial assistance.

“It’s hard to think about adding a new program when there are 5, 10, 15 and 20 percent reductions in our budget,” said Herron.

Students looking to manage their finances locally can open accounts with Southern’s branch of the Hamden Federal Credit Union, located on the street level of the Adanti Student Center.

Bob Maturo, Hamden Federal Credit Union assistant manager, said with just five dollars and proper identification, anyone can open an account with the bank and have access to checking and savings accounts as well as online bill-pay.

“We can be more than willing to talk to students having issues with their finances,” said Maturo. “A lot of students are on a fixed income for the year or semester. We can discuss options if they’ve overextended themselves.”

Richeme said both the students and the university should do more to ensure proper money management.

“Students should always go in and ask questions,” said Richeme. “They won’t all inquire, but you should have a mandatory sit-down with a financial advisor, especially when you’re about to graduate.”

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