Money-minded connections are steering the way for UW-Green Bay students and the community to plan for their future and take steps to better financial wellness.
Alumni and industry partnerships have come together within The Charles Schwab Foundation Center for Financial Wellness (located in Wood Hall), made possible by a gift from Schwab Advisor Services, in partnership with the Charles Schwab Foundation.
The center’s mission is to increase awareness of personal finance through engagement at UW-Green Bay and in the local community and is the hub for the new CFP Board registered minor in Personal Financial Planning.
“Worries about your finances can manifest itself physically and affect your overall health and wellness,” said Dr. Preston D. Cherry, director of the Center and an assistant professor of finance and personal financial planning. “The pathway to financial wellness improves the likelihood of a healthy life.”
The Center has multiple aspects — peer-to-peer counseling led by students enrolled in the personal financial planning program, outreach to community organizations and schools providing financial education, host of the NEW Money podcast and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), which provides free tax filing assistance to households unable to attain professional tax services.
For students enrolled in the personal financial planning program, the Center provides them with real world experience before they graduate.
Mathew Dornbush, dean of the Cofrin School of Business, notes the partnership is a recognition of higher education in the future.
“Our faculty and staff recognize that the future of education is centered around merging educational foundations with impactful experiences, Dornbush said.
In developing the personal financial planning minor and Center program, Cherry has set in motion a program to train the next generation of financial planning and wealth management professionals for Northeast Wisconsin and beyond.
“The Center is more than a physical space. There is a community outreach component where we will offer personal financial education to organizations and schools,” said Cherry, a who is also certified financial planner. “(UW-Green Bay is) an institution that partners with the community. We will go and meet people where they are.”
He adds that most students — 70 percent — are stressed about their finances. “Students want to increase their financial awareness, whether it’s about budgeting, spending, debt, credit, insurance, benefits, financial aid management, taxes and overall money mindset,” he said.
The Center aspires to increase access to all on the journey toward financial wellness, including managing bills and expenses, paying debts, weathering unexpected financial emergencies and planning for long-term financial goals.
Many people do not have the access to resources to pursue their financial wellness journey and without that Cherry said “your overall wellbeing is decreased.” We want to empower individuals to share stories that inform their financial resources and life’s design to achieve financial wellness and freedom that cultivates life wholeness.”
The outreach to student organizations, high schools and local community groups plays an essential role in the Center’s mission.
“Education is better received through compassion and community, which is how we deliver it here,” Cherry said. “When you have financial education and wellbeing, you have more confidence, knowledge and make better decisions.”
While the Center is just getting started, the long-term vision is for it to become a leader in financial wellness services in Northeast Wisconsin.
“We want to be champions of financial wellness,” Cherry said. “We want to help people learn about their financial wellness and how it can continue to their overall state of health.”