Only half of adults in the United States are financially literate, according to a 2022 study by the TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index. University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) offers its community a number of opportunities to improve their understanding of money matters, starting with a “managing your finances” page on its website. The webpage offers tips for handling personal finances, including advice on budgeting for college, repayment of student loans, access to financial aid, use of credit cards, and the prevention of identity theft.
A key takeaway from the TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index study is that financially literate individuals are better equipped to make money-related decisions that support their life goals and advance their financial well-being. In a bid to expand financial literacy across the country, UMGC has co-hosted a Virtual Financial Wellness Day each of the last two years.
According to InvestmentNews, financial literacy trainings tripled across the country in 2022.
UMGC’s Virtual Financial Wellness Day is an example of how public programs can help advance financial knowledge. UMGC and the Financial Planning Association for the National Capital area will partner again on Sept. 13 for the third annual Financial Wellness Day. At the online event, Certified Financial Planners (CFPs), assisted by UMGC business students, will offer one-on-one personalized advice to help consumers better navigate debt, retirement planning, investment strategies, tax liabilities, insurance, and estate planning. For more information or to register to take part, visit financialwellnessday.org.
UMGC is also cultivating financial literacy in the classroom through its FINC 321 7380 Fundamentals of Building Wealth (2228) course, which launched close to 15 years ago. The course is designed to help students develop personal financial management skills and understand the U.S. financial structure. FINC 321 is taught by professional CFPs, and approximately 2,500 students have taken the course since its inception.
“Every student taking the course walks away with at least one thing they can apply to their financial situation,” said Kathleen Sindell, program director of the Department of Finance and Economics and head of the CFP certification program at UMGC.
Students don’t have to be a business major to enroll in the FINC 321 course. Students in the classes come from all different disciplines, said UMGC Adjunct Associate Professor Ayodele Gbenjo, who often teaches the course. Gbenjo is an accountant for the U.S. Department of Treasury.
A perk to taking the class is a free student/faculty version of MoneyGuide professional financial planning software.
“I learned many topics from this course, such as the different types of certifications and areas of finances a person can operate in, different types of ways to transfer wealth to a loved one, [how to] save money for college, and various loans in purchasing a home,” said Jonathan Cornelius, who graduated from UMGC in 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems and minor in business administration. “Plus, using the Excel formulas to calculate real-life goals that a client would ask their financial adviser was helpful and could be utilized on a daily basis.”
The course is one of six registered CFP courses in UMGC’s School of Business.
UMGC was founded more than 75 years ago to assist the higher education needs of working adults and servicemembers, and today is even more committed to providing an affordable opportunity for students to succeed in achieving their education goals.