Students learn from the professionals how to manage their money wisely
By Savanah Tillberg
Student fees at Lakehead University allow students to access to a wide range of services and programs, one of which is Financial Services. Located across from security, this office gives students access to knowledgeable financial advisors who can help them take control of their finances.
Lakehead is celebrating Financial Literacy Month this November by providing students with events and workshops that promote financial education and money management skills. One of the most popular events this month was ‘Funny Money’, a comedy show performed by James Cunningham. The event presented basic tips for managing your money as a student in a fun and engaging way.
Manager of Student Awards and Financial Aid, Josh Levac, said their office is “trying to be aggressive with the implementation of giving students information during financial literacy month.” The department has been hosting events and workshops campus wide with hopes of reaching a wider range of students. Levac said, “Students often don’t use their services [when trying to manage their finances], even though they’ve already paid for it.”
There were three main concepts that Cunningham stressed in his show, and strongly suggested that students understand. Levac added if he had to give a list of tips to students on how to control their finances, he would tell them the three points from James’ show.
Firstly, “Know Your Flow.” Both Cunningham and Levac said that students need to know where their money is coming from. Many students rely on full-time summer jobs, scholarships, bursaries, loans and their parents for their income. “Understanding exactly how much money you have coming in is extremely important. Understanding exactly how much you have going out is equally as important”, said Levac. He suggested that students track their spending habits for one to three months if they are trying to develop a realistic budget. Knowing how much you spend and on what items is very useful and often helps students refrain from frivolous spending.
Second, “Control What You Owe.” Levac said students are almost always going to have debt, but what they can do is avoid “bad debt,” adding, “I don’t consider student debt to be bad debt, because you are investing in your future.” There are many “non-repayable-money” resources available for students, and the staff at the Financial Services Center can teach students how to access those resources in order to alleviate financial burdens. Levac stated, “professionals [at Financial Services] can’t always throw money at you, but they can help you figure out your financial path.” Levac also stressed the amount of resources students pay to have access to in their students fees, and that they should be using these resources to their fullest extent.
Finally, Cunningham said, “Invest Some Dough.” There are many different ways to invest, but no matter how you invest or what you invest in, both Cunningham and Levac agree that the earlier you do it, the better. Investing as early as possible gives your money more time to grow, which your older self will be thankful for.
The Financial Services department offers five different monthly workshops for students to develop their money management skills. Workshops include ‘Income, Expenses and Budgeting’, ‘Credit and Debt Management’, ‘Income Tax’, ‘Investing’ and ‘Financial Planning’. Levac compared managing your finances to writing an essay. “Think about what you want and set a goal, then created a structure that will help you attain that” he said. S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time specific) goals help students create more successful budgets.
“It’s all about the delivery of information. [We want to] get students engaged because the information is incredibly beneficial [to them],” Levac stated. If students are looking for ways to manage their money, the staff at Financial Services encourages them to stop by and talk to a professional.