Author: Don Obrien

SMMC helps with financial literacy

As a University of North Georgia (UNG) senior studying finance, Ross Sturgill knew how to form a budget to track his expenses and savings. But it wasn’t until he volunteered with the Student Money Management Center (SMMC) that he learned more valuable lessons.

“With my limited income, I knew I wanted to create an inclusive budget with a Christmas fund for my family,” Sturgill said. “But I didn’t think about setting aside money for my friends. I realized I needed to start saving sooner.”

Sturgill shares this knowledge and other tips as one of SMMC’s money mentors. They are a diverse group of students trained as certified financial education instructors who meet with groups and individuals to help them develop good financial habits.

“Many students lack financial skills,” Sturgill said. “After I went through the Student Money Management Center training, I realized that I could give what I learned back.”

Money mentors also provide financial literacy information through workshops, classrooms and events on all five UNG campuses. Two annual workshops – Financial Fitness Series and Making Cents Make Sense – occur in October and November on UNG’s Dahlonega, Gainesville and Oconee campuses.

Sturgill advises students to attend them all, because each delivers unique lessons.

Making Cents Make Sense is the most fun,” the 21-year-old from Gainesville said. “It’s like a giant ‘Game of Life’ board game that students get to play.”

In the game, students receive a salary based on their major. Then they decide to rent an apartment, buy a car, go on a vacation, and establish long-term goals, SMMC Director Erick Jones said.

“The students see how far their paycheck will go,” he said. “We add up their income and subtract their expenses and see if they are living off their credit cards or putting money away for savings.”

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