Bauer Hosts Financial Symposium for Houston Community, Offer Debt Management and College Funding Solutions
The Houston community joined students, faculty and staff from the C. T. Bauer College of Business on the University of Houston campus in April to learn how to transform personal finance habits and improve financial decision making skills at the college’s Third Annual Financial Symposium.
The event’s theme “Transform Yourself. Transform Your Wealth,” focused on the impact that small personal changes can make on someone’s overall financial situation.
The best way to manage money, Bauer College Dean Latha Ramchand told attendees in her opening remarks, is to set goals both daily and weekly and to work to meet those consistently. Much like a fitness regimen, she added, success in personal finance depends heavily on accountability and self-discipline.
The decision to attend the Financial Symposium can be seen as a first step for people looking to get control of their finances, Ramchand said.
“Research surveys show that many Americans, even corporate executives, aren’t completely secure in understanding finances or have strong financial literacy,” she said. “This event is an opportunity for Bauer to help alleviate this common issue. We hope that the information learned here is something everyone can incorporate into their future financial decision making.”
Organized by the college’s Program for Financial Literacy, the symposium included several facilitated sessions and activities covering a range of financial topics, including money management, understanding a credit report, embedding personal finance into education and careers in finance.
Integrity Bank President and CEO Charles M. “Mack” Neff, Jr., served as a guest speaker in the event’s preliminary session. He discussed his experiences with promoting financial literacy to the general public over the last 40 years.
“The idea kicked into gear with the inception of the television. We saw the way we thought we were supposed to live, but if you build your life expectations around what other people and advertisements told you to, you will have anxiety the rest of your life,” Neff said. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with living within your means.”
Donald Bowers, II, who serves as assistant vice president of the Federal Reserve Bank – Houston Branch, presented current statistics on the state’s personal finances. Most Texans are not quite out of the recession, he said.
“Fifty percent of Texans live with liquid asset property, and 65 percent don’t qualify for prime credit rates. There have been 30,000 auto title lending repossessions in the last year,” Bowers said. “Planning your finances doesn’t start now. It starts from elementary school children through college. College is the most important time to increase financial literacy because it is the first time that you may be away from your parents. You are now responsible for most, if not all, of your financial destiny.”
Attendees had the opportunity to attend breakout sessions throughout the day, with many opting for “College Funding Solutions,” led by Bauer finance senior Destinie Ross.
She presented the numbers for the annual cost of college for a full-time student taking 12 hours, including room and board, with the University of Houston proving to be the most affordable at $18,071. She encouraged students to look into scholarships as the best means of securing finances for tuition and cost of living.
“Many people don’t apply for scholarships because they think they won’t win or they don’t have the time devoted to apply, but it’s worth it,” Ross said. “If you don’t procrastinate and apply for as many scholarships as you can, it’s possible to secure funding. The money is out there waiting. You just have to take the first step.”
Finance senior Tracy Do helped host another session, titled “Personal Financial Planning and Careers in Personal Finance.”
Overall, the financial symposium garnered a large following and Do thought the event was very successful. Do is the community service officer in the Finance Association, a Bauer student organization, and helped host the “Personal Financial Planning and Careers in Personal Finance” workshop.
“Today offered a look at a very diverse crowd, all ages, all backgrounds, but tied together through the common thread of money and increasing their financial literacy,” Do said. “We wanted to explain why personal financial planning is incredibly important to everyone. It’s crucial in determining your success for planning your career or even planning to have a family. The rest of your life starts now.”
By Danielle Ponder
2014 Bauer College Financial Symposium: Transform Yourself. Transform Your Wealth
With a goal of increasing financial literacy on campus and in the Houston community, the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston aimed to simplify the process during its Third Annual Financial Symposium on April 12. The event focused on transforming your behaviors to successfully achieve financial stability.