SMMC helps with financial literacy

As a senior finance student at the University of North Georgia (UNG), Ross Sturgill knew how to budget to track expenses and savings. But it wasn’t until he volunteered for 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 saving money for my friends. I realized I needed to start saving sooner.”

Sturgill shares this knowledge and other advice as SMMC’s financial mentors. This is 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 taking the Student Money Management Center training, I realized that I could give back what I had learned.”

Financial mentors also provide information on financial literacy through workshops, classrooms and events at the five campuses of the UNG. Two annual workshops – Financial Fitness Series and Making Cents Make Sense – take place in October and November at the UNG campuses in Dahlonega, Gainesville and Oconee.

Sturgill advises students to follow them all, as each offers unique lessons.

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

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

“Students see how far their wages will go,” he said. “We add up their income and subtract their expenses and see if they live off their credit cards or put money aside to save.”