Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:58 pm

Financial literacy skills necessary for college students


Dixie State University’s business department revealed how to save money effectively Friday. 

Assistant finance professor Helen Saars organized a personal finance conference with a team of students from the DSU Finance Club and the DSU Accounting Club. The annual finance conference consisted of eight sessions, addressing how to save money all the way to how to get in control of your budget and different apps that can help. 

Saars said, “Financial literacy has become a necessary skill like reading and writing, and you can’t survive in today’s society without it.”

We held this conference to get people to start thinking about the value of finance, Saars said. 

“These three hours were definitely not enough to teach everything, but it can give you background information [about financing] to learn more,” Saars said.

Jeff Glines, a Zions Bank sales director, was one of several speakers who shared his story surrounding money issues and how to overcome this obstacle. 

Glines was a self-employed businessman and entrepreneur who had developments throughout St. George and over five million dollars in his bank account. However, when the recession hit in 2008, Glines said he and his family lost everything. 

“I was always like ‘I’m going to do my own thing,’ but I got so depressed because I lost everything,” Glines said. “I was like ‘I have to get a job again.'”

After going into detail about the struggles he faced, Glines said he wants people to truly understand the power of money and savings. 

“Fifty-four percent of Americans have no rainy day fund,” said Kenneth Hart, a senior finance major from St. George.

These staggering statistics are the reason why individuals like author Dave Ramsey have established a saving money program. Ramsey founded Ramsey Solutions to help counsel people facing financial issues through what he calls his seven “baby” steps. During the conference, Glines played a brief clip from Ramsey’s show where he addressed step-by-step how people can get out of debt and “live like no one else, so you can give like no one else.”

Glines said St. George is one of many cities teaching Ramsey’s program at Financial Peace University. 

“I would highly suggest if you want to save yourself a lot of grief like financial pressure and relationship failure, do the Dave Ramsey course now,” Glines said.

Along with this course, Zions personal banker Tia Bithell said it’s important to build that first bit of savings. 

“It’s not just your emergency fund for fun, like ‘oh, OK we’ll put [the money] right back’ because it never goes back,” Bithell said. “It should only be a strict emergency fund.”

At the same time, Glines said you need to set aside “blow” money, which allocates an amount of funds you can spend on whatever you want. 

“In my case, I have $50 a week that I can blow on anything I want, and my wife has the same amount,” Glines said.

However, Hart said peoples’ main goal is to make sure their spending habits don’t exceed what they earn. 

“We see that more than half of the people in the United States spend all, if not more, of their money every year,” Hart said.

Conayn Freebairn, a senior finance major from St. George, said it all begins with evaluating your expenses at the end of each month. There are apps like Mint, where users can even lay out a budget addressing variable and fixed expenses. Variable expenses tend to change every month, whereas fixed expenses are a set price.

It isn’t enough just to set a budget either, you have to continually review your budget plan, Hart said. 

“Ultimately, you have to be willing to hold yourself accountable,” Hart said. “Even if that means telling your parents ‘Make sure I do it, ask me in a month to see where I’m at.”

For those interested in learning more about finance, students can register for finance classes at DSU.