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St. Catherine’s financial-literacy series proves timely

Money and the economy are on the minds of many people as they hear relentless bad news and see a wavering stock market pummeling their personal finances. Students at the College of St.


Money and the economy are on the minds of many people these days, as they hear relentless bad news and see a wavering stock market pummeling their personal finances. It’s a normal, human response to be paralyzed with fear or to feel hopeless and helpless.

But really, it doesn’t do anyone any good to sink into inaction or depression. Instead, it’s critical to understand what caused these crises and learn how you can protect your personal financial well-being.

“Now, more than ever, we really need to pay attention to how we’re doing money,” says Nathan Dungan, founder and president of Share Save Spend, a Minneapolis-based organization that advises young people and adults on achieving what he calls Financial Sanity™. “There is no better time to learn about the positive steps you can take and do something hopeful.”

Dungan’s program at St. Kate’s was part of a free money-management series called “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees.” Throughout the school year, experts will offer their insight on personal finance topics to help students and their parents land and stay on solid financial footing.

He spent the first part of his presentation looking at trends, causes of the current economic mess and our “see money, spend money culture.”

He also covered his “Share Save Spend” philosophy and how to apply its principals to everyday life. Essentially, Dungan aims to guide students to engage with money in ways that honor their values.

“The biggest mistake I see college students make today, when it comes to money, is they don’t understand the impact of money habits on their short- and long-term future,” says Dungan, noting that employers are paying more attention to job candidates’ credit histories. “The sooner people get a real sense for how they make money decisions and how important it is to have a plan or a process, the better they will be about applying that to future relationships and their family.”

Other opportunities to learn
In addition to Dungan’s workshop, other money-management sessions this fall include the nuts and bolts of creating and living on a budget, understanding credit cards and the fine print, preventing identity theft and responding to credit card disputes and an A-to-Z on auto and life insurance (Dec. 4). The series will continue throughout the winter term as well.

The series grew out of a class taught by Trudy Landgren, an assistant professor of Family, Consumer and Nutritional Sciences, which offers an in-depth look at day-to-day finance.

In her course, she teaches her students about budgeting, taxes, mortgages, banking, health insurance, loans and more. She aims to help them understand these complex systems and gain confidence when using them, telling her students that though we live in a market-based economy that relies on consumer purchases, “we don’t have to be the consumer who purchases everything.”

Through the series, Landgren and others at St. Kate’s want to offer this same advice and knowledge to the broader college population and their families.

“My goal is to have young women be open-eyed about their finances,” she says. “I hope this information opens their eyes and gives them the knowledge they need to make good decisions and wise choices. Soon they are going to be on their own, and they should start out with that foundation now.”

So instead of wishing and hoping that this financial mess will just go away, learn what you can do to get through it and rise above it.

This year the College also offers confidential, one-on-one financial counseling services for students on Mondays and Fridays on both the Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses. Students can schedule an appointment by calling 1-888-577-2227 and identifying themselves as a St. Catherine student.

For more information about “Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees” series contact Ellen Richter-Norgel at 651-690-8730.

Suzy Frisch is a Twin Cities-based freelancer writer.

Financial literacy series for students continues and more news from the College of St. Catherine.