Financial Literacy Program

Our program provides Union students a comprehensive financial literacy program, regardless of their major. By completing our program, students become confident with their financial responsibilities and obligations.

The Career Center’s Financial Literacy programs consists of four lessons that are designed specific for each class year.

First-Years: Financial Psychology

This lesson gives you an in-depth look at the psychological factors that affect how we handle our personal finances. The first topic discusses how money is tied to human needs and emotions. A second section explores how and by whom we are influenced when developing our money management habits, and how to find qualified information sources. Then the concept of behavioral finance is presented, and you will examine your own attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to personal finance. The Model of Behavior Change is explained in Topic 4.4, defining the six stages we go through as we progress toward adopting positive money management habits. The final topic offers an introduction to financial goal-setting – how to write good goals, break them down into achievable action steps, and track progress.

Sophomore Year: Savings, Expenses & Budgeting

This chapter introduces the basic aspects of budgeting and how budgeting benefits your progress toward attaining your desired lifestyle and reaching your financial goals. You will understand how savings forms the foundation of your financial planning, and learn the components of a savings plan. In a further topic, you will comprehend the importance of evaluating every purchase based on whether it is a “need” or a “want” and know how to calculate opportunity cost. As the lesson continues, you will be introduced to the three primary types of expenses and tactics for reducing monthly payments toward those expenses. Action steps for creating a solid budget and automating financial accounting systems to facilitate regular review and revisions are provided. The last two topics in the lesson cover the processes involved with two major expenses individuals typically encounter during their lifecycles – automobile purchase and renting a home.

Junior Year: Credit Profile

This lesson focuses on credit, how credit affects your personal financial situation, and how to get and maintain good credit. First you receive an overview of the term ‘credit’ and how it is applied. Then you will understand the value of having a good credit history and situations that can have a negative impact on your credit. You will be introduced to the components of your credit profile – credit history and credit score – and how they are derived. You will learn how to obtain a copy of your credit report, review your credit score, and create a credit plan. Strategies and actions for addressing errors on your credit report and improving your credit score are presented. Finally, the types of identity theft are discussed, along with ways to prevent and handle situations where your identity is stolen.

Senior Year: Loans and Debt, and Postgraduate Planning

Most people will probably borrow money in some form during their lives. This lesson covers the ins and outs of loans and debt. The first topic discusses the different types of debt and when debts may be considered “good” versus “bad” debts. Then the basic loan calculations are covered including principal, interest, payment intervals, terms, and amortization. The risks and consequences of various types of debt are covered in the third topic, with tips for mitigating debt risk. The fundamentals of loan qualification are presented in topic 4, providing guidelines to remove some of the anxiety from the process of taking out a loan. Next, strategies for developing a workable debt payoff plan are discussed. Credit cards, their potential advantages and drawbacks, form the topic of the next section. Automobile loan and lease options, how lenders qualify borrowers for auto loans, and how car loans can fit into one’s financial plan are presented. Finally, the various types of home mortgages, their qualification requirements and terms are detailed, along with the process of negotiating a home loan.

Moving Out & Living on Your Own:

This workshop covers the decisions and fundamental money management techniques needed to begin life on one’s own. It starts with determining the costs and procedures involved in renting a living space. You’re introduced to the concept of budgeting and how creating a strong budget benefit you by contributing to your lifestyle choices. A savings plan, which includes three main components – emergency fund, short-term and long-term savings – lies at the heart of your budget. You’ll learn how creating and automating your budget helps you enjoy things now, while also building toward your future. Reaching your goals requires reviewing your budget regularly and adjusting it as your income, expenses, and priorities change. You’ll find out tips for maintaining good credit, how to get a copy of your credit report, and the benefits and process of buying renter’s insurance.