BY ELIZABETH DIEMANUELE
In the recent National College Health Assessment Survey, results confirmed that finances were one of the top three stressors facing McMaster University students. Results showed that while academics remain a top stressor, finances and careers are not far behind.
Responding to student concerns, the Student Success Centre, McMaster Students Union, Student Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Student Accounts launched Mac’s Money Centre, a collaborative initiative that acts as a central hub for students and alumni to access financial information, resources, coaching, and financial tips.
“When you think about it, money and careers actually go together,” says Gina Robinson, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Director of the Student Success Centre. “Mac’s Money Centre is a call to action. We often see students get really stressed in their final year, when they know they have to start paying back their OSAP loan and find a job; we help students manage money and debt wisely, plan, save, and stay protected.”
Studies show that while financial wellness affects Canadians, only 6 out of 10 Canadians have basic financial skills. To bridge the gap, in 2012, the Federal Government developed Canada’s Financial Literacy Strategy and officially designated November as Financial Literacy Month to create awareness and conversation. To celebrate Financial Literacy Month and respond to student needs, Mac’s Money Centre is rolling out free workshops, money coaching, and financial tips on social media for the month of November; they will also welcome two financial experts to campus to speak on financial literacy in a fun and motivating way.
As Gina suggests, “Talking about money doesn’t have to be stressful; talking about these things can be fun and empowering, too. In fact, it’s absolutely necessary that students talk about finances so that they can make informed financial decisions that will impact their future self.”
The first speaker to visit McMaster University is author and financial expert, Robert Brown. Known for his witty combination of pop culture and financial expertise, Brown will tackle financial issues facing students on Thursday, November 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Student Success Centre (Gilmour Hall 110). The event will include book giveaways and pizza, as well as a chance for students to bring their questions.
The second speaker, Preet Banerjee, is a former neuroscientist and racecar driver who has become a financial expert and advocate, quoted for saying that “personal finance is 90% psychology and 8% math.” His talk, The Science of Money, will take place on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. in TwelvEighty.