By Ina Herlihy '14, Contributing Writer
The Money Wise Women Mentors (MWWM) are beginning their personal financial literacy program this year, after spending last semester planning the program topics and selecting mentors.
The mentors read four personal finance books over the summer to expand their knowledge to be a resource to students.
The MWWMs are holding living room office hours on the first and third Tuesdays and Wednesdays of every month from 8 – 9 p.m. in rotating dorms. This will be an opportunity for students to have their personal finance questions answered individually. The next office hours will be held in the Toll living room on Oct. 19.
Every month, two mentors are giving a workshop on selected personal finance topics. On Sept. 17 Ina Herlihy ’14 and Maddie Ripley ’14, the student founders of MWWM, gave a presentation on personal budgeting.
“Personal budgeting is keeping track of what you spend, and formulating a spending plan is essential to gaining control of your financial life — you can only control what you know,” said Ripley. “Knowing where your money goes each day lets you be in charge.”
Ripley and Herlihy cited Ramit Sethi’s book "I Will Teach You to be Rich" several times in their presentation. It was one of the books mentors read over the summer. Sethi highlighted that the term “budget” has a negative connotation, and should be considered a conscious spending plan.
“When you first start following a spending plan, changing spending habits can be difficult,” said Ripley. “If you currently spend $80 a month eating out, it may be difficult to cut that figure down to $20. Try making the smallest change you can today, then gradually adding to that change.
Making incremental decreases allows you to make positive, sustainable changes to your spending.”
Mentors Mary Creedon (’14) and Szeyin Lee (’14) will host the next workshop on Oct. 22 about saving and investing.
“We’ll talk about how Roth IRAs work great for people with small incomes because the money is taxed before contributing it to the account,” said Creedon. “It grows tax free so that students can contribute money that isn’t heavily taxed, and withdraw that money and its earnings when they retire without paying any new taxes.”
“Investing is not ‘beating’ the stock market, but rather another form of saving in the long run,” said Lee. “There are different investing strategies for people with different needs. We actually don’t need professional investing counselors to tell us what to do, unlike what most people believe. We can start investing ourselves with some research.”
For more information, contact the MWWMs at email@example.com.