Making money funny

The UAA Office of Financial Aid is celebrating Financial Literacy Month with a variety of events and workshops from April 2-5. Thursday, the final day of the event, is highlighted by a informative, yet comedic program and the opportunity to win a scholarship.

Financial literacy focuses on efficient management of personal finance matters, including decisions about paying for college, student loans, budgeting and taxes.

The Savvy Seawolf initiative promotes financial literacy at UAA. It offers one-on-one counseling, workshops and events throughout the semester, aiming to help students make smarter choices with their money.

“Understanding your finances affects so many different areas of your life. Especially as a student, if you don’t understand your finances or have your finance in order, there is really good potential for you to not be successful as a student,” Laura Zamborsky, financial literacy outreach specialist, said.

Zamborsky oversees the Savvy Seawolf initiative at UAA and organized the different workshops and events for Financial Literacy Month.

“It’s not just something that we just want to promote for one week in April. It’s important to think about [financial literacy] all the time,” Zamborsky said.

There will be three events each day focusing on different finance-related topics such as salary negotiation, owning a home and cyber threats. Students attending the workshops will have the opportunity to be drawn for a scholarship at the end of the week.

Photo credit: UAA Office of Financial Aid
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Comedic speaker Colin Ryan, who visited UAA in 2013, has been trained in credit counseling and financial advising. As the author of several books on financial literacy, he speaks to student audiences nationwide about money and offers financial literacy training for schools and financial institutions.

“He’s actually a little bit more well-known in the financial literacy community now than he was five years ago… We’re really excited to have him back. The feedback from last time was really good and that’s why we’re bringing him back,“ Zamborsky said.

Ryan’s programs emphasize the role of money as a tool to accomplish life and career goals.

“If you can control the flow of money [in and out of your life], you can control everything. Not only can you control how much, or what you have, you can even control what you do with your life,” Ryan said in one of his programs for college students.

For his work as comedian and financial educator, he received two awards by the National Youth Involvement Board.

Zamborsky sees Ryan’s presentation as a way to get more students involved with financial literacy.

“I think financial aid sometimes is scary to students generally, so this is a side of financial aid that is a little more… approachable,” Zamborsky said. “Colin Ryan will go over some of that dry, sometimes boring material about finances and understanding finances — and he’s going to do it in a really fun way.”

Travis Turner, senior business major, stressed the importance of being financially literate as a student.

“Until about three years ago, when I moved up to Anchorage, I never really had to [manage my own finances] or think about it,” Turner said. “I would definitely encourage students to educate themselves on personal finance — everyone is going to come across it at some points in their lives.”

The program by Ryan starts at 5 p.m. in the Wendy Williamson Auditorium. There will also be a resource fair featuring community organizations with financial literacy resources starting at 6 p.m. Admission and parking are free for UAA students and the community.