Are you a Kim Kardashian or a Warren Buffett? The University of Utah’s Personal Money Management Center helped around 45 students find out.
The Personal Money Management Center is open to undergraduate, graduate, PhD and even prospective students. Anyone thinking about coming to the U can make a free visit to learn how to fill out their FAFSA applications as well as how to take a look at how to handle money once enrolled.
“We can help students manage their personal finances,” said Tiffany Davis, assistant director and financial counselor at the Personal Money Management Center. “They can come and meet with a counselor one-on-one and bring their budget, their financial goals or just their worries and their concerns and we can help them make a plan to help ease the stress that finances bring our students.”
The Personal Money Management Center also offers special services on paying off debts. “Some of the things that we offer are taxes, we help with budgeting, paying off debt, credit cards and everything in between,” said Allison Palmer, office assistant to the Personal Money Management Center.
In addition to personal counseling, students can attend additional workshops and events. The first event this semester, presented by the director of the Personal Money Management Center, Ann House, was titled “Are You a Kim Kardashian or a Warren Buffett?”
“Our workshop was to help students find where they fall with their money personalities and what traits do they need to look at moving forward, so that they’ll meet their financial goals,” Davis said.
Davis referenced the birth of the famous “ugly cry” when talking about why Kim Kardashian was on one end of the money spectrum. “There’s a pretty funny famous clip of Kim Kardashian where she loses a diamond earring… in the ocean and she freaks out. She just had this, like, ‘cry’ about how upset she was about losing this $70,000 earring,” Davis said.
On the other end of the scale are the financially responsible, such as Warren Buffett. “[He] is known for his financial stability, he is a financial investor and he has made like billions of dollars investing in the stock market and just making really wise financial decisions,” Davis said. Even with billions of dollars, Buffett sticks to the basics. “Warren Buffet is famous for driving old cars. He doesn’t buy the top of the line… he drives pretty conservative older cars and he drives them for a long time.”
By taking a look at their own spending habits, students could find where they were on the spectrum of finance and where they needed to become less of a Kardashian and more of a Buffett.
As an extra draw for students, the Center provides free food at each of their events. They help the starving college students first with free food, and then with financial advice. “If students are hungry they should sign up for our newsletter,” said Davis. “They should go to our website and make sure they’re attending our events. We go… all out for our events, like pasta bar, taco bar — not just free pizza,” Davis said.
The center counsels about 500 students per year. For their single-night events, a turnout of 45 people is a high amount. Always looking out for ways to extend their help, the center hopes to reach new students with new programs. Over time, the center has experimented with programs, dropping and adding them, looking for what it is that students most want and need. Also, their reach goes out not only to students, but to its own employees.
“When I first started working here,” said first-year graduate student, Viridiana Najera, “I had no financial literacy or anything of that sort. Then, with another semester of being here, my whole perspective on financial literacy changed.”
Other events that the Personal Money Management Center runs include the VITA Free Tax Clinic in April, where students can file taxes for free if their household gross income is less than $66,000 a year. For this service, there are a few materials students need to bring:
- Their H&R Block password, if they have one
- A valid email address
- Previous tax return
- Social Security or Individual Tax Payer Identification Number for them and each of the people they are supporting
- W-2 forms, 1099s and 1098s
- 1095-A form for people who have received a tax credit from healthcare.gov marketplace
- Childcare provider information
- Bank account information for direct deposit if students qualify for a tax refund
International students who have been in the United States for over five years can also attend the event.