This past Saturday Stonehill hosted an event exclusive to seniors titled, Financial Literacy. This was a chance for seniors to hear from four experienced individuals about the best ways to manage their money. Our four speakers included Glen Ilacqua, CPA and professor for accounting at Stonehill, Elizabeth Santella, a loan officer, Alan Siegel, a financial advisor, and Robert Spencer, a professor here at Stonehill with an extensive background as an attorney and CPA. The four of these individuals were able to provide financial guidance and advice for various aspects of our lives. From small daily expenditures to budgeting for the future.
Glen Ilacqua explained the importance of filing taxes and how it is quite simple. He stressed that filing correctly is extremely important. You want the correct amount taken from each check and when you are filing your returns you do not want to owe money, you want to receive money instead so make sure to file single zero. He stressed, however, that you must be aware of when to change your tax filing because there will come a time when you are required to do so. As you grow in wealth, acquire a home, and start a family, you no longer will be able to file for the same tax status as you did when you were 22 or 23.
Elizabeth Santella provided some rather simple cost saving tips that most college students and even adults seem to overlook. Ms. Santella, in a comical way, advised us that we should look for the cheaper substitutes in life. She said, coffee is coffee, whether it is at Starbucks or McDonalds. Save yourself a couple of dollars a day and drink McCafe. She said you do not need to be someone walking the runway, try your best not to be addicted to fashion trends and stop by Walmart every now and then. A t-shirt there is still a t-shirt, but for half the price. Lastly, she stressed heavily on the unnecessary expense created by ATMs. Why pay $2 to $4 in charges at an ATM when you can buy a piece of candy at CVS and get cashback? Ms. Santella says, be smart and stay away from unnecessary expenses that can accumulate day by day and week by week. She also stressed to us the importance of establishing credit and maintaining credit. Pay your bills and pay them on time!
Alan Siegel provided insight into retirement plans and how to save up for the future. He said it is imperative to figure out exactly what the company is offering for retirement plans and benefits before accepting the job offer. You want a match plan at minimum, where the company you work for will match whatever percentage of your paycheck you delegate to your 401k. Mr. Siegel talked further about the importance of having a diversified portfolio to ensure that there will be money available when you decide to retire and no matter what, do not touch your retirement money too early as you will be penalized and it will hurt you in the long run.
Robert Spencer wrapped up the seminar with advice about when you are actually working in a job and the importance of future growth. Mr. Spencer provided his own personal experiences as an entry level worker and explained the importance of finding a mentor in the company. He stressed that not any mentor of course. Just because they are older and have been with the company for years might not mean they are the best mentor. Do your research and scout the workers out. You need to find someone who is loyal to the company and who has extensive knowledge of the industry. Once you find that person, try to work with them and learn from them as much as possible because it will benefit you in the long run. He also added to Mr. Siegel advice and said that no matter what, do your research before investing regardless if you are using an advisor or not. Sometimes advisors might not work in your best interest even if they claim they are. Do not be swindled or clueless with where your money is going and how it is growing. Be a part of the whole process as much as possible.
Overall this event was great for second semester seniors as many of them will hopefully have jobs in the months following graduation. The advice they received t oday from these four reputable individuals will surely help to protect them for the future.
We want to again thank all four of our speakers as they did a wonderful job and we wish all our seniors the best of luck for the future!