UT group aims to help minority women better handle finances

Jenny Matthews

UT’s Fearless Leadership Institute has created a program to help college-age minority women learn how to better handle their finances.

On Feb. 4, nearly four dozen women came to the Secure the Bag interest group. The weekly interest group is one of four hosted this semester by the institute, an academic, professional and personal development initiative to help minority women take control of their lives.

Attendees engaged with Rubén Cantú, executive director of the Office of Inclusive Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and listened to his lecture about how financial literacy can change people’s lives.

Ashley Oliphant, graduate assistant for the insitute, said one goal of the interest group is to explain the importance of budgeting and making wise financial decisions.

“Sometimes we think, ‘Oh, that’s too much, this is scary,’” Oliphant said. “We just really want to make sure that people know the kind of empowerment that can come with knowing how to handle your money.”  

Since attendance was comprised mainly of first-generation college students coming from various economic backgrounds, the event was focused on issues minorities face.

“When you’re looking at black and brown minorities — women especially … generally we don’t handle the money.” Oliphant said. 

Public health junior Alexis Allen said she attended the interest group because she believed learning about budgeting would be helpful. 

“If you don’t know how to budget your money, you’re probably going to go broke pretty fast,” Allen said. “I tend to spend money on unnecessary things, so I think by coming here and learning how to save money, budget and (spend) wisely, it’ll help me cut back on things I don’t really need.” 

Cantú brought up several techniques that helped him take charge of his finances. Most of the lecture was focused on an application of a Japanese method called “Ikigai,” which breaks down finances into four foundational building blocks that decisions are based on. 

Business management senior Taylor Jenkins said the advice she received at the event will be helpful in the future.

“I’ve been able to get through college,” Jenkins said. “But as far as post-graduation plans, I think that this event will help me prepare for how to spend money, how to budget, and how to speak the financial language of the world.”

Secure The Bag and Fearless Leadership Institute’s other interest groups are held every Monday from 5-6 p.m. in Room 1.130 of the Gordon-White Building.

 

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