Mike Ilitch School of Business offers new course in personal finance

Many college students can’t wait to graduate. They want to be able to buy things, travel and do other things that require more money than they currently have. But most try to go about this without considering the consequences of excessive spending on their futures.

Two of every five adults in the United States – or more than 93 million Americans – are saving less than they did in 2011, and almost 39 percent of adults say they have no retirement savings at all. These kinds of statistics indicate that there is grave need to integrate personal finance into the lives of future generations.

Fortunately for Wayne State students, the university has added “Personal Financial Planning” as a new general education elective, which will be available to all WSU students beginning in the winter 2019 semester.

The course, which is listed as BA1200, will be co-taught by Matt Roling, interim chair of the Department of Accounting in WSU’s Mike Ilitch School of Business, and Joann Marino, an Ilitch School alumna and vice president of wealth management at UBS. Both said they encourage all WSU students to enroll, not just business students.

“Business students take core classes like accounting and finance that give them at least some prep for handling money,” they said. “Non-business students will presumably have even less academic exposure to these concepts, and it’s even more important for their long-term financial health that they receive them.”

The primary focus is to expose students to key concepts of financial planning, while exemplifying the universal principles of finance that transcend all lives. Students will design personal and household budgets, simulate the use of checking and savings accounts and demonstrate knowledge of finance, debt, credit management and student loans.

In addition, they will learn about insurance, taxes, estates, budgeting, cryptocurrency and other fintech innovations that are becoming increasingly important in all of our lives.

Students will walk away from the class with a keen sense of how to manage a budget, said Roling and Marino, adding that there are no quick fixes to managing finances, but that it’s a process and a journey.

“Financial literacy has become critical to an individual’s quality of life and well-being in our modern society,” said Sudip Datta, T. Norris Hitchman Endowed Chair and professor of chair of the Department of Finance in WSU’s Mike Ilitch School of Business. “This course is a first step towards financial literacy so that individuals can make optimal financial decisions for themselves in the future.”