IU senior helping students make informed financial decisions as part of the MoneySmarts Team

Guest post by Dottie Vollmer, an IU senior and member of IU’s MoneySmarts Team.

When I began my college career at IU, my focus was on one day working with children. While that remains my focus, I’ve found another passion through my journey here: helping students navigate the sometimes complex world of finances.

Dottie Vollmer

Dottie Vollmer

It all started when I began working in the collections department of the Office of the Bursar. There, I met students who could not pay their past-due balances, who ignored their past-due balances and who did not even know about their past-due balances. My job was simply to take the students’ money and clear their accounts.

I had limited options to help them, besides explaining the payment types we accepted. I wanted to be able to do more. I wanted to help students before they got in the predicament of being in debt.

Fate would have it that I ended up taking a class with Deb Getz, who teaches leadership development courses on campus and is director of peer financial education at IU. One day, I spoke to her about my job and my desire to do more for students regarding debt. Deb told me about a “perfect” job opportunity: IU’s MoneySmarts Team.

The MoneySmarts Team was created to help students make informed personal financial decisions and decrease their possible or current debt. The program is for students by students (with the help of an amazing financial literacy department).

A MoneySmarts Team member is available Monday through Friday for one-on-one and group appointments and group presentations. The overall goal of the program is to give students personalized information, resources and tools to make it easier now and in the future to maintain their finances.

Personally, I have learned so much in the time I have been with MoneySmarts. (I am starting my second year with the program.) I frequently attend weekly training sessions to become more up-to-date on the resources on campus and more knowledgeable about personal finances. While each member of the MoneySmarts team brings something unique to the group’s dynamic, we are all armed with a vast knowledge of resources and options for students dealing with personal finances.

Dottie Vollmer

Dottie Vollmer participates in a recent MoneySmarts Team training session.

Some students come to the program for reassurance that they are on the right path to financial success. Other students, completely distraught, come in seeking answers. While MoneySmarts Team members are not financial advisers, and therefore cannot provide exact solutions, we can help educate our peers about options and resources that will hopefully lead them to solutions that suit their situation. Personal finance is personal, and the MoneySmarts Team knows that.

While financial literacy is important, financial wellness is our main objective. Financial literacy is about understanding how money works and how people manage it. Financial wellness is a unique combination of the physical, spiritual and mental aspects involved with money.

Many aspects of a student’s life can affect their finances. The MoneySmarts Team keeps that in mind during every appointment and presentation. By focusing on financial wellness, as well as overall wellness, MoneySmarts can help students focus on more than their budget.

If you would like to make an appointment, or schedule a presentation, please visit our website, where you can test your knowledge about financial topics, get help from a team member and check out IU courses about personal finance.

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