Growing demand for the new Personal Finance Minor now being offered in UW-Green Bay’s Cofrin School of Business

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Students who graduate with a minor will be able to sit for the CFP Certification Examination by the CFP Board

Preston Cherry, assistant professor of Personal Financial Planning and Finance at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, said more than 15 students have signed up for the new minor since it was announced, and more have expressed interest.

While more students begin to learn about the degree path, Cherry says there is increased demand in the minor within the community and the industry.

The personal financial planning minor will provide students with the basics in financial planning, while giving them the experience they need in order to sit for financial planning certification exams. The Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) approved the curriculum of the new financial planning program earlier this year.

Students who graduate with a financial planning minor will have education required to sit for the CFP Certification Examination by the CFP Board. Once they pass the exams and are certified, they’ll have a competitive edge amongst their peers.

Preston Cherry leads the new Personal Financial Planning minor at UW-Green Bay

Cherry said Northeast Wisconsin businesses have been wanting a financial planning program, as have alumni. Both groups want to see qualified financial planning candidates come out of the university as potential employees, and service providers.

That’s good news for students too, he said.

“Most importantly, the students have expressed interest,” he said. “I felt out a couple of surveys when I arrived here to test the waters and see specifically they were interested in financial planning or the profession itself. We got about 25 responses that said either yes, I’m directly interested, or I’d like to know more.”

The goal of the minor, he said, is to teach students how to have a relationship with their money.

Everybody has a dollar that folds, or a coin that jingles,” he said. “Everybody has money that they want to have a relationship with so we aspire to connect with the Green Bay community and build a relationship centered around greater financial literacy which helps build greater financial wellness.”

The program will work with the Willie Davis Finance and Investment Lab to present the two different sides of investing, he said. On one side, in the Investment Lab, students will be exposed to state-of-the-art technology that allows them to delve into investment management. On the other side, in an adjacent room, the Center for Financial Literacy will give them the tools they need to manage personal finances.

“Personal financial planning is more comprehensive at the household level,” he said. “Now, we’re talking about cash and credit management. We’re talking about savings and spending. We’re talking behaviors and emotions and feelings about relationships with money. We’re talking about risk management at the household level – your insurance, your medical benefits, your household auto – all of these.”

In this minor, they will learn how to create comprehensive financial plans that allow for flexibility and growth in across a person’s life cycle. Soon, Cherry said, the program will also offer hands-on experience for the students to meet with potential clients – either other students or community members, and help those clients with their own financial plans.

That one to one peer counseling, he said, will help students learn how to deal with clients and prepare them for successful careers as financial planners after they graduate from UW-Green Bay.

Story by freelance writer Liz Carey