What Is Financial Wellness? Helping Students Understand Money
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What Is Financial Wellness?

September 18, 2023

Financial wellness is the idea that understanding and having control over your financial resources allows you to live more intentionally towards your goals.

A smiling young woman is using a laptop while sitting on the floor.
The financial wellness program is focused on helping students achieve a more balanced financial well-being.

This, according to Grace Taylor, associate director of financial aid at PCOM, enables you to be more fulfilled in life and pursue the things that are important to you.

As part of the Financial Wellness team within PCOM’s Office of Financial Aid, Taylor and her colleagues work to help students become more aware of their relationship with money and how it affects their overall well-being.

“The focus of the Financial Wellness program is to help each student have a more balanced financial well-being,” she explained. “We teach students how to use money as a tool to help them reach their goals and live true to their values.”

In addition to providing one-on-one counseling, Taylor and other financial wellness coordinators host events throughout the year including presentations, lecture series and other special events.

“The most popular topic we cover in our one-on-one meetings is definitely loan repayment counseling, so debt management is the thing most students are coming in worried about,” Taylor said. “I think the reason we talk about managing debt the most often is just fear of the unknown. Coming in for counseling is so helpful to get those fears cleared up with an actual plan in place.”

Prioritizing Financial Wellness for Students

PCOM’s loan repayment counseling services are housed within the Financial Wellness program.

“We do it this way because it is a lot to know all the ins and outs of the federal student loan repayment rules and plans so we make sure our Financial Wellness team is trained and practiced in all of those details,” Taylor said.

Key Points
  • Financial wellness involves understanding and controlling your financial resources to pursue personal goals.
  • PCOM's financial wellness program is focused on helping students improve their financial well-being.
  • Financial aid counselors provide one-on-one counseling, focusing on topics like loan repayment and debt management.
  • The goal is to empower students to optimize their financial options and reduce fear of the unknown regarding finances.

The team, she added, has developed their own materials and works together to improve their counseling skills. They also conduct more intensive financial counseling for students during their enrollment.

This counseling is especially important for those students who lack confidence in dealing with money matters.

“I think a lot of our students—but really people in general—think that managing money is a lost cause,” Taylor said. “Many students take an avoidance mentality because it feels like they can’t control the situation so they put it to the side to worry about it later.”

One of the most important aspects of the Financial Wellness program, Taylor explained, is to help students deal with the realities of their current financial life.

“Helping students to come to terms with the limited options that they have, but through a perspective that they can optimize how they make those options work in the best way possible, given the circumstances, is our main purpose,” Taylor said. “We want students to understand how the loans work—not to create a sense of fear, but to prevent the fear of the unknown.”

Oftentimes, Taylor added, eliminating the mystique around how loans accrue interest or how financial aid eligibility is determined can make finances much less scary for students.

Future Financial Wellness

While Taylor and her team prioritize dealing with the financial issues impacting students as they pursue and subsequently pay for their degrees, they hope to make a lasting impact on how these students handle their finances. Issues dealing with money, Taylor added, are not limited to young people.

“We just want students to know that we are struggling too,” she said.

During challenging financial times, Taylor relies on her financial wellness skills and financial advice she received from a mentor years ago to stay on track.

“The best financial advice that I have ever gotten was to automate my savings,” she said. “I have a mentor who helped me a lot when I had my first job out of college who was super open and honest about how she managed her family’s finances and she taught me to split my paycheck automatically when I set up my payroll paperwork.”

Taylor has always had at least 10 percent of her paycheck sent to a savings account with the remaining funds going into her checking account.

“This has helped me so much over the years,” she said. “I always give this same advice to students when they are getting ready to graduate.”

That sort of proactive financial action, Taylor explained, will help students meet their goals, achieve the things they value most, and use their money to its full potential.

“Everyone needs money to function and everyone has a difficult time sometimes managing their money,” she said. “The more awareness you have about your own financial situation, the more control you have.”

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