Students listen to Maggie Abney as she teaches financial literacy and money management in the Business and Technology Center on Oct. 10.

It’s the time of year again to schedule classes as a new semester approaches. As students choose their classes for the next term one course to consider to better their financial skills is Finance 201. Finance 201 is offered along with other courses in the Department of Accounting, Finance and Information Systems College of Business and Technology. The department offers a wide variety of classes, including Money and Banking (ECO 324) and Introduction to Financial Accounting (ACC 201). 

Maggie Abney, the executive in residence for banking and financial services at EKU, explained how the finance

program works. The certificates and minors available  allow opportunities for students to build a foundation to gain financial skills. 

“We offer a certificate in personal finance which is also offered as a minor and this gives you the courses that set the foundation for you to be a financial counselor,” Abney said. “The certificate in financial literacy and the minor in personal finance help you with basics in personal money management and financial planning.”

Financial literacy is a word used commonly today, and is becoming more important to Americans, specifically hard-working families. Abney explained that anyone who has learned financial skills can be an asset to communities that may not know what financial literacy is or how it can be applied. 

“There is a growing need nationally for financial literacy education,” Abney said. “We are finding more of a need for it in communities to help the average American family. So, someone who has this certification or minor could work in the financial services industry as a financial counselor.”

Abney said this is why taking classes such as Finance 201 can benefit students when they graduate by giving them great financial skills to prepare them for the future.

“It allows you to make calculated financial decisions from early in life,” Abney said. “Making well-thought-out financial decisions can set the path for a very strong foundation later in life and give you the ability to retire ten years earlier than you would otherwise.” 

The course is not given as a general education course, which leaves many to believe the course is only available to business and finance majors. However, Abney said the class is available for anyone to take and highly encourages students to do so.

“Finance 201: Personal Money Management is available for any student to take, and it is very informative so it includes how to create a budget, learning about taxes, retirement planning, etcetera,” Abney said. “It’s offered online through e-campus as well as in a regular class.” 

Sean Bargo, 48, a junior in Abney’s class from Harlan, said the information from the course could have helped him earlier in life when making financial decisions, but said the class is still beneficial to him since it gives him a different angle of looking at finances.

“It’s really important knowledge I wish I had when I was much younger,” Bargo said. 

Bargo said he had already started dealing with his personal finances before taking Abney’s course.

“A lot of the things we do in class I had to learn on my own just living life, but she’s [Abney] really good at giving me a different perspective on it,” Bargo said.

One thing that has stuck with him so far has been learning the benefits of early investment. Despite the complexity of course, there is a growing need to understand how finances work and what one should be doing to prepare for their future. The course is an option for anyone, however, Bargo said he thinks courses like this one should be mandatory and many students in his class agree.

Hannah Austin, 20, a junior accounting major with a minor in banking and financial services from Danville, also takes Finance 201 with Abney. Austin takes her class online and said she finds the class enjoyable without the overwhelming demands of a traditional classroom.

“I take the class with Maggie Abney, and it’s actually online,” Austin said. “We just come in to take the test. Her layout of the online class is really easy and simple to follow. It’s really just going back to the basics again for me personally, but I really enjoy being in a class where I actually know the content already because I can help the people around me.”

Austin noted that this course has been very important during this time of her life.

“It’s just going over the basics and foundations of finance and budgeting,” Austin said. “Those things are very applicable to my life right now, especially being a college student. It’s very real-world oriented and I like that.”

Austin said she thinks anyone with a free space for a class should consider it.

“For anybody who is going through college at all I think it would be an awesome class because you learn so much about the basics of finance, and I think to be successful in this world you need to have a foundation of what finance is and how it affects your life,” Austin said.

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