When Joseph Parler was growing up, financial literacy was a common topic of conversation in his family. His mother was particularly passionate about the subject.
“She learned it from her grandparents, who had grown up in the Great Depression,” Parler says.
Parler discovered at an early age that he was good with finances and set his sights on becoming a financial planner.
When he got to college, Parler realized that many students didn’t have the same level of financial literacy that he has.
“I have met students who don’t even have a checking account,” he says.
Parler says a lack of financial literacy may mean that students can’t accomplish goals such as buying a car or house, or providing for a family. In some cases, it also prevents them from finishing college.
For the past year, Parler has been sharing his knowledge of financial literacy with fellow students at Temple College by helping teach the monthly “$mart Money Seminars” offered by the Temple College Foundation. The seminars are required for all students who apply for Leopard Loans, which are no-interest emergency loans.
Parler has been working for the foundation since his first semester at Temple College. When he started working for the foundation, it was located in an office building in downtown Temple, which turned out to be fortuitous. A financial planner rented space on the third floor of the building, and Parler quickly sought him out to be a mentor.
Although Parler was originally hired to do office work and help with fundraising events for the foundation, when staff members there saw how good he was at managing his personal finances, they asked him to help teach their financial literacy classes.
Parler begins his presentation by giving students a test to help them determine their “money personality.” He says most students are either spenders or “avoiders” – people who don’t feel comfortable talking about finances.
Parler encourages all students to take a day to analyze all the expenses they have. As part of the financial literacy class, students are required to set up a budget for themselves.
Parler tells students about a variety of free apps they can use for either budgeting or saving. He personally uses an app called “Mint,” which allows him to connect all his credit cards and bank accounts together and track his spending.
Parler also offers tips on stores that give discounts to students, banks that offer free checking accounts for students, and how students can save money while they are in college.
The next $mart Money Seminars will be held March 29, April 26 and May 10 at 10 a.m. For more information, call the Temple College Foundation at 254-295-0643 or visit www.tcfound.org.