UPB partners with Wells Fargo

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Michael Long, the store manager for the Florence Mall Wells Fargo, speaks to students at the Jan. 18 Financially Fit event about topics such as checking and savings accounts as well as credit loans.

Tiffany Roper, Staff Writer

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The University Programming Board (UPB) hosted their first Financially Fit program of the spring semester on Wednesday, Jan. 18th at 4:30 p.m.

The Financially Fit program is held on every third Wednesday of the month, and its purpose is to educate college students about the ins and out of their finances.

Michael Long, Florence Mall Wells Fargo store manager, answered several questions that students had about financial topics such as checking accounts, credit, loans, and saving.

“There were so many questions about day-to-day banking, avoiding fees, ‘how does this work’ and ‘why did I get charged,’ that I think at the next one in February, we’re going to talk about exactly that—the nuts and bolts of a checking account,” Long said.

Members of UPB and other students attend the program in hopes of learning how to control their spending, save monthly and other aspects of banking.

“I like the fact that there are broad ranges of questions, but it centers around the same idea of saving and investing,” Kaanan Lewis, junior and Early Childhood Education major, said.

Long helped with the inception of the Financially Fit program more than a year ago after talking to members of the FMU faculty about a way to educate students about managing their money now as well as in the future.

“We have a great love for educating our customers and being a part of the community and inevitably, that conversation always turned into, in some form or another, the lack of really comprehensive, everyday financial education for students,” Long said.

Now, UPB advisor and Assistant Dean of Students LaTasha Brand is making efforts in order to expand the program and get students’ attention in order to spread the word about being smart with their money.

“An idea starts as a concept and it tends to grow and evolve into something else,” Long said. “When you impede that evolution, I think it loses some of its luster it has to grow it has to change to continue to improve. Dean Brand has got some great ideas and a great vision about how to offer more to students…what could benefit them better along the line.”

Having an undergraduate degree in international studies in German as well as an MBA from FMU, Long has been in business in Florence for about 16 years. From restaurant management to hotel management to financial services, Long has seen much of the business and its financial aspects.

“There are typically two questions most college students have—they want to know about investing and how to build credit,” Long said. “There are a number of ways to go about it but the best thing I can talk about as far as investing and building credit is having discipline, being consistent and save. Be wise in your decisions. If you’ve got twelve dollars in your account, is it smart to spend six of that at Mickey D’s when you’ve got something in the freezer at home?”

After each session, Long makes it known to students that he is not only available to talk to or ask questions about their finances at the program, but at his local office as well.

“I’m really sincere when I hand those business cards out,” Long said. “I don’t mind answering those questions. I try and get to everybody. It doesn’t matter what institution you’re with.”

Lewis, as well as other students, plans on taking advantage of Long’s invitation to learn more about managing finances.

“Mr. Long is a man who takes his occupation seriously and his passion for helping others inspires people like me,” Lewis said. “He really is a resource to college students.”

Having been a student at FMU as well as having worked with some of the faculty, Long praises the work and dedication that he has seen over the years.

“I have never seen an institution that overwhelmingly has a faculty that will bend over backwards to help you out, and there is just an overwhelming sense of purpose,” Long said. “The needs of the students come first. Francis Marion has been a tremendous asset to the community.”

The next Financially Fit meeting will be on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 4:30 p.m. in UC 201.

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