By: Michael Timmermans
“Do you like making money?” asks Vicki Kotow, president of the Algonquin Finance Club. “Then make your money work for you.”
The AFC hosted a student debt management seminar on Sept. 25 with special guest speaker Scott McBride. With a background in financial planning, McBride has been a finance teacher at Algonquin for 12 years.
Living within your means, sticking to a budget, paying yourself first and eliminating debt with the highest interest rate first were other pieces of advice the former financial planner shared.
“Respect the privilege of having a credit card,” McBride told the group. “The number of credit cards you have is eating away at your ability to borrow.”
“If you apply for credit more than twice in a year, it becomes a red flag to lenders,” he said. “Be a tough, smart, educated consumer.”
Currently in its sixth year of operation, the AFC has 62 members, seven directors and, according to Kotow, is Algonquin’s most tenured club.
Directors are more involved in running the club and planning events. Members benefit from events which are intended to help them establish their lives after college.
The club’s main annual event is a “speed interview” networking activity where students can meet finance, accounting and banking professionals. The third annual event will take place in the Commons Annex at 7 p.m. on Nov. 5.
The AFC is also planning a mid-term night out fundraiser event on Oct. 18 at Pier 21, an information session for the business administration major program on Oct. 30 and other fundraising initiatives.
Also in the works is an investment seminar, for which the club hopes to enlist as guest speaker a new Algonquin professor who recently came from the banking sector.
The main goal of the club is “networking with faculty and outside businesses,” said Kally Greenaway, an AFC Director and third-year Accounting student.
Greenaway has benefited from her experience with the AFC.
“I got to know a lot of the faculty after joining the club,” she said.
For Kotow, it’s about exposure and fundraising.
“Getting your name out there. Letting the students know we’re here and keeping them up-to-date on what we’re doing,” she said.
“We’re always looking to help students,” said Kotow. “You help us and we can give back so much more.”
For Greenaway, the AFC is about “building your future in the business world.”
It has reached out to other business majors to include students in club activities.
“We’re all working together,” said Kotow. “Bringing it all together makes it that much more like a real business.”
According to McBride, the key to maintaining healthy personal finances is to be honest with yourself, assessing needs versus wants, and getting a sense of the big picture. Realize that little changes in spending habits can make a big difference in the long term.
This philosophy is echoed by Kotow, who is also a third-year finance student.
Her mantra is to make your money work for you. She cautions to watch for small purchases which can add up quickly. Budget and save when you want to treat yourself to something.
Both Kotow and Greenaway have enjoyed their experiences with the AFC and met a lot of new people.
“It’s been fun so far,” said Kotow. “You really get to know yourself and you grow as a person.”