Member Spotlight: Dr. Michael Gutter is an Associate Professor for the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences at the University of Florida. He earned his BS in Family Financial Management and his PhD in Family Resource Management from The Ohio State University with a specialization in Finance. A longtime Member and current Board Member of AFCPE, Dr. Gutter will assume the role of Board President in 2015.
Your research, teaching and outreach are all focused around one common goal – helping families achieve financial security. What inspired you to take this path in your career?
I grew up in a household with very limited resources. My parents were extremely hard working but fell on tough times for many reasons beyond their control. Despite their best efforts this took its toll on my brother and me as well.
When I learned of a financial management degree in college, I became intrigued. The more I learned, the more passionate I became about helping other families to make better decisions, arm themselves for the unexpected, and prepare for the future.
Tell us a little about your current research project. What is inspiring you right now?
Currently I am working with the NC 2172 multistate research team consisting of researchers across the country focusing on “Behavioral economics and financial decision-making and information management across the lifespan.”This project was developed with a goal to better understand consumer financial decision-making across the lifespan. How consumers process information and make decisions regarding housing (rent vs. buy & mortgage), post-secondary education financing, and Social Security retirement will be examined.
The importance of this project is to address the problem of consumer decision-making in an increasingly complicated financial world. Simply providing consumers with information and education are necessary steps, yet not sufficient to address the larger problem.
As someone who wears “multiple hats,” what do you find most fulfilling in your career?
I find the mentoring of students and junior faculty to be an amazing experience. Watching them blossom into future stars of industry and research has been the highlight of my work, in addition to the impact my own efforts have made in peoples’ lives.
You are currently serving on AFCPE’s Board of Directors and next year will step into the role as President of the Board. What are you most proud of during your time on the Board and what are you most excited about during your term as President
AFCPE has been at the forefront of financial education and counseling helping to shape the industry. I am very excited to be working with members and stakeholders to help build the future of financial education and counseling. I look forward to being a steward of that energy and dedication as we work together to move this field forward continuing to inform practice through state of the art research.
If you are interested in learning more, Dr. Gutter’s research will be featured in three poster sessions at the 2014 AFCPE Research & Training Symposium in Bellevue, Washington this November. Mike can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or follow his regular tweets on personal finance under @mikegutter on Twitter.