Ann House is the Director of the Personal Money Management Center (PMMC) at The University of Utah. She provides financial education and services for students to obtain an education with as little debt as possible. Her goal is to give them the appropriate tools while achieving lifelong, successful financial outcomes.
AFCPE: What inspired you to enter this field?
Ann: I’m old enough to remember Ralph Nader and his work around car safety and starting Consumer Reports. He was the first consumer advocate that I knew about. The world is becoming less consumer-friendly and finances are increasingly more complex so I wanted to assist consumers in making better decisions. Investing in one’s future and being free from overwhelming debt allows one to have choices and independence. It is rewarding that this is something I can help individuals and families obtain.
AFCPE: You started an award-winning Personal Money Management Center at the University of Utah, tell us about your center and the advice you give to someone who is in the process of implementing a SMMC at their university?
Ann: I joined the University of Utah to build a student money management center. There were only a few other SMMCs at the time – for instance, Paul Goebel at University of North Texas. We checked out their work and I set out determining what we needed at our University. I started with a survey and we surveyed over 1,000 students and asked them what they wanted to learn. I asked what issues are stressing them out and if they would use a money management center if there was one.
Overwhelmingly, students said they want to learn more about money management and to have someone to help them with financial decisions. They wanted to learn about paying tuition for each semester, learn about credit, and to learn about budgeting, and they were willing to pay for it! I was then able to get $3/student added to student fees to support a center. I knew I needed on-going funding to be sustainable. I say “come get your $3 worth every single semester!”
Our center offers luncheons with guest speakers, one-on-one counseling, events such as tax preparation and “U Saves Week.” I know that our success as a resource center is based on three things: 1) institutional support, 2) financial stability and 3) assessments that show our model is working or we are changing to meet students’ needs.
AFCPE: We love your passion and innovation! What’s next? What’s got you most excited?
Ann: University of Utah just obtained an endorsement from AFCPE® to be an approved AFC® University. This means that our school can teach the necessary courses and offer the hours required for our students to obtain an accreditation in financial counseling and/or coaching. I will be creating curriculum and teaching. I am looking forward to offering this career path in the Department of Family & Consumer Studies.
Ann answers the Friday 5:
- My Why: When I look at all the troubles in the world, I feel hopeless that I can make big changes. But I can make a difference in my community. So, I teach, I council, and I sit on boards of institutions and I see that I can change the lives of those around me for the better.
- My Favorite Quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
- My Hero: Esther Peterson, a Utah native. She worked for four Presidents on behalf of consumers all while raising a family. Google her. She is a fascinating and inspiring woman.
- My Favorite Personal Finance Resource: https://powerpay.org/
- My best advice:
- For someone starting the journey to financial well-ness:
Finance education is not an elective in life. The sooner you learn to manage money – earn, spend, save & invest – the sooner you will obtain lifelong financial well-being.
- For a new professional entering this field:
Keep up on your knowledge, your credentials, your skills and experiences in personal finances. The financial world is always changing, and it is complicated. You need to be that expert in order to help individuals and families, and you need to know other resources in your community to make referrals to in areas that are not in your field. You are needed, so make yourself known as that person that can use your help
Follow Ann at:
Facebook: Personal Money Management Center University of Utah