Conference stresses importance of financial management

By: ISU Communications and Marketing Staff
February 23, 2009

The key to saving money is starting early. That was the consensus of financial business leaders, college students and community members who gathered at Indiana State University on Saturday (Feb. 21) to discuss financial matters.

The 2009 Financial Literacy Conference, hosted by the ISU chapter of the Financial Management Association, featured professionals from the world of finance who gave presentations and answered questions regarding credit cards, mortgages and retirement strategies.

"Fiscal responsibility is hugely important because debt can spin out of control," said Brian Cain, a wealth management advisor from Old National Bank and graduate of the ISU College of Business.

Cain discussed proper credit card usage, noting that credit history is the number one factor in determining whether or not a loan will be granted. He advised audience members to be responsible when using credit and to keep balances paid in full.

"Debt becomes a problem when credit cards are no longer a tool, but a means to survive," Cain said.

David Sprigg, vice president for business development at Citizens National Bank, discussed mortgages. He talked about the pros and cons of refinancing, as well as the difference between adjustable and fixed rates.

Jeff Spencer, investment advisor and CEO of Innsbruck Financial Consultants, focused his remarks on retirement planning. An increased dependence on personal savings, fewer pensions, Social Security uncertainties and longer life expectancy all add up to a need to start planning early, he said.

Financial literacy means more than just knowing how to be good with money, said John Conant, professor and chair of the ISU economics department.

"It's also important to know how and when to seek financial advice," he said.

Conant used a chart to show the difference a few years can make when it comes to saving money.

"Waiting just 10 years to start saving can have a 60 percent negative impact on your portfolio," Conant said.

Those numbers came as a wake-up call to Andrew Borden, a junior history and political science major who attended the conference after hearing about it from a friend in the Financial Management Association.

"I, like most Americans, identify myself as financially illiterate," Borden said. "I'm going to need to find a house, a job and car in the next 18 months, so topics like this are important to me. With the current economy, that importance has really been emphasized of late."

Established in 1970, the national Financial Management Association is a global leader in developing and disseminating knowledge about financial decision making. FMA works to broaden common interests among academics and practitioners; provide opportunities for professional interaction among academics, practitioners and students; promote the development and understanding of relevant basics and applied research and sound financial practices; and to enhance the quality of finance education in and out of the classroom.

The ISU chapter of the Financial Management Association was founded in 1989 and has included more than 100 students from diverse majors and professionals and professional tracks. The conference served as a community service and experiential learning project for the chapter.

Sponsors of the event included the ISU Gongaware Center, Center for Economic Education, School of Graduate Studies, College of Arts and Sciences and Networks Financial Institute.

-30-

Contact: Jonathan Conant, conference coordinator, Financial Management Association, Indiana State University, jconant1@isugw.indstate.edu.

Writer:Emily Taylor, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or etaylor16@indstate.edu

Photo: Brian Cain of Old National Bank discusses credit cards during the 2009 Financial Literacy Conference at Indiana State University. (ISU/ Tony Campbell)

Click here for additional photos from the event.