Pictured above: Omar Kasim, CEO of Con Quesos, left, talks to students about sound financial planning. Randy Wilburn, executive search consultant of Zweig Group, stands to the right.

By Kate Friesen
Northwest Quad Resident Assistant

The Personal Finance Symposium drew in more than 60 University of Arkansas students to Gearheart Auditorium and Honors Lounge Oct.19 where they learned the importance of building a financial foundation early in life.

Noel Morris, a professor of the Walton College of Business, kicked off the event with a presentation about the positives and negatives of having credit.

The second half of the event involved a panel of various individuals with unique financial experiences.

The panel included Randy Wilburn, executive search consultant of Zweig Group, Omar Kasim, the CEO of Con Quesos and Kyle Moore, the CRE in Maple Hill West.

Students from both on and off campus attended the event.

The program allowed students to learn from one another as well about financial best practices.

Noel Morris explained that using credit responsibly is an indicator of positive money management. He brought attention to the negatives of bankruptcy, account inquiries, garnishments and high debts owed for long periods of time.

“Credit is a slippery slope,” Marris said. But he explained simple ways to manage it such as paying bills on time, not changing credit card companies, and paying cards in full each month if possible.

The panel followed Morris’ presentation with personal examples of financial success in various levels and entertained questions from the audience. The speakers highlighted the factors that make saving and financial responsibility important even if they are not easy. Randy Wilburn explained the importance of working hard and finding ways to make money in college. This allows students to begin saving for the future.

“I learned at an early age it’s not how much you make but how much you keep,” Wilburn said. He told students to save $2,000 a year in savings account for six years and the not touch it for 30 years, explaining that the interest on this savings would provide a pocket of comfort especially after retirement.

Kyle Moore and Omar Kasim echoed the theme of saving from their respective experiences.

Moore, as a CRE, stressed that saving even just a little could make a difference and that “you don’t have to make a lot to live comfortably.” Kasim brought a business aspect to the panel. His ideas focused on the importance of working because “when you’re busy making money it’s hard to spend money.”

Kasim brought a business aspect to the panel. His ideas focused on the importance of working because “when you’re busy making money, it’s hard to spend money.”

The program is part of University Housing’s @Home series. It was hosted by Amanda Bobo, the coordinator for residence education (CRE) of Pomfret Hall. She led a team of resident assistants (RAs) from across campus.

University Housing works to supports student success on campus, including in their lives outside of the classroom.

“I wanted to see students take an interest in their finances before it was too late,” said Bobo, “I see it so often, students don’t really care or see that they are in financial hardships until they find themselves in a place that’s too hard to get out of.”

The program ended with a chance for presenters to mingle and share thoughts with students.

Attendee Parker Shields, a senior in the Walton College of Business, said he learned you should be conscious of your credit score not only when you make purchases.

A second finance symposium will happen this spring that will focus on different aspects of money.