Personal finance and life skills foci of course offered by T.W. Lewis Center at Barrett, The Honors College

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December 15, 2021

Want to learn more about personal finance? Barrett, The Honors College is offering a personal finance course, HON 294: Life Skills & Personal Finance, in the spring 2021 semester. In this course, offered through the T.W. Lewis Center at Barrett, students can learn about important life skills and values, including personal finance.

Personal finance includes a multitude of different aspects of finance including paying bills, managing credit and taxes, making a budget, and risking investments.

Ann Atkinson, executive director of the T.W. Lewis Center for Personal Development, believes in the importance of personal finance education for young adults. 

It is important for college students to know and understand personal finance so they can gain financial success and avoid making detrimental financial mistakes both during college and post-graduation.

“Mastery of basic personal finance is essential at a young age in order to pave the path for financial peace in the future," she said. 

"Financial competence and confidence at an early age can enable the development of simple habits that can bear tremendous rewards in the future." 

One of the instructors for this course is Dr. Kira Gatewood, director of staff operations for Barrett at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. Gatewood, who is an educational solutions architect, said she is passionate about educating and helping others learn and thrive. 

“The general idea of the course is to help students identify their personal definition of adulthood,” Gatewood said. “In defining what they value, they then can create personal goals and steps to achieve those goals that accurately reflect where they are in their lives.”

This course will provide students with life skills, as well as personal finance knowledge.

“Want a job? Take the class. Want to understand the housing market? Take the class. Want to hear some really interesting stories that will help you gain perspective? Take the class. Need honors credit? Take the class,” Gatewood said.

The focus of this class came from Gatewood’s doctoral research, where she looked into the skills honors students felt they needed to be confident during the transition from student to graduate. She started a series of workshops called “Life Hacks” that ultimately became the Life Skills & Personal Finance course.

“I think students who want to hear interesting and personal examples of my success and failures as an adult should take the class,” Gatewood said. 

Students who are unable to take this course but are still interested in learning about personal finance should keep an eye out for financial education events and seminars posted in the Barrett Digest. Last semester, Barrett’s Lewis Center held a Personal Finance Series consisting of workshops on credit and taxes, budgeting, investment strategies and compounding, early retirement planning and insurance. Look for additional personal finance workshops from the Lewis Center in future semesters. Last semester, Barrett also hosted an event called Financing in College, which was led by Barrett, The Honors College Peer Academic Leader Heber Toscano.

Story by Alex Marie Solomon, a student in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU.