Many students graduate from college with limited experience with financial planning. As they start full-time professional positions, new grads are not only making the transition from school to work; they also have to learn quickly about budgeting, saving, student loan payments, and taking advantage of 401(k)/403(b) matching and other retirement benefits.
The Cal Alumni Association’s Alumni Scholars Program invited Pearl Chan Schopmeyer, financial coach and co-founder of Snowball Wealth, to host a series of workshops aimed to teach undergraduate Alumni Scholars the basics of high-yield savings accounts, investing, and retirement planning.
In a workshop with the highest live attendance of the 2020–21 academic year, Chan Schopmeyer provided details about taking advantage of high-yield savings accounts to earn higher interest rates. She discussed Roth IRAs and passive income generation through real-estate investing.
“Coming from a low-income household, I know what it is like to worry about affording monthly budgets and securing personal savings,” said Justin Hogenauer ’22. “The workshops have motivated me to take command of my finances and remind me that I have to pay myself first. My biggest takeaway from attending both workshops is that, to create generational wealth, I need to invest and save in ways that allow me to not live [only] on a monthly paycheck from a job.”
The recent $GME stock frenzy and the rise of Robinhood and other fractional-share offerings ignited both interest and hesitancy in investing in the stock market. “I enjoyed that she talked about investing, because it can be a sensitive topic,” one participant remarked. “I believe it is an important topic to discuss as it directly connects to building wealth across generations.”
Through the generosity of its donors, the Alumni Scholars Program is able to offer bespoke workshops to support the needs and interests of students at Berkeley.
Hogenauer added, “I have enjoyed the Alumni Scholars Program’s financial wellness workshops because they create an intimate space for me to discuss finances with other scholars who come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds [as me].”