Gamecocks get lesson on money management in latest Gamecock CEO event
South Carolina student-athletes learned some of the most important numbers they’ll have to keep up with have nothing to do with their statistics. Founders Federal Credit Union presented its Mad City Money Workshop, which teaches student-athletes how to manage finances, in the latest Gamecock CEO Summer Huddle Series earlier this week. Gamecock CEO is South Carolina’s student-athlete development program.
“I’m very uneducated on how to keep up with finances,” said senior swimmer Caroline Spence. “It was such a productive Zoom. I think I really learned how to budget things and how to keep track of everything. It was pretty realistic. I don’t think it was overwhelming. I feel a lot better about it now that I at least have an idea and have been exposed to it. I thought it was very helpful, so it’s not as scary.”
Jessica Banks, a former volleyball student-athlete at Virginia Intermont College and currently a financial education representative from Founders Federal Credit Union, gave the Gamecocks a practical exercise for financial success.
“The best thing you can do is to start taking note of your cash flow,” Banks said. “Figure out how much you bring in and calculate how much you’re spending. Start putting money into categories so you know how much you’re spending on eating out or going to the movies. That way, once you do have a job, then you’ll know what to do.”
The student-athletes were assigned a career and salary in advance along with other details in their individual lives after college, such as whether they had a spouse and children. It was then up to the student-athletes to figure out a livable budget which included buying or renting a house/apartment, and paying for utilities, groceries, transportation, entertainment and many other expenses that college students may not be thinking about.
“At first I wanted to do all the cheap options, so I would pick the cheapest way out,” said women’s basketball redshirt sophomore Laeticia Amihere. “Then I realized, that’s probably not realistic.”
“I was choosing things like a regular car, but my mindset is that eventually, I want a nice car, a nice house, and that type of stuff,” said women’s basketball redshirt sophomore Destiny Littleton. “It was kind of hard choosing that because you only have a certain amount of money. You didn’t want to get to the end and then have negative money.”
“It’s a balance of trying to save and splurge at the same time,” Banks said. “That will happen throughout your financial journey. People who are in touch with their finances do this every month. This is a good way to keep track of your money because you see how much is coming in. A smart and responsible person would do this on a monthly basis.”
“Once you are able to budget and save, then you are able to do what you want with your money, and that’s what it’s all about.”
– Jessica Banks
Banks noted that she presents the Mad City Money program to younger school children as well.
“I’m pretty sure this was taught more in school about ten years ago, and then slowly it faded out of the school curriculum,” Banks said. “That’s where I come in. I’m trying to provide that for people who are not getting that in schools. I know for myself, I was not necessarily taught how to budget, but I might have been taught more accounting, which is not exactly what I need because this is real life. It’s probably one of the most important things you can know. Getting in the real world is knowing how to take care of your money.
“The sooner you know how to do this, the better you are with your money. That’s what a budget is for. You put all of your money into categories, so you know how much you spent on certain things and how much you can save. As long as you are in control of your money by doing these steps, then maybe you are able to get the better car later on. Sometimes you have to start out small coming out of the gates. Once you are able to budget and save, then you are able to do what you want with your money, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The Gamecocks learned the importance of paying off credit card debt and at least paying the minimum payment each month if they can’t pay it off all at once.
“When you have a credit card, it is a loan with a financial institution, and you have to pay a minimum payment,” Banks said. “If you don’t, like any loan, you will get charged fees, and it will hurt your credit score. The best option is to pay it off in full if you can afford to do that.
“Credit cards are not the bad guy. They can be the bad guy if you don’t use them properly, and you charge too much where you can’t pay it off in full. It can be something unexpected that you absolutely had to pay for.”
Banks also educated the student-athletes on how their credit score was calculated, which takes into account payment history, amount owed, length of credit history, types of credit, and new credit.
“Your payment history affects your score by 35 percent,” Banks said. “Every time you miss a payment or don’t make a payment, that affects your score the most. The next one is the amount owed. Lenders want to make sure you can use debt responsibly. That affects your score by 30 percent.
“Any time you do something negative when it comes to money, it’s going to hurt your score. The better you are with your finances and the better you are with your loans, the better and higher your credit score will be. You’re going to look more reliable to a lender.”
While being presented with a lot of expenses and planning for unplanned expenses all at once can be overwhelming, the student-athletes were thankful for a look at what life after college will look like.
“I think it went well,” Spence said. “I was worried that I was going to run out of money. I ended up having $500 left dollars at the end, so that was pretty decent. I was thinking, do people do this in real life, every month? I guess I never thought about writing everything down and doing all this! It really does make sense and it’s a really good way to keep track of it.”