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Women's Soccer  . 

Gamecocks Get Lessons in Financial Literacy in Latest Beyond Sports Event

by Brad Muller, Director of Content

The Gamecocks learned about budgets, credit building, home buying and other financial topics.

South Carolina student-athletes received a few lessons in how to manage their money as Founders Federal Credit Union provided some financial education as part of the Athletics Department’s Beyond Sports Professional Development and Summer Internship Program on Monday. Financial Education/Business Development Officer Felicia Pope spoke to the Gamecocks about budgets, credit building, home buying and other financial topics.

“What you do today drives everything you do tomorrow,” Pope said. “Be mindful of the decisions you make and the choices that you make with your money. When it comes to a budget, you have to give it structure and guidance.”

Pope stressed the importance of basic skills such as balancing a checking account and the dangers of racking up debt on credit cards.

“Some people don’t like to write down their finances because they’re busy, but you can lose track of everything,” Pope said. “Write down everything. Expenses are tricky because sometimes you don’t see them.”

“This really gives you some things to think about for the future.”
– Sean McGonigal

She encouraged the Gamecocks to look at the little things that can affect their budget, including purchasing expensive coffees every day or forgetting about automatic payments. She also suggested that they start looking at their own expenses over an extended period, perhaps three months, to gather their own historical data for their spending habits and create an accurate budget.

gatlin lawson 2021 florida relays
Gatlin Lawson

“I learned that I need to put more money aside,” said Gatlin Lawson, a rising senior with the track and field team. “You feel all excited when you get it, but you have to buckle down and save. I guess what scares me the most for the future is taxes, so I need to know more about that.”

“I had a little bit of knowledge coming in about credit and budgeting, but this really broke things down for me and got into the nitty-gritty details,” said Cam Dixon, a rising senior on the women’s soccer team. “This allowed me to re-evaluate how I spend my own money. As student-athletes we get checks for things like housing and cost of living, so we’ve had a little bit of a built-in experience in how to budget, but I think it could be better, so this was very beneficial. She presented it in a way that was less scary than I thought it would be.”

“I really liked the financial planning part of it and how to set up a budget,” said Sean McGonigal, a former member of the football team who is graduating this summer. “When you write down everything, you can have a better picture instead of just trying to think about it.”

While the lessons are applicable to the student-athletes now, they are even more important for when they graduate and have to pay more bills on their own. Pope went into detail about what to look for when applying for jobs, including salary as well as other benefits that don’t show up in your salary, such as childcare or car allowances that may save them money. The Gamecocks also received an education in their credit score as well as the home buying process.

“I think this will help since I’m graduating soon and will have to be on my own,” Dixon said. “It will definitely help me in the future.”

“Before this, I’d say I was a two out of ten (with financial literacy), now I feel like I’m at five or six,” McGonigal said. “This really gives you some things to think about for the future. You’re always worried about how much higher your expenses are going to be, so this was very helpful.”