faculty and students talking

Center for Financial Wellness

Westminster’s Center for Financial Wellness works to improve the community’s financial wellbeing through resources and training that go beyond basic financial literacy programs.

The mission of Westminster’s Center for Financial Wellness is to: 

  1. Provide services, events, and programming primarily to Westminster students and secondarily to Westminster employees and the broader community that help promote a deeper understanding of how the economy and financial markets work and how to better manage one’s finances, retirement planning, debt management, and other areas of personal, business, and household economics and finance
  2. Provide transformative experiential learning opportunities to students in tax preparation and financial advocacy
  3. Provide free assistance with tax preparation and financial advocacy
  4. Provide a “financial lab” facility located in Gore 226 as a resource for Westminster classes
  5. Facilitate the production and dissemination to the public of student/faculty research on local business and economic conditions
  6. Offer public events on campus featuring prominent guest speakers and panelists on business and the economy   

Serve as a professional development resource to Utah’s K–12 teachers of economics and business

The vision for the center is to contribute to making Westminster students and employees, and more broadly Utah’s population, financially healthier, happier, and more independent. While other higher education institutions in Utah generally provide financial wellness services and programming to their students only, the Westminster Center for Financial Wellness is the first comprehensive provider of financial wellness, including tax compliance, services to students, employees, and the community, at a higher education institution in Utah. One important area of focus for the center is the promotion of financial and economic literacy for persons from historically excluded populations.



Programs

High School Outreach Program

The Center for Financial Wellness’s High School Outreach Program, offered in collaboration with Jump Start Utah and the Utah State Office of Education, complements the financial literacy curriculum delivered in support of the Utah General Financial Literacy Strands and Standards.

Open To: Utah public and private high school students and instructors

Cost: Free

Upcoming Session: Spring 2022 (dates and times TBD)

Taught By: Westminster full-time faculty and select students

Format:

  • 10 live, 80-minute lessons (delivered via remote/IVC modality)
  • 3 topics per lesson
  • Lessons include a mix of lecture, supporting activity or exercise, breakout discussion, and an assignment to be completed outside of the lesson session.
    • Students’ General Financial Literacy instructors will be given the details of assignments to be completed outside of the lesson session, including the assignment’s solution set. Instructors may choose to follow up on the assignment to make connections to the material discussed in their financial literacy classes.

Each topic is taught in each lesson session. For example, the Making Consumer Decisions lesson will include these topics: Emotions, attitudes, and behaviors in making financial decisions; Economics and decision making; and Advertising and marketing in financial decision making.

Example Lesson Schedule
Lesson Session Date Session Time Lesson Instructor Lesson Topics Strand(s) Supported Standard Supported
Making Consumer Decisions February 5 7:30–8:55 a.m. Noah Allred Emotions, attitudes, and behaviors in making financial decisions 1 1
March 12 7:30–8:55 a.m. Economics and decision making 1 1
April 23 7:30–8:55 a.m. Advertising and marketing in financial decision making 1 1
Economics of Decision Making February 5 1–2:25 p.m. William Harvey Opportunity costs and Financial Decisions 1 2
March 12 1–2:25 p.m. Economics and decision making 1 1
April 23 1–2:25 p.m. The role of profit in society 1 2
Introduction to Macroeconomics February 12 7:30–8:55 a.m. Max Lunt Intro to macroeconomics 3 1
March 19 7:30–8:55 a.m. Inflation rate 1 and 3 1
April 30 7:30–8:55 a.m. Interest rates 1 1
Labor Economics February 12 1–2:25 p.m. Katie Scott Supply and demand 2 1
March 19 1–2:25 p.m. Perfect competition 2 1
April 30 1–2:25 p.m. Marginal productivity 2 1
The Living Wage February 19 7:30–8:55 a.m. Madalyn Bernasek A living wage in Utah 2 1
March 26 7:30–8:55 a.m. Minimum wage 2 1
May 7 7:30–8:55 a.m. Intro to macroeconomics 3 1
Stock Market Investments February 19 1–2:25 p.m. Rick Haskell Stocks, mutual funds, and options 3 3
March 26 1–2:25 p.m. Investment account formats 3 3
May 7 1–2:25 p.m. Markets and broker/dealers 3 1
Real Estate Purchase and Financing Decisions February 26 7:30–8:55 a.m. Grayson Massey Renting, leasing, and buying real estate 4 1
April 9 7:30–8:55 a.m. Investing in real estate 3 2
May 14 7:30–8:55 a.m. Debt financing and credit 4 2
Renting Your First Apartment February 26 1–2:25 p.m. Rick Schmidt Renting, leasing, and buying real estate 4 1
April 9 1–2:25 p.m. Budgeting 4 1
May 14 1–2:25 p.m. Credit qualification 4 2
Introduction to Microeconomics March 5 7:30–8:55 a.m. Madalyn Bernasek Intro to microeconomics 3 1
April 16 7:30–8:55 a.m. Buying new or used car 4 1
May 21 7:30–8:55 a.m. Scans, fraud, and identity theft 4 4
Microeconomics and Consumer Decisions March 5 1–2:25 p.m. Noah Allred Intro to microeconomics 3 1
April 16 1–2:25 p.m. Buying new or used car 4 1
May 21 1–2:25 p.m. Supply and demand principles 2 1

Lesson and Topic Details

Each lesson supports select Utah General Financial Literacy Strands and Standards. Students receive a Career and Technical Education (CTE) certificate evidencing their completion of each of the lessons they participate in.

  • Presents a set of decision criteria useful in making consumer purchase decisions.
  • Addresses the role of individual emotions, social convention, attitudes, and behaviors in making such decisions.
  • Discusses the effect advertising and marketing have on consumer behavior, giving specific examples.

In-class Exercise: A set of decision criteria are considered, against which students examine a range of possible consumer decisions. Students then determine which decisions are most consistent with the given criteria and expected outcomes.

Out of Lesson Assignment: Determining personal decision criteria and sharing them with the financial literacy instructor.

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
Emotions, attitudes and behaviors in making financial decisions 1 1
Economics and decision making 1 1
Advertising and marketing in financial decision making 1 1
  • Introduces the concepts of opportunity costs and economic profit and their role in financial decision making.  

In-class Exercise: Students are given a set of financial conditions resulting in a particular financial profit and then must compare this profit with the economic profit from a set of opportunity costs not expressed in the financial decision process.  

Out of Lesson Assignment: Identifying opportunity costs resulting from a set of capital and time commitments and then considering how they impact the resulting “profit.”    

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
Opportunity costs and Financial Decisions 1 2
Economics and decision making 1 1
The role of profit in society 1 2
  • Introduces the relationship between the Federal Reserve, money supply, and key interest rates and how these influence inflation and consumer interest rates in the domestic economy.
  • Presents with the concept of the yield curve.
  • Introduces the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate with respect to employment (unemployment) levels.

In-class Exercise: Students construct a yield curve given current economic conditions.

Out of Lesson Assignment: Inflation is introduced and examined to help students see how interest rates are influenced by central bank activity and consider how rate changes may impact unemployment (employment) and wage levels.

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
Intro to macroeconomics 3 1
Inflation rate 1/3 1/1
Interest rates 1 1
  • Introduces the relationship between labor supply and demand in the domestic economy
  • Discusses the market-clearing levels of labor supply and demand arising from perfectly competitive markets.
  • Discusses the characteristics of labor supply and demand
  • Discusses the concepts of perfect competition and market friction

In-class Exercise: Marginal productivity is presented through a workplace setting. Students examine the determinants of labor supply and demand.

Out of Lesson Assignment: Students determine the extent to which the current domestic labor market is perfectly competitive.

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
Supply and demand 2 1
Perfect competition 2 1
Marginal productivity 2 1
  • Introduces students to the concepts of, and relationships between, market-clearing wages, wage floors, wage ceilings, labor quotas, the minimum wage, the living wage, and subsistence wages.
  • Introduces the concepts of pre-tax and net income.

In-class Exercise: A wage floor is exogenously introduced into an otherwise competitive market, giving students the ability to independently determine the potential positive and negative effects of state-sanctioned wage policies.

Out of Lesson Assignment: Students will identify the level of incomes (pre-tax and net) required to maintain subsistence lifestyles in the state of Utah for single, 2-person, and small family households.

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
A living wage in Utah 2 1
Minimum wage 2 1
Intro to macroeconomics 3 1
  • Introduces students to common stock as a form of equity investing and discusses the markets in which these instruments are traded, how they may be purchased individually or as part of a mutual fund, and the role of market indexes.
  • Briefly discusses a firm’s structure to give students an understanding of what stock represents to the issuing firm and its investors.
  • Teaches how to search for and understand stock values, calculate rates of return, dividend yields, and learn the relevance of a stock’s beta (price volatility measure).

In-class Exercise: The class will select a portfolio of common stocks and track their historic performance compared to 2 major market indexes: the DOW 30 Industrials and S&P 500.

Out of Lesson Assignment: Students will each select a mutual fund and track its performance over the same time frame as the portfolio selected by the class, compare the mutual fund’s return to that of the portfolio, and consider differences as a function of the fund beta versus that of the portfolio.

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
Stocks, mutual funds and options 3 3
Investment account formats 3 3
Markets and broker/dealers 3 1
  • Introduces students to the concept of homeownership, how real estate values are estimated, the role of real estate brokers/agents, closing costs, and how real estate purchases are financed.
  • Discusses the process of applying, qualifying, and paying for a residential mortgage.
  • Introduces students to online mortgage calculators.

In-class Exercises:

  • Students will identify the effects of different real estate prices, down payments, interest rates, terms, and credit scores on monthly payments. 
  • Students will each select a home to purchase through online resources, compare that home’s price to what they may be able to afford given a set of budget conditions, and participate in an offer, response, and counter-offer simulation.

Out of Lesson Assignment: Students will be required to calculate mortgage payments given a property’s price and required loan-to-value ratio, but for which there are multiple interest rate, term, and credit score conditions.

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
Renting, leasing and buying real estate 4 1
Investing in real estate 3 2
Debt financing and credit 4 2
  • Introduces students to the process of finding, applying for, affording, and renting an apartment.
  • Presents the elements of the “renting versus buying” decision process.

In-class Exercise: Students will be introduced to online apartment listings and application, qualification requirements, and rental terms and conditions.

Out of Lesson Assignment: Students will be required to consider the purchase vs. renting decision and determine whether or not a roommate is necessary to afford the apartment.

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
Renting, leasing and buying real estate 4 1
Budgeting 4 1
Credit qualification 4 2
  • Introduces students to the concepts of supply and demand in the goods market, competitive market assumptions leading to market-clearing values of price and quantity, and the rationale behind downward-sloping demand curves and upward sloping supply curves.
  • Introduces the concepts of monopoly and oligopoly pricing.

In-class Exercise: A consumer budget and consumption decisions are examined.

Out of Lesson Assignment: Students will identify a product for which some level of monopoly power exists and consider the supporting conditions and their impact on consumer satisfaction.

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
Intro to microeconomics 3 1
Buying new or used car 4 1
Scans, fraud, and identity theft 4 4
  • Introduces students to the concepts of supply and demand, competitive market assumptions leading to market-clearing values of price and quantity, and the rationale behind downward-sloping demand curves and upward sloping supply curves.
  • Examines the concept of information asymmetry

In-class Exercise: Examine the concept of information asymmetry in relation to purchasing a used car.

Out of Lesson Assignment: A consumer budget and consumption decisions are modeled.

Concepts Presented GFL Strands GFL Standards
Intro to microeconomics 3 1
Buying new or used car 4 1
Supply and demand principles 2 1

students working on assignment together

students in classroom on computers

 

Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business Youth Summer Camps

Summer camps offered by the Center for Financial Wellness in the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business help middle and high school-aged youth better understand financial concepts by teaching skills that will last a lifetime and providing valuable resources.

Each camp introduces new financial concepts and includes a mix of live instruction, remote instruction, activities, breakout sessions, assignments, and projects within a fun and engaging environment.

Money 101 — Money and Adulting

Money 101 Camp is designed to help middle and high school age youth understand the important role money plays in our lives by exploring practical and applied money management concepts that go well beyond financial literacy.

Money 201 — Investing in Public and Private Equities

Money 201 Camp takes youth on an exploration of public and private capital markets and helps them understand investment strategies and resources at an intermediate level.

Money 202 — Economics: The Science of Decision Making

Money 202 Camp helps youth learn the economic underpinnings of our financial society, leading them to an understanding of economics as a science of decision making and how it forms the basis for accounting and finance in the real world.

Money 203 — Real Estate Ownership and Investment

Money 203 Camp walks youth through the process of owning and financing real estate, whether for personal use or as an investment, giving them a new appreciation of the property they live in and an understanding of what they’ll need to do to have their own one day.

students and professors on laptops

Westminster Tax Clinic

The Westminster Tax Clinic offers free tax preparation and financial advocacy services to low-to-moderate income families along Utah's Wasatch Front. Highly-professional and well-trained Westminster students and volunteers (under the observation of professionals in tax and accounting) gain practical experience while serving the community and are dedicated to being available to anyone in need.

WCore Financial Wellness Courses

WCore is Westminster College's liberal education program that gives you the opportunity to expand your knowledge, investigate and express your interests, and explore new subjects and ideas through unique, engaged, and challenging courses. Some financial wellness-related courses are available to meet WCore requirements.

Personal Wealth Foundation

Prepare yourself to find success in your finances by learning practical solutions to the contemporary issue of a debt-laden society whose populace lacks the financial skills to manage finances properly. This course will discuss the key components of financial planning: wealth protection, accumulation, and distribution. Practical application and experimentation of financial principles will be applied to money management, insurance, credit, investing, and the financial marketplace.

Life and Adulting

Learn a framework for developing self-reliance and personal satisfaction through a survey-level course that includes modules on education for life, career and job search skills, emotional resilience, personal ethics, pluralism, mindfulness, and leadership. Each module will include selected readings, group discussions, personal reflections, and developing and putting into motion detailed personal action plans (reporting on short-run outcomes and long-run expectations). The course includes a project where you will prepare an essay and video that reflect on your journey throughout the course and how you expect to utilize what you learned as a leader in the campus community and beyond.

Meet the Team

Richard Haskell, Ph.D

Richard Haskell, Ph.D

Associate Professor

Emily Mosdell

Emily Mosdell

Office Manager/Adjunct Coordinator

Jovana Sisovic

Jovana Sisovic

Director, Tax Clinic

Contact