Finance Web site offers resource for students, recent graduates

By Tracy Culumber

By Tracy Culumber

Staff writer

Several students in sales and marketing are aiding representatives of the Finance Awareness Institute in the development of a Web site to distribute financial advice to University students and alumni. Sponsored by the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and several members of the Illinois Chapter of the American Advertising Federation, www.Several students in sales and marketing are aiding representatives of the Finance Awareness Institute in the development of a Web site to distribute financial advice to University students and alumni. Sponsored by the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and several members of the Illinois Chapter of the American Advertising Federation, www.Wired24-7.com specifically caters to students at the University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the local businesses that serve the student communities.

The Web site features numerous web links to articles, news sites, message boards, financial institutions, alumni networks and employment services.

Nayeli Valentinez, junior in Communications and team leader for marketing, said the site could potentially be the next “facebook-type thing” for students on campus.

“These are the gritty things we need to know about at our age,” Valentinez said. “It is worth the time because it is a good way to know what is going on on campus and in the real world of financial matters.”

Greg Tagtmeier, president of the Financial Awareness Institute and director of the Web site, worked with a group of student volunteers from the American Advertising Federation throughout first semester to create the site. Tagtmeier said college students are particularly susceptible to credit card debt and financial instability, but they also have potential to succeed given the proper resources. Advising students to “get smart, get rich and (not) get ripped off,” Tagtmeier explained that being informed about credit card debt and having an investment plan are essential to financial success.

According to the Illinois Certified Public Accountants Society, freshman college students in Illinois receive an average of eight credit card offers during their first week on campus and many graduate with more than $20,000 in credit card debt and outstanding student loans.

John Powell, clinical counselor at the counseling center, said this kind of Web site is an asset to students who are starting out financially because they often do not have the “life-maturity” to deal with it alone.

“Financial planning, learning to manage money and debt is increasingly a very necessary life skill,” Powell said. “They need to learn how to juggle money.”

Elliot Tagtmeier, junior in Business, Pi Kappa Phi member and son of Greg Tagtmeier, said thus far the site has appealed to older students.

“With things like how to buy a house or a car, how to get loans or become a millionaire, people usually don’t learn them in the classroom,” said Elliot, webmaster for the site.

Marcia Callaghan, sophomore in LAS and head of sales for the project, said although the site was created in August 2005, it is still in its “starting stages,” but thanks to a wide range of sponsorship and several publicity campaigns, it is becoming more popular.

Although Tagtmeier and the Financial Awareness Institute created the site to help students with their finances, it also has potential to be a great resource for campus events, global news and local advertising.

Callaghan and Valentinez helped organize several events to promote the site and encourage further sponsorship, which included chalking the Quad and distributing water bottles and fliers at IMPE and CRCE in January.

Campus franchises such as Blimpie Subs, Dominos Pizza, Buffalo Wild Wings and Espresso Royale, among others, collectively sponsor the Web site and offer gift certificates to be included in a weekly online drawing.

Tagtmeier explained that the endorsement of local restaurants not only encourages students to visit the site, but also gives them resources to get through the stresses of everyday campus life, and getting a good deal while they are at it.