Photo courtesy of Entrepreneur Club 

By Alexis Savary

When it comes to the topic of finances, many students do not know where to begin. This is especially true when discussions shift towards topics of debt management and investing opportunities. On Wednesday, Feb. 26, NU’s Entrepreneur Club brought in Alison Mandi to discuss the role of a financial advisor as well as some advice on personal finances.

Mandi is a financial advisor at RBC Wealth Management, a mother to three young sons, as well as a co-coach with her husband Mark for the NU cross country and track and field teams. Mandi graduated from the University of Washington in 2006 and soon began her career in the realm of financial planning and investing. Mandi’s career started in the role of a receptionist and delved deeper into the field through networking and experience.

Mandi shared about her heart and vision for her work in financial advising, which she explained is focused on helping individuals to confidently manage their resources well.

“Where my vision and my heart is is really to be able to empower and equip professionals, and families, and retirees to be able to steward their God-given resources, assets, and even their time well,” Mandi said.

Mandi began her discussion on financial planning through a basic question: what do you do with your money when you start earning a paycheck? Through this question, she explained the first thing anyone should do when learning to manage their resources is to create a budget. With this budget, individuals should learn how to live at or below their means, which essentially means they are not spending more than they are earning. This lifestyle encourages people to avoid debt and to be intentional with their spending habits. Mandi also commented on the topics of saving, giving and debt repayment, which she explained should be emphasized in the budgeting step.

Mandi’s presentation continued with emphasis on investing, goal identification and understanding risk tolerance. Beginning with the topic of investing, Mandi explained some of the basic elements of investing, such as inflation and compounding, and she emphasized the importance of investing early due to the potential growth of the investment.

When deciding how to invest, Mandi explained it is vital for one to determine what their goals are so they can identify proper investment opportunities to work towards these set goals. Some of the most common goals of financial planning and investment include retirement, education, special purchases and financial security.

Mandi also spoke on the topic of risk tolerance, which can be defined as one’s ability to absorb loss in an investment plan. Essentially, this would refer to the amount of risk someone is willing to take for a potential investment opportunity. Risk tolerance can be divided into three categories—aggressive, moderate, and conservative. Each category represents its own pros and cons, but typically, higher risk situations represent larger opportunities for profit.

The evening concluded with a time of Q & A, which allowed students to ask specific questions about next steps in financial planning, the impact of careers and jobs, different investment opportunities as well as credit card usage.

Morgan Nash, a junior Management major, commented on the Q & A session at the end of the event, which she explained was one of her favorite parts of the event.

“I got a lot of insight from other people’s questions because it allowed me to think about topics and questions that I didn’t realize I had,” Nash said.