Megan is a PhD student from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology, and also has her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition to her studies, she serves as the President of the Financial Therapy Association. She took the time to answer a few questions about her experience with UGA Financial Planning.
Why did you decide to pursue a degree in financial planning at the University of Georgia?
UGA's Financial Planning program is consistently one of the top-rated programs in the country. The faculty here embrace new ideas and are on the cutting edge of innovative research and practice. With its prestige, alongside its focus on behavioral financial planning and interdisciplinary opportunities, it was the ideal choice for furthering my education.
What is your favorite class and why?
I see so much growth and development through the Clinical Practicum in Financial Planning (FHCE 7205) and Financial Counseling and Client Communication (FHCE 7200). These course experiences involve direct work with clients and offer important insights into assisting vulnerable populations, as well as handling the human and emotional sides of planning work.
What are your research interests?
I have a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and this background definitely informs my research within financial planning. Generally, I am very interested in the emotional side of money and validating the practice of financial therapy - which is a process that helps people think, feel, and behave differently with money as a way to improve overall well-being. I am also concentrating my current research efforts on couple financial communication.
What are your plans post-graduation? How do you think your degree in financial planning will help you to achieve those goals?
My ambition is to work as both an academic professional and a practitioner. I hope to continue promoting the work of financial therapists and to educate students in financial planning about the importance of "soft" skills: communication and navigating the emotional and behavioral complexities that arise in the planning process.
What are some extra-curricular activities that you are involved in?
Along with being a Ph.D. student, I also work full-time as the ASPIRE Clinic Coordinator. I feel strongly that this experiential learning opportunity through ASPIRE is one that inspires students and grows their self-confidence and awareness. Working directly one-on-one with clientele from the community absolutely accelerates student learning and synthesis of classroom content and technical knowledge. Working in a unique, interdisciplinary environment also gives you the great opportunity to interface with and lean from other collaborative professionals in-training. The ASPIRE Clinic experience is truly rewarding.