Michael is a Financial Planning Ph.D. student from Gary, Indiana. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from LaGrange College in 2005. Michael is actively involved in many extracurricular activities, including the Student Financial Planning Association, the ASPIRE Clinic, Money Dawgs, and is also a Teacher Assistant. Michael took some time to answer some questions about his experience with Financial Planning at UGA:

Why did you decide to pursue a degree in Financial Planning at UGA?

I decided to pursue a degree in financial planning because it's my goal to help build stronger families and communities. Ensuring that families have access to a competent and compassionate financial services professional who abides by a fiduciary standard, despite socio-economic status, is extremely important to me. 

What is your favorite course and why?

My favorite course thus far has been Counseling & Client Communications. During this course, not only do you learn about the financially optimal strategies to help a client work through their financial problems, you learn different counseling methods that will help you better serve the client you are working with. Beyond that, you work collaboratively with a faculty member and your peers to think through how to best serve each of your clients. This approach helps build self-confidence as you are never alone. It also challenges you to recognize your own biases and blind spots, which help you grow professionally.

What are your research interests?

My research interests span from exploring how financial socialization impacts financial decision making to creating and evaluating financial literacy methods that promote the long-term financial well-being of its participants. In addition to that, I am also curious about what motivates and demotivates people from implementing financial recommendations.

What are your plans post-graduation? How do you think your degree in financial planning will help you to achieve those goals?

My plans post-graduation are to either teach or work at a financial planning firm that will allow me the latitude to serve underserved populations in the community in which I live. Financial planning can have a significant impact on all families. And I want to ensure that it does.