You probably think about your physical health and your mental health, but how often do you think about your financial health?

Ironically, your financial health directly impacts your physical and mental health. Poor financial footing can cause enormous stress and is the second most common reason for students to leave college.

To help College of Charleston students ease their financial concerns and overcome barriers to reaching their career goals, the Career Center is launching the Financial Wellness Initiative (FWI) on Nov. 8, 2021, in support of the College’s strategic plan.

Set up by Jim Allison, executive director of the College’s Career Center, and Michael Lee, an MBA candidate and Career Center graduate assistant, FWI will offer students support and resources through members of the Charleston community and iGrad, a software program designed specifically for universities.

“I’m really excited about this new initiative,” says Allison. “Finances have proven to be a hinderance for students when pursuing internships and career goals. Being able to give students an understanding about financial decision making and how to make wise financial decisions will enable them to better navigate their college career and academic progression.”

Allison emphasizes that in order to get the most out of the program, students should take advantage of FWI their first year at the College. That way, they have a foundation upon which to make smart financial decisions throughout their time at CofC and throughout their careers.

For Lee, being involved in the project has given him the opportunity to work with local financial institutions that will serve as resources for students.

“The financial institutions are excited about the opportunity to develop long-term relationships while demonstrating that they are good corporate citizens,” explains Lee, who worked at South State Bank as a personal banker before coming to the College.

Thanks to Allison and Lee, Truist, JPMorgan Chase & Co., CommonWealth and Wells Fargo are on board to serve as resources for students.

For the FWI launch, financial institutions and the Career Center will be in Cougar Mall from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. to share information about the program and answer questions about the iGrad software, which is accessible from a desktop computer or mobile phone. From 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., representatives from the partner financial institutions will take part in an event via Zoom to talk about the resources they have and how they will be working with FWI. Students can access the event through the Financial Wellness meeting registration form.

In the spring, Lee will serve as an advisor for students, but this fall he has learned the ins and outs about students’ financial needs and the work it takes to launch a new initiative.

“I gained perspective on student life and student needs,” he says. “It’s exciting to launch something like the Financial Wellness Initiative and get momentum going.”

To learn more about the Financial Wellness Initiative, the kick-off events on Nov. 8 and upcoming workshops, visit the Financial Wellness website.