Financial Planning

Personal Financial Planning and Debt Management

When it comes to personal financial planning many people ask, "why should I care?"

There are important reasons to care about personal financial planning:

  • Will you qualify for the best car or home loan rates?
  • Will you get the best insurance rates?
  • Will you make good financial decisions when starting your career?
  • Will you outlive your retirement funds?

Learning to manage your finances will help you keep your debt levels down and improve your credit history to better ensure you receive the best prices on financial products such as insurance and loans. You will also be prepared to start early in your career to prepare for major financial commitments in the future such as buying a house, investing for your children's college expenses, and planning for a comfortable retirement.

Look for opportunities to learn more about financial management. In the meantime we have prepared a few tips and list resources to help you get started.

Do you have a debt emergency or need personal finance help?

Sometimes people take on more debt than they feel they can handle: your credit cards are maxed out; you have relied too much already on parents, friends, or relatives; and creditors are sending you late notices and leaving phone messages. What can you do?

  1. Review the consumer protection information on the Washington State Office of the Attorney General. Start with the help page titled Coping with Debt. The information on this page will give you a starting point for getting your debt issue resolved. The page includes a link to credit counseling organizations which may be a helpful resource to you.  Check with your local bank or credit union which may have staff on hand available work with you to resolve credit problems or provide credit counseling help.
  2. Consult the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial. Ample personal finance information is available there. 
  3. Actively engage to learn more about personal financial planning by taking a class here at Western or attending workshops. The College of Business and Economics occasionally offers two classes that are well-suited for non-business majors to learn important personal finance concepts: Personal Finance and Personal Investments. Course descriptions for these classes are in the Western Washington University Catalog
  4. The Whatcom Dream offers financial education courses for debt management, budgeting and setting financial goals.