Wednesday, June 6th: Seminar Day #3- Personal Finance

Created by Ashley Pinney, bridges in NYC Coordinator

The focus of today was personal finance and financial literacy. 2009 alumna Karen Hartshorn spoke to the students on a variety of topics including creating a budget, Roth IRAs, 401Ks, and insurance. Karen did a great job of breaking everything down for students as finance can be a difficult topic to understand.

Karen has a 7 points Personal Finance Checklist that she shared with the group. These are: 1) Set up a budget on MS Excel…write down everything you spend/earn. 2) Sign up for benefits at work 3) Stop getting a large tax refund 4) Contribute to your 401 (k) up to the company match 5) Set up an 8-month emergency fund 6) Savings accounts: consider joining a credit union 7) Contribute to your Roth IRA every year

Karen talking to students about how to create a budget

All students were given a copy of Suze Orman’s book, The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke. Karen recommended this book as it is comprehensive read.

After lunch we headed to midtown to eat at Ellen’s Stardust Diner. There, all the wait-staff are aspiring actresses/actors and they sing in between serving their tables. Alexandra was serenaded by our waiter, Kenton. She was such a trooper!

After lunch we headed to 59th and Lexington Ave to Bloomberg where we meet a 2006 alum named Chris Mason. Chris has lived in NYC for 6 years and provided good insight into how much things actually cost.

Chris explaining how he budgets his money

In addition to the great information, we got a tour of Bloomberg and actually took an elevator up with the CEO (although we didn’t know it at the time!) There were a few snack-bar stations where all the food and drinks were free! We took an elevator up to the 29th floor and had a great view of the city below.


One thing about Elon that I really love is their supportive alumni. Today wouldn’t have been possible (really this whole week) if it hadn’t been for alumni like Karen and Chris. They are an asset to the program.

Chris with the group