Martiara Boyd

SFEPD Student Ambassador (2021-24)
North Carolina A&T State University
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois

Growing up, what kind of relationship did you have with money?

I have been interested in learning how to manage money since I was young. My grandmother, who helped raise me, went to college but struggled financially to make ends meet. Seeing her struggle inspired me to ensure I would not get into a vulnerable financial situation. My parents were in a better place financially and able to help me with college, but by the time I was a junior, I was able to fund my college education with scholarships!

What was it like to serve as an SFEPD Student Ambassador teaching your peers about personal finance, and what did you learn about yourself from this experience?

When I started college at North Carolina A&T State University, I had not learned skills to manage my money well. I was excited and nervous when I was first accepted to be a Student Ambassador. I was nervous because I hated public speaking but excited because I love learning about personal finance. SFEPD was the first organization that I joined, and it made me feel passionate about the educational work I would do as an Ambassador. To give context on how the program works, the first step to learning about personal finance is a required financial literacy course. The SFEPD course goes through personal finance topics that everyone needs. SFEPD teaches classes on topics such as debt, credit, investing, and home ownership. I have served as an SFEPD Student Ambassador since my sophomore year in college. It has been a great experience for me!

As a Student Ambassador, I have completed practical professional development tasks to help me improve my professional image. The requirements included preparing my resume, taking a professional headshot, and establishing a LinkedIn profile. It was exciting to give presentations to my peers! Though I was nervous at first, I grew more confident with time. I have done virtual and in-person budgeting, credit, and debt management presentations. Teaching classes to my peers has improved my presentation skills and helped me develop leadership skills in college. As a Student Ambassador, I can say that this program has made me a better presenter and truly changed my life for the better!

What are the major benefits of students learning personal finance skills through seminars and classes during their college years?

A major benefit of students taking personal finance classes during their college years is that once students graduate and enter the professional world, they have a much better sense of how to budget their money. A lot of college students graduate and earn big salaries without knowing anything about money management! Without this skill, college graduates often acquire debt that takes forever to pay off. If students learn personal finance skills in college, they can avoid getting into debt. SFEPD teaches how to use credit cards carefully and helps students understand how to manage their money.

When should students start learning basic concepts about personal finance (in elementary, middle school, high school, or college) and why?

I believe students should start learning about personal finance in high school because this is usually the time when they get their first jobs or have a real use for money. This would also teach students to better manage their money and expenses throughout college and avoid being “a broke college student!”

If you could share one financial tip with college students, what would it be?

If you get a refund as a college student, such as a tuition overage at the beginning of each semester, it is important to save as much of it as possible! Do not take that extra money and spend it in a week. Budget how you will use it and put some of it in savings. You never know what can happen that will cause you to need money later!

As a result of your Student Ambassador experience, what key lessons did you learn to help you manage your money better and is planning for your financial future an important goal after college?

One of the most important lessons I learned is the knowledge to create an emergency fund. I have seen people lose their jobs and have a hard time affording the essentials. I learned that planning early could save you from headaches and hardship later. I now understand I need to have a financial plan in place after college and this will help me avoid the stress of not having money for emergencies.

How did serving as a Student Ambassador and an SFEPD Student Assistant help you prepare for your future and your career goals?

As an SFEPD Student Assistant, I learned to work on programs directly impacting college students and how an educational nonprofit is run. My responsibilities included outreach to my peers, teaching them about financial literacy, and contributing to staff meetings as a college student. SFEPD helped me to understand how to navigate what will be expected of me in the working world and improved my communication skills. The Student Ambassador Program helped me prepare for the future by giving me a basic understanding of personal finance and professionalism. I learned public speaking and presentation skills to make me more competitive in the job market. A basic understanding of personal finance has allowed me to learn more about financial planning and grow a love for teaching and helping people, including my peers, with their finances. After I graduate, I will work as a wealth analyst for a bank in North Carolina and explore entrepreneurial opportunities! I will enter the professional world with confidence and a commitment to being fiscally responsible!

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