Money talks with the chaplain
September 9, 2014
In her role as University Chaplain, Kate Johnson offers students advice, support and counselling during challenging times. One issue that comes up again and again for students is money. It’s for that reason she’s decided to start hosting workshops on financial literacy.
“Students are under huge commercial pressures and are advertised to more than ever,” says Ms. Johnson. “A lot of students lack financial literacy and can find themselves in debt; having the words to talk about these things helps you deal with them before problems arise.”
Consulting with three different financial planners, Ms. Johnson has created a workshop that discusses budgeting, money management, online tools for planning and how to identify and spend according to one’s values.
“The role of the chaplain should be concerned with helping people’s whole lives, not just the religious or spiritual side,” she says. “Asking people what’s important to them and how their spending can match those values can help set them on the right path. Beginning adulthood is much easier when you’re on sound financial footing.”
Having recovered herself from significant debt accrued while a student, Ms. Johnson wants students to know the workshops will be non-judgemental. “I’ve seen students manage meagre finances well but still end up in trouble and I’ve seen those with means but who have never been offered the skills to deal with their money responsibly. In any event, being intentional about spending can set students up for better financial health in the long-run.
The workshops can be tailored to run between one and two hours in length, depending on the depth of interest in the values component. Workshops are available to student groups who request them, with Ms. Johnson currently scheduled to do talks with the School of Graduate Studies and Residence Life.
She is also offering a 30-minute workshop on grief response that’s aimed at Queen’s staff and campus first responders. “Financial literacy and grief response are two topics that I feel need a more prominent place in campus dialogue and I’m happy to discuss them wherever I’m invited.”
More information can be found on the Chaplain’s website.