Center for Financial Wellness (CFW) seeks to promote and provide education on financial literacy to the University of Washington Tacoma student body and our community to help them achieve financial security.
The mission of CFW is to serve our diverse student body by providing them with an opportunity to gain a solid understanding of what it means to manage money personally and professionally. We seek to equip our students with relevant financial skills and concepts necessary for them to attain upward mobility, save money, create wealth and assist them with managing their wealth as they accumulate it.
Furthermore, we seek opportunities to partner with our community to further Milgard School of Business mission of “community engagement while promoting social responsibility.”
Executive Speaker Panel
Recorded October 28th, 2021
Watch the ZOOM recording of our Milgard Executive Speaker Panel discussing: "Making Your Money Work for You"
Stay tuned for Upcoming Financial Workshops, Classes and Speaker Series.
Financial Literacy - We All Have Our Journey
As I reflect upon my own financial journey, I see many mistakes I made along the way. I am a first generation immigrant and I grew up in South Tacoma. Like many immigrant families, my parents worked long hours to provide the basics. They spoke very little English and had difficulty navigating their world around them. Therefore, my siblings and I learned how to do things on our own. We did not have much in many ways, but I grew up in a very supportive environment and we were taught the value of a college education.
I went to University of Washington in Seattle and graduated with a business degree in finance. When I look back at my early career days, I did not give any thought to money management. Many, if not all, of my money decisions were unguided. I did not have a budget or a spending plan to save for important events in my life. From time to time, I was late paying bills incurring late fees and interest, carrying balances on my credit cards, and had difficulty when I was faced with an unexpected bill. I lived paycheck to paycheck. In addition, I did not plan for my future, retirement. I just assumed that as I made more money, those things will take care of itself. Well, it does not.
What I learned along the way is that we need to be intentional about how we manage our money and save for things that are important to us. I learned about the importance of paying bills on time to keep my credit score healthy, aggressively paying down debt, not carrying a credit card balance, and having a college savings fund and retirement planning.
My interest in financial literacy began when my children were young. I read as much as I can on the internet about financial literacy so that I can learn and teach my children to manage money wisely. This led me to volunteer in a non-profit organization teaching financial literacy to young adults in high schools and community colleges. In addition, I had an opportunity to teach budgeting and managing credit courses to formerly incarcerated persons re-entering the workforce, which was an incredible learning experience for me. I learned about the challenges and barriers they have to overcome just to establish credit and open a bank account.
I am an Assistant Teaching Professor of Finance at the Milgard School of Business, University of Washington Tacoma since 2020. I am also the Principal of the Financial Literacy Initiative. I earned my MAcc from the University of Washington Tacoma in 2018. Here at the center we aim to equip our students with the financial knowledge and skills to make better money decisions, early in their career, so that they can achieve financial security and freedom to pursue things that are important to them and to give back to the society with their time, talent, and treasures.
Hui Suk So, Principal, Financial Literacy Initiative
Dr. Fei Leng, Principal, Wealth Creation Initiative
Wealth Creation - The Next Step
I joined the University of Washington at Tacoma in 2006 as finance faculty. Over my career, I have taught a number of undergraduate- and graduate-level finance courses, including Business Finance, Intermediate Business Finance, Financial Markets and Institutions, Finance and Investment, Portfolio Management, Derivatives, and Entrepreneurial Finance. Students asked me various interesting questions, such as, should I take the CFA or CFP exam, does a master’s degree help my finance career, how do I find a job in the investment industry? I realize that some students want to invest not just for themselves but also for clients. They are really serious about wealth creation and hope to become investment professionals. They need more than the theories and models that standard finance courses teach. They also want to learn about the practical side to start an investment career, such as credentials, familiarity with real-time financial data, coding skills, relevant experience, networking opportunities, career advising, etc. This is exactly what the Center for Financial Wellness is for. One purpose of the center is to take the students from financial literacy to the next level, which we call the wealth creation level. I am excited to lead this initiative.
I am an Associate Professor of Finance at the Milgard School of Business, University of Washington Tacoma. I am also the Principal of the Wealth Creation Initiative. I earned my Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Tennessee in 2006. I was an assistant professor of Finance at UW Tacoma from 2006 to 2013, and have been an associate professor of Finance since 2013. Besides teaching, I also do academic research in finance. My research has focused on the areas of corporate finance and investments. I have published articles in the Financial Management, Financial Analysts Journal, Journal of Business Finance and Accounting, Financial Review, among others. I have been a charterholder of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) since 2005 and a certified Financial Risk Manager (FRM) since 2007.