Financial Life Skills: Be Prepared for the Transition

Picture of Financial Markets trailer.

You learn essential life skills about money and finances that you don’t really learn about from your parents or elsewhere.

-Current Financial Life Skills student

Do you know the difference between a 401(k) and a 403(b)? What kind of health insurance might be the best option at your first job? How much life insurance should you buy…and why? What the heck is flex spending? The Consumer Science Department in the School of Human Ecology, with generous funding from the UW Credit Union, has launched a “Financial Life Skills” Course for UW-Madison freshmen and sophomores or for juniors and seniors preparing to transition to market or graduate school, enrollment for spring semester is underway now.

“This is a financial class that teaches you the basics of skills you would need in the future. It covers everything from leasing to credit cards and how to budget your money. It is really helpful because it covers financial stuff that your parents have most likely taken care of for you in the past, but you will need to do in your future,” states a current student.

In this class students cover topics such as:

  • Financial Challenges
  • Your Money and Your Mind
  • Understanding Your Future Paycheck
  • Cash Management
  • Student Loans and Auto Loans
  • Managing Debt
  • Auto and Homeowners Insurance
  • Life and Disability Insurance
  •  Auto: New vs Used/Own vs Lease
  • Housing: Own vs rent
  • Employer Sponsored Benefits
  • Income Taxes
  • Saving for Retirement
  • Health Insurance
  •  Life Events
  •  Money and Family

Students will learn more about financial basics and making decisions during their university lives as well as steps towards how to set their financial lives on solid ground for the future.

CS 111: Financial Life Skills for Undergraduates

CS 321: Financial Life Skills for Life After Graduation

To enroll go to MyUW Course Guide tab and search for “financial life.”  Freshmen and Sophomores select CS111. Juniors and Seniors select CS321.

For more information, visit our webpage or contact SAA at or call (608) 262-2608.


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