Financial Well-Being

April is Financial Literary MonthFinancial literacy is the ability to confidently understand concepts including saving, investing, and debt that leads to an overall sense of financial well-being and self-trust (Experian, 2021).

Every year we partner with various departments around campus and in the community to create MONEY SMART DAY, a virtual and now in-person annual financial literacy conference to help you find financial balance in your life.

Stayed Tuned For More Information for the 3rd Annual Money Smart Day in April 2023!


2nd Annual Money Smart Day

The 2nd annual Money Smart Day took place in a hybrid setting across all three Mason campuses (Fairfax, Arlington, and Sci-Tech) on April 13, 2022. This event was free and open to students, staff, faculty, alumni, and all other members of the Mason community.  Presentation recordings and slides are now available.

Money Smart Day 2022 Sessions: 

All Campuses FWB Tabling (in-person) 9:30 - 11 AM EST

This was an in-person and informational only session. At the the Fairfax, Arlington or Sci Tech campuses you learned about the events going on throughout the day for Money Smart Day. In addition, we had free giveaways for you to take with you.

Fairfax Campus location: Johnson Center KIOSK B
Arlington Campus location: Auditorium room 134 in Van Metre Hall
Sci Tech Campus location: First Floor Atrium in Katherine Johnson Hall

Financial Well-Being Coffee Chat (virtual) 9:30 - 10 AM EST

Grab your coffee, tea or water and come join us for a morning coffee chat around financial well-being. This event had no formal presentation, but rather a discussion about financial well-being and how it impacts our daily lives. This was an icebreaker discussion format to get Money Smart Day started.

For the Health of It: Health Insurance 101(in-person & virtual) 10 - 11 AM EST

Click here to view the slides for this presentation,

Health insurance can often seem like a daunting matter, filled with jargon and loopholes. In this session, we discussed the basics of health insurance, defined common terms used, and explored options for enrollment.

Presenter: Nour Alamiri, MPH, CHES®
Nour Alamiri is the Health & Well-Being Coordinator at Student Health Services. Her role serves to promote the health and well-being of the Mason student community through education, programs, and outreach. Nour received a Master of Public Health (MPH) and Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Bioethics from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Throughout her professional career, Nour has worked in health education and community health outreach with vulnerable and marginalized populations. As a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), she is passionate about making well-being accessible and attainable to all people, regardless of background or circumstance.

How to Have a Financial Discussion (virtual) 11 AM - 12 PM EST

Click here to view the slides for this presentation.

Financial conversations are important and sometimes complex! This presentation covered some basic information about finances, boundary setting, and how to have healthy conversations about money with friends and family. Participants also had the opportunity to practice and explore having these conversations through role plays.

Presenter: Caitlyn Largent, M.Ed. (she/her/hers)
Caitlyn Largent is the Assistant Director for Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Prevention and Response at the Student Support and Advocacy Center. She is an alum of George Mason University, where she graduated in 2019 with an M.Ed. in Counseling and Development. As part of her role in SSAC, Caitlyn serves as a confidential advocate to survivors and implements prevention efforts around financial abuse and the other ways finances intersect in relationships.
Presenter: Shannon Osborne, MA
Shannon Osborne is the Assistant Director for Financial Well-Being in the Student Support and Advocacy Center. She has over 14 years of Financial Aid experience, but has focused most of her career on financial literacy and well-being for students. She received a Master of Arts in Financial Communication from Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis and a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Indiana University. She is currently working on a 2nd Master of Arts in Global Community Engagement from University of Denver in order to help all students navigate an understanding of finances.

Buying a Home as a First-Time Buyer (in-person & virtual) 12 - 1 PM EST


Click here to view the slides for this presentation.

This analytical talk covered the entire home-buying process with details tailored for first-time buyers. Unique ideas  debunk popular myths and included: (1) finding the perfect home, (2) critical details for online property searching, (3) secrets of beating other buyers to win your home of choice, (4) information much more revealing than "days on the market”, (5) the bold truth on automated values (e.g., Zestimate), and (6) smart negotiating. We discussed how to help you buy a home with less stress and receive market information months ahead of others since information is power.

Presenter: David Rathgeber
David Rathgeber is a top award-winning Realtor actively engaged in the sale and marketing of residential real estate in Northern Virginia. His comments appear in national news and on TV. David’s books have been serialized by leading newspapers and incorporate three decades of real estate experience along with his diverse technical and international business background. His negotiating experience includes management of contract negotiations for Mobil Oil Corporation, and negotiations with major labor unions for Owens-Corning Fiberglas. David holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master of Business Administration.

Salary Negotiation (in-person & virtual) 1:30 - 2:30 PM EST

Click here to view the slides for this presentation.

Salary is an important consideration for any job seeker. In this workshop we focused on how you can find salary data, develop a salary range, and confidently negotiate your salary and benefits. We also discussed how employers feel about the negotiation process and strategies you can use to navigate the negotiation process.

Presenter: Dorothy Hayden, MA, APTD
Dorothy Hayden is the Industry Advisor with Mason’s University Career Services who assists students pursuing careers in Engineering, Manufacturing, Cyber Security, Consulting, and Retail Management. Dorothy has worked with thousands of jobseekers through her work in Career Services and volunteering for non-profit organizations supporting survivors of domestic violence and veterans. As a first-generation college graduate, Dorothy is passionate about making career education accessible. This led her to begin taking courses in Learning Design Technology here at Mason. Dorothy will graduate with a Master of Science in Learning Design Technology this May.

Investment 101 (virtual) 3 - 4 PM EST

Click here to view the slides for this presentation.

Learning how to start investing can be overwhelming. In this session you heard experts in the investment world go back through history to show why investing is so important. The presenters discussed how investing is a long-term venture and why it is important to start early, have discipline, and be patient. Learn about a variety of different investment options, with an emphasis on using stocks to guard against inflation.

Presenter: William H. Bunn, CFA.
William ‘Bill’ Bunn is currently retired as of 2018 after working 26.5 years with Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc. in Cincinnati. Ohio. Duties included both investment grade and high yield bond analyst. As well as equity analyst for the forest products, telecommunications, energy and utility industries. Prior to Fort Washington he worked as a utility and telecommunications bond ratings analyst for Standard & Poor's (NYC) and as a utility lending officer for The Chase Manhattan Bank. Bill received a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Administration from Bowling Green State University, OH. He then went on to receive a Master of Business Administration from The University of Virginia.

Presenter: Thomas L. Finn, CFA.
Thomas "Tom" Finn joined Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc. in 2002 and the Private Client Group in 2007. He currently serves as a Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager. Tom has been managing investment portfolios since 1991. Prior to joining Fort Washington, he was a Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager with Provident Bank, and prior to that, he was a Financial Advisor with Legg Mason. Tom received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Georgetown University, and a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Xavier University, and is a CFA charterholder. Tom is very active in the community, serving as a board member for CISE, Springer School, and St. Rita School for the Deaf. He is also Vice President and board member for Cincinnati Foundation for the Aged, Member of the Board of Trustees for Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, and a Fatherhood Committee Member at Talbert House.

Presenter: William T. Sena, Jr. CFA, CFP
William ‘Bill’ Sena has been in the investment counseling business for 27 years. Bill is also an alum of Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc. Currently he works as a portfolio manager with Osborn, Williams & Donohoe (a Hightower Advisors company) located in Cincinnati, OH. Bill works closely with high-net-worth individuals and their families as their investment manager and, when needed, and provides financial planning services. Before that, Bill worked for eight years as a commercial banker in Detroit, MI. Bill received a Bachelor of Arts from DePauw University and a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University.

Student Loan Repayments Begin Again (virtual) 4:30 - 5:30 PM EST

Click here to view the slides for this presentation.

On September 1, 2022, student loan repayments will begin again. Are you ready? Navigating and setting up your student loan repayments after graduation can be confusing, but it does not have to be. This presentation focused primarily on federal direct student loan repayments, while also briefly discussed private loans and Perkins loans. In addition, we discussed all loan forgiveness options as well as Public Service Loan Forgiveness and how to set up an income driven repayment plan. We also discussed how COVID-19 has impacted student loan repayments currently and in the future. Attendees ended the session with the confidence and ability to get started, or continue, on a path to successful student loan repayments.

Presenter: Shannon Osborne, MA
Shannon Osborne is the Assistant Director for Financial Well-Being in the Student Support and Advocacy Center at Mason. She has over 14 years of Financial Aid experience, but has focused most of her career on financial literacy and well-being for students. She received her Master of Arts in Financial Communication from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and a Bachelor of Arts in Telecommunications from Indiana University. She also recently completed her 2nd Master of Arts in Global Community Engagement from University of Denver which enables her to help all students navigate an understanding of finances.

Financial Planning Basics (virtual) 6 - 7 PM EST

Click here to view the slides for this presentation.

This session took participants through foundational financial planning concepts, breaking finances down into 5 considerations: Save, Spend, Grow, Protect and Give.  We covered budgeting, types of debt, and goal setting. We showed how the ongoing process of risk management, wealth accumulation, and wealth preservation and distribution, can help create a lifetime of financial security.  This session was accessible to all ages and stages of financial and investing knowledge.

Presenter: Nicole Macdonald
Nicole ‘Nikki’ Macdonald is a Financial Advisor, running a comprehensive financial planning practice partnered with Northwestern Mutual.  Taking 13+ years of experience in sales and client success in tech and data analytics, Nikki did a career pivot to pursue her dream of helping people achieve their goals and dreams for themselves and their families (through data-driven decision making!).  She is passionate about bringing access to comprehensive financial planning, accountability, and inspiration especially for women, families, and business owners.  Nikki holds her Series 7 and Series 63 securities registrations with FINRA. In addition, she holds various state licenses for Life, Health, Long-term Care, and Variable Annuity. Nikki received her Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the University of Virginia.

Financial Funhouse (in-person) 7 - 10 PM EST

Enter if you dare! Learn how to handle your finances through games and other activities in the Financial Fun House! Join Patriots Activities Council (PAC) and many other departments around campus on Money Smart Day in understanding what financial well-being means and learn about the different ways to deal with money in a healthy way. This was an in-person only outdoor event held on Johnson Center East Plaza on the Fairfax campus. If there is rain the location will change to Hub Ballroom.


To view recorded presentations from past years' Money Smart Day events, visit

Money Smart Day 2022 would not be possible without the support from various campus partners:

Student Health Services | University Career Services | Center for the Advancement of Well-Being | Student Government | University Life, Arlington | Division of University Life, Sci-Tech Campus | Student Success Coaching | Contemporary Student Services | Student Involvement