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About The Center for Financial Responsibility

The financial service industry has undergone tremendous change with respect to the quality and quantity of service delivered at the consumer level. Changing governmental, social, economic and demographic forces have dictated the need for professional assistance in meeting personal and family financial goals. The CFR has seen a dramatic increase in the number of stories in the national media emphasizing the coming social and political disaster regarding the lack of knowledge and planning for retirement.

The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Money, Forbes, Fortune and numerous electronic media organizations others have presented information regarding squandering of lump sum distributions, lack of any retirement savings, lack of knowledge of amount needed to retire as well as where to obtain professional help to calculate needs (current research shows "friends and relatives" as the main source of information).

“Texas Tech has created financial planning educational opportunities that no other university can duplicate,” said Bill Gustafson, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Financial Responsibility. “We are taking the lead in educating for future financial success with the center.” Working with professionals in the field is one of the important goals of the center, he said. “We wanted to designate the center for that purpose of helping professionals with their retirement decisions.”

By developing information and assistance packages for teachers and education personnel in Texas, the center researchers are encouraging people to seek out financial guidance, he said. The center targets teachers in Texas, particularly those who qualify with the Teachers Retirement System. “The spending behavior by teachers is an interesting aspect to research. How teachers allocate their money and plan for their future is what we are trying to find out,” said Gustafson.

The center researchers also conduct focus groups that provide some answers to questions, such as what financial assistance is needed regarding planning for the future. The center personnel want to make approaching a financial service professional easy, said Gustafson. One of the largest concerns with adults when thinking about retirement is their debt management. “How am I going to manage my debt and save for the future? How can I pay for my children’s college? These questions and many more can turn hair gray,” said Gustafson. A recent study by the Center for Financial Responsibility showed that 71.5 percent of students in college today own at least one credit card. The study showed the average balance on those credit cards is $1,700. . . . The survey also showed that less than 50 percent of student credit users pay credit card bills in full. That can mean a large portion of a minimum payment to keep the bill current goes for finance charges and does not really reduce the debt."

As life span increases because of improved (but much more costly) health care and the "baby boom" advances toward retirement, sound financial planning will be the main strategy for avoiding what now appears to be a developing crisis. By helping to plan for adequate private funding of retirement, providing risk coverage for serious health problems, and funding of college expenses for children, financial planners are contributing to both national and family economic security. Financial planning has a domino effect. If a consumer can saturate one area, the change will flow into the next, and eventually becomes a cycle of responsible planning, said Gustafson. “You can have it done by you, for you, or to you, but financial planning you will do,” he said.

Financial planning is as cyclical as life. First, we undergo a birth; last, we face death; and in between, we live a full life. For every time period, people have a certain financial concern. Researchers in the Center for Financial Responsibility are turning the life cycle into a lucrative financial future of rest and comfort.