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SMMC News & Events Blog
This blog highlights news, events, and informative articles on personal finance from University of Illinois System's Student Money Management Center. Feel free to navigate to different categories with the list of topics on the right or search for a specific topic next to the view all link below.

blog posts

  • Is Crypto the Wild West? with a sunset and silhouettes of saguaro cacti.

    Podcast: Is Crypto the Wild West?

    In episode 78 of Making Cents of Money, Is Crypto the Wild West?, David DeCarlo and Jake Hamilton join us to discuss what regulation does and does not exist for consumers regarding crypto.

  • Episode 77 - Tax Talk with two people speaking to each other over some paperwork.

    Podcast: Tax Talk

    In episode 77 of Making Cents of Money, Tax Talk, Andrea and Nikki talk tax... forms, terms, and more as the April 15 federal tax deadline approaches.

  • What is Crypto Anyway?

    Podcast: What is Crypto Anyway?

    In episode 76 of Making Cents of Money, What is Crypto Anyway?, Jake Hamilton, a previous podcast co-host, comes back to provide an overview of how crypto works and what the future looks like for this financial technology.

  • Podcast: Setting & Prioritizing Financial Goals

    In episode 75 of Making Cents of Money, Setting & Prioritizing Financial Goals, Nikki and Andrea discussed several strategies for setting, prioritizing, and re-prioritizing financial goals... just in time for the new year! 

  • Podcast: Credit Reports Update

    In episode 74 of Making Cents of Money, Credit Reports Update, we had a Consumer Alert! Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion are allowing access to free, weekly credit reports indefinitely now. 

  • Podcast: Loan Payments Resumed in October

    In episode 73 of Making Cents of Money, Loan Payments Resumed in October, we discussed the "on-ramp" to repayment being implemented by the U.S. Department of Education as millions of borrowers started making payments on their federal loans again in October.

  • Podcast: Understanding FAFSA

    In episode 72 of Making Cents of Money, Understanding FAFSA, Beth Groves, Professional Development Specialist from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) talks about major changes to the FAFSA, delays, and its importance for anyone considering post-secondary education.

  • Image with line chart and graph behind white text that reads World Investor Week

    Podcast: World Investor Week

    In episode 71 of Making Cents of Money, World Investor Week, Andrea interviews Alan Sorcher and Anne McKinley from the US Securities & Exchange Commission in honor of World Investor Week on ways investors can learn about securities throughout the year.

  • Magnifying glass over newspaper focusing on Interest Rates with white text that reads "The Impact of Compound Interest"

    Podcast: The Impact of Compound Interest

    In episode 70 of Making Cents of Money, The Impact of Compound Interest, Andrea and Nikki explore the complicated relationship we can have with compound interest when it comes to accomplishing financial goals.

  • Man smiling while holding paycheck. White text reads "Understanding Your Paycheck"

    Podcast: Understanding Your Paycheck

    In episode 69 of Making Cents of Money, Understanding Your Paycheck, Nikki and Andrea talk about something you're bound to love: your paycheck!

  • The Financial Impact of Digital Illiteracy

    Podcast: The Financial Impact of Digital Illiteracy

    In episode 68 of Making Cents of Money, The Financial Impact of Digital Illiteracy, Andrea and Nikki explore the financial implications of digital Illiteracy in our digital age.

  • What's a Credit Report Anyway?

    Podcast: What's a Credit Report Anyway?

    In episode 67 of Making Cents of Money, What's a Credit Report Anyway?, Nikki and Andrea discuss what's in your credit reports and how to get them at AnnualCreditReport.com.

  • Password Managers

    Podcast: Password Managers

    In episode 66 of Making Cents of Money, Password Managers, we explore what password managers are and how they can be leveraged to protect your important information.

  • Podcast: Financial Planner vs AI

    In episode 65 of Making Cents of Money, Financial Planner vs AI, we discuss the pros and cons of using Artificial Intelligence language model, ChatGPT, to answer financial planning questions with the help of Donovan Sanchez, CFP®.

  • Calendar with date circled that says Pay Rent! next to a roll of money

    Podcast: Help for Renters

    In episode 64 of Making Cents of Money, Kari Byer, Director of the APLD & Investigations, joins us again to talk about programs designed to help find and afford renting a place to live.

  • Image of wooden family figurines and house with text "Help for Homeowners"

    Podcast: Help for Homeowners

    In episode 63 of Making Cents of Money, Kari Byer, Director of the APLD & Investigations, joins us to talk about programs designed to help those who may be struggling with initial and ongoing homeownership costs.

  • Image of capital building and stethascope with white text that says "Get Covered, Illinois"

    Podcast: Get Covered, Illinois

    In episode 62 of Making Cents of Money, Brian Gorman, Director of Outreach & Engagement for Get Covered Illinois, answers our questions about managing healthcare costs.

  • sunset with utilities lines and white text that reads "Help with Utilities Bills"

    Podcast: Help with Utility Bills

    In episode 61 of Making Cents of Money, we learn about the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). If you're struggling to pay utilities, apply by May 31!

  • Top of graduation cap with money and words overlaid that say "Return to Repayment UPDATE"

    Podcast: Return to Repayment (Student Loans Update)

    In episode 60 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki talk about the current status of federal student loans and how to prepare for the return to repayment which is expected in the next few months.

  • 2 women in a shop looking at an item together with white text: "Conscious Consumerism"

    Podcast: Conscious Consumerism

    In episode 59 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki discuss the meaning of conscious consumerism and how aligning your spending with your values can make an impact.

  • Image of women with colored powder on them for Diwali with text that reads "Happy International Women's Day"

    Podcast: Happy International Women's Day!

    In episode 58 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki interviewed SMMC's very own Ramya Vaidyanathan about her experience providing financial education to women in India.

  • White piggy bank with text: Investing to Reach Financial Goals

    Podcast: Investing to Reach Financial Goals

    In episode 57 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki interviewed Alan Sorcher and Anne McKinley from the US Securities and Exchange Commission on strategic ways to approach investing to build wealth.

  • Fintech and Digital Assets text on image of hands holding phone with money signs above it

    Podcast: Fintech and Digital Assets

    In episode 56 of Making Cents of Money, David DeCarlo, IDFPR's Regulatory Innovation Officer, discussed what consumers should know about digital assets and regulation in this new era of fintech.

  • Wealth Building as a Balancing Act text over image of hand holding a balanced scale

    Podcast: Wealth Building as a Balancing Act

    In episode 55 of Making Cents of Money, Donovan Sanchez from University of Illinois' Financial Planning program talks about wealth building as a balancing act.

  • Financial Resolutions white text over image of a 2023 flatlay with notebook and coffee

    Podcast: Financial Resolutions!

    In episode 54 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki & Andrea talk about some recent changes in setting new years resolutions and how to make finances part of your goals for 2023.

  • airplane in sky over palm trees

    Podcast: Revisiting Travel

    In episode 53 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea & Nikki discuss a few updates to consider when traveling before re-airing the Time to Travel podcast from July 2021.

  • piggy bank with grad cap on money

    Podcast: Paying for College with Scholarships

    In episode 52 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea talk to special guest, Kara Holloway, Director of Scholarships at UIC, about paying for college with scholarships.

  • phone with credit score on screen & "Credit Scores" text

    Podcast: Credit Scores

    In episode 51 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea discuss some of the ins and outs of credit scores, the credit ecosystem, and building credit to your advantage.

  • Man in front of chalkboard with "start up" written on it & text: Becoming an Entrepreneur

    Podcast: Becoming an Entrepreneur!

    In episode 50 of Making Cents of Money, Steve Bob from UIC Entrepreneurial Support Program joins Andrea and Nikki to discuss what to think about when it comes to starting your own business.

  • Podcast: Dealing with Emergencies

    In episode 49 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea talk about dealing with a financial emergency, not just how to plan but how to recover once an emergency happens.

  • flatlay of stethescope, mobile phone, and clipboard with "Federal Student Loan Forgiveness" text

    Podcast: Federal Student Loan Forgiveness

    In episode 48 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki talk about the differences between the federal student loan cancellation in Biden-Harris Administration's Student Debt Relief Plan and the temporary Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver that has a quickly approaching deadline of October 31st.

  • Chicago skyline with "Community Reinvestment Act" as text overlay

    Podcast: The Community Reinvestment Act

    In episode 47 of Making Cents of Money, Chasse Rehwinkel joined Nikki & Andrea to discuss the Community Reinvestment Act and how it is intended to support economic equality.

  • Podcast: Estate Planning

    In episode 46 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki explain many tools for estate planning, including wills, transfers, power of attorney, and more.

  • Podcast: Selling a Home

    In episode 45 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki discuss many aspects of selling a home so you can make more informed choices when it comes time to sell your own home.

  • Podcast: Shopping for Appliances

    In episode 44 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea talk about shopping for appliances, and they've focused on times when it may be a surprise shopping need!

  • Podcast: Choosing a Credit Card

    In episode 43 of Making Cents of Money, Nikki and Andrea discuss what you may want to consider when it comes to choosing a credit card.

  • Podcast: Credit Access

    In episode 42 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki spoke with Camaya Wallace Bechard from University of Illinois Extension about access to credit, options for building and improving credit, and warning signs to watch out for.

  • Podcast: Student Loan Repayment (update)

    In episode 41 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki discuss some of the big updates on federal student loans that have occured over the past couple months.

  • Podcast: Farewell, Jake!

    In episode 40 of Making Cents of Money, Andrea and Nikki bid farewell to long time co-host, Jake, as he transitions off the podcast and on to the next step in his career!

  • Podcast: Protecting Pets

    In episode 39 of Making Cents of Money, Protecting Pets, Andrea, Jake, and Nikki discuss pet insurance and other ways to handle the financial risk of vet bills for our pets with Presley Fee, Digital Financial Planning Program Coordinator at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

  • Podcast: Mortgages

    In episode 38 of Making Cents of Money, Renting!, Andrea, Jake, and Nikki interview IDFPR's Anti-Predatory Lending Database Director, Kari Beyer, about the ins and outs of mortgages.

  • Podcast: Renting!

    In episode 37 of Making Cents of Money, Renting!, Andrea, Jake, and Nikki discuss the basic steps and what to watch for when renting a place to live.

  • Podcast: Buying a Home!

    In episode 36 of Making Cents of Money, Buying a Home!, Andrea, Jake, and Nikki explain terminology, tools, and the basics steps of buying a home.

  • Podcast: Employment

    In episode 35 of Making Cents of Money, Employment, Andrea, Jake, and Nikki continue the podcast series on economic indicators by discussing metrics related to employment.

  • Podcast: Gross National Happiness

    In episode 34 of Making Cents of Money, Gross National Happiness, Jake and Nikki discuss an alternative metric to Gross Domestic Product that some countries use to help monitor the health of their economies called Gross National Happiness.

  • Podcast: Establishing a Vision for Your Life

    In episode 33 of Making Cents of Money, Establishing a Vision for Your Life, Andrea, Nikki, and Jake talk to Donovan Sanchez, CFP and instructor of financial planning at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign about making meaningful money choices that allow you to live life now and make progress towards the future.

  • Podcast: Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

    In episode 32 of Making Cents of Money, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Andrea, Nikki, and Jake explain Gross Domestic Product as part of an ongoing mini series on economic indicators. 

  • Podcast: Financial Security and Stress

    In episode 31 of Making Cents of Money, Financial Security and Stress, Andrea, Nikki, and Jake talk about statistics related to both financial security and stress and tips to deal with them.

  • Podcast: Inflation

    In episode 30 of Making Cents of Money, Inflation, Jake, Nikki, and Andrea discuss what inflation is as one of many metrics to gauge how an economy is doing and how it impacts our spending power as consumers.

  • Podcast: Tackling Insurance! (Part 2)

    In episode 29 of Making Cents of Money, Tackling Insurance! (Part 2), Nikki and Jake talked with Laura Pellikan from the Illinois Department of Insurance about the basics of health insurance and ways you can get covered.