New partnership provides Texas Tech students real-world experience.
Written by Callie Jones
Texas Tech University’s Personal Financial Planning (PFP) department, housed in the College of Human Sciences, has partnered with NewRetirement.com for a unique opportunity that allows PFP students to answer retirement-related questions asked by users of the site.
Students do not give advice pertaining to individual situations, but rather answer questions that require retirement-related knowledge with the help of Eric Sawyer, a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) and director of planning for the PFP department.
“Our partnership with NewRetirement is a win for everyone involved, including the public,” Sawyer said. “Since our students’ goals are academic and we are not in a position to be hired by clients or sell financial products, the public is getting the most unbiased answers possible. Students, by definition, will have a heightened sense of responsibility toward someone who they know has posed a question with real consequences as opposed to the fictitious character created within a textbook case study.”
The partnership came about when John Salter, an associate professor in the PFP department, met Steve Chen, the CEO at NewRetirement, during a conference.
“It turned out that we had similar views around the need to deliver holistic retirement guidance in a scalable way to meet the needs of the 75 million baby boomers and 35 million current retirees,” Chen said. “Together we came up with the initiative to have Texas Tech PFP students help answer real-world questions from NewRetirement users.”
Salter said the partnership will strengthen Texas Tech’s presence in the realm of financial planning, as NewRetirement has a strong presence online and in the media. Furthermore, students giving answers are gaining expertise they may not receive elsewhere.
“Our students are excited that we can and do bring opportunities like this to them,” Sawyer said. “They are constantly looking for real-world experience to put into practice what they learn in the classroom.”
Sawyer notes that despite not giving advice like a CFP® is licensed to, students understand that taking the knowledge they learn in the PFP program and applying it to someone’s real financial needs takes an increased level of awareness and caring that they must develop to succeed.
Ultimately, the partnership helps expand the site’s Q&A database, which is optimized for search engines like Google. Texas Tech student responses will be available for larger audiences as the database grows.
“Texas Tech’s PFP program has a national recognition among the financial planning profession in part because of the rigorous and comprehensive approach we take to providing the knowledge and resources students need to succeed,” Sawyer said. “But not only that, we encourage and facilitate collaboration among students, professors and financial service professionals from around the country. Part of being a good financial planner is being aware of the resources that exist and knowing how to access them in order to provide proper guidance to those seeking help.”