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Professor Matthew Lester.

Empowering students to prepare for financial challenges they will face as graduates was the goal of a lifestyle presentation delivered by financial planning specialist, Professor Matthew Lester, on behalf of Sanlam at a recent Student Chapter meeting on the Howard College campus.

The meeting was co-ordinated by the Alumni Relations Office of UKZN’s Corporate Relations Division and was attended by more than 150 students from the disciplines of Law, Humanities, Engineering and Science.

The aim of the Chapter meetings is to give students an opportunity to engage with industry expects  about skills development, career prospects and other opportunities available to them after they graduate and join the work force.

Lester’s presentation painted a realistic picture of the financial responsibilities students will face such as repaying student loans, debt, and possible unemployment. He offered investment tips to help students through the transition period.

‘After you graduate, there will be a number of debt traps you could fall into. It is important you identify these pitfalls, avoid them by planning ahead, and then when you start your first job you analyse which financial responsibilities you have to pay back first and deal with them. After that plan ahead by looking at your retirement options, medical aid and generally making a business plan for the rest of your life,’ said Lester.

The President and Chair of Convocation, Mr Fanle Sibisi, reminded students they had a responsibility to give back to the institution that moulded them into successful graduates.

‘The reason we are trying to prepare you is so you don’t fail as an employee and are able to face the world,’ said Sibisi. ‘Put this challenge to yourself that before you consider going out into the working world you have a responsibility to study further.  Treat your undergraduate degree like a matric certificate and a postgraduate degree as the qualification that will open doors for you. Pride yourself on your background and learn more about the institution you are in and how you can give back to it,’ he said.