Gerry Finnegan, lecturer in finance at the UNL College of Business Administration, teaches the Personal Finance course (FINA 260) which helps students integrate practical finance concepts into their lives. The course, which is an ACE course that meets the general education requirements for UNL students, is popular among students in many colleges and majors.
“The class is designed to show students how their financial roadmap develops throughout their life,” Finnegan said. “We discuss all aspects of one’s personal finance plan.”
As the class progresses through various stages of life, topics include basic financial concepts such as personal taxes, investments, insurance and retirement planning. To help bring the later stages into clear focus, Finnegan asks students to think in terms of how their parents or grandparents will be dealing with retirement, social security and estate plans.
He also uses unique classroom scenarios such as letting students opt-in to acquiring virtual insurance, and then using chance operations throughout the semester to select which students get ‘killed off.’
Finnegan teaching Personal Finance course
Chair of the Finance Department Kathy Farrell said, “The personal finance class offers students the opportunity to learn from experienced financial planners like Finnegan.The class helps to better prepare UNL students for entering the work force and beginning their careers. It is one of those classes we don’t require but can benefit many students if they choose to take the course.”
Finnegan was recognized with the 2015 Parents Recognition Award for Contributions to Students for his work teaching the course, which currently includes 140 students. The award is presented by the University–Lincoln Parents Association based on nominations by parents of students to an individual who makes a positive impact at UNL. Finnegan also teaches a section of the course to our W.H.Thompson Scholars, who are students that have been awarded a scholarship from the Susan T. Buffet Foundation.
Finnegan did not take the traditional path to teaching finance. Acquiring an engineering degree from the Naval Academy, his original aim was to become an astronaut, but he now teaches and practices as a certified financial planner in Lincoln. When he first began teaching at UNL in 1987, he says it felt right and his recent honor confirms his students feel the same.
He is also a registered investment advisor with the Nebraska Department of Banking, Bureau of Securities. He is active in public service and serves on multiple civic and community boards.