Faculty-staff webinar on current state of the investment world part of broader financial literacy efforts

An online session on Thursday, April 16, organized by the Office of Leadership and Professional Development is part of an expanding effort to support financial literacy among the university community and the surrounding area.

During this turbulent time in the financial world, Associate Professor Chris Harris in the Department of Finance is seeking to provide some clarity to members of the Elon University community.

Chris Harris, associate professor of finance

Harris will be hosting a webinar for Elon faculty and staff titled “Overview of the Current Investment World” via WebEx, just one event in a broader effort by the university to encourage financial literacy and education among students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community.

Harris, who is chair of the Department of Finance, said the goal of Thursday’s webinar is to talk about where the stock market world has been during the past several years, what changed this year, and what it is looking like now. He’ll offering a look at how stocks are valued and priced, how to gauge what makes a stock “expensive” or “not expensive,” and then will talk about where the market may be heading in the future. Registration is required for the hour-long webinar, with more details available here.

The webinar builds upon a series of events in the fall and earlier this year. Harris has led in-person and online sessions for employee resource groups and alumni, as well as for students. For instance, at the invitation of the School of Health Sciences, Harris gave presentations about personal finance to students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Education program. Thursday’s session and others this spring have been organized by Elon’s Office of Leadership and Professional Development, and Harris has worked with the Office of Alumni Engagement to present to alumni, with new alumni events to come this spring.

“Typically, we have had 30 to 50 people at these sessions,” Harris said. “We’ve focused on what’s going on in the investment world, and in other sessions have focused on personal finance, including dealing with student loans and preparing financially for the future. The topics adjust to who the group is.”

In the fall, 60 volunteers spent more than 300 hours in local elementary schools through Junior Achievement to help build a financial literacy foundation for children. Additionally, Harris has been leading financial literacy workshops for Odyssey Program scholars at Elon that are part of a four-year curriculum, that includes personal meetings with those Elon students to help expand their financial knowledge.

“This past year we have started layering on the activities for faculty and staff,” Harris said. “We’re focused on how we can build better financial literacy through all these different categories.”

Looking ahead, Harris will also be leading an online session on April 24 for Elon employees who may be approaching retirement to address questions they may have about how changes in the investment world could impact their financial futures. Registration information for the session, which was also organized by the Office of Leadership and Professional Development, is available here.

Asked about what he is sharing about the current investment environment in these sessions, Harris said he prefers to use the word “interesting” when describing the period we are in, noting that many of the institutional actions being taken are unprecedented. “The fact that the Federal Reserve is taking some of the actions it’s taking gives us some sense of the scale of the problem,” Harris said. “I feel a little bit optimistic that the immediate market impacts may not be as bad because of some of the things they are doing. In the long term, we could have some other problems because of the actions they’re taking.”