This newly hired assistant professor of personal financial planning has made a difference as a coach and knows how to help her students do the same.
Olamide (Lami) Olajide has seen the impact she can make on others.
During her time at Texas Tech University from 2017 to 2022, earning her master's and doctoral degrees in personal financial planning (PFP) from the College of Human Science's School of Financial Planning, she helped create a one-on-one financial coaching program at the Lubbock County Detention Center in 2021.
“We met with inmates who were about to leave in a few weeks or months and helped answer questions they had, mostly about cash flow, financial goal setting and credit,” Olajide said. “It was nice meeting them and walking them through their personal finances.”
Olajide learned several of the inmates were incarcerated because of previous mistakes. She taught them how to set and achieve financial goals so they could experience fewer problems not only integrating back into society, but also navigating their life ahead.
It felt rewarding to watch inmates turn their initial frowns of confusion into smiles of relief.
“That showed I was able to help them in some capacity,” she said. “It was a very humbling experience to meet people from diverse backgrounds who were really eager to do better with their finances.”
Olajide was well-prepared for this volunteer opportunity through the KEY (Knowledge Empowering You) Outreach Program, which utilizes PFP students to provide educational outreach to the Lubbock community. To receive the necessary training, the Center for Financial Responsibility purchased study materials to help Olajide obtain her Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC) certification.
“I wanted to take advantage of the opportunities available to me through the School of Financial Planning,” she said. “Certifications are signs of competence in our field. So, it was important for me to get AFC certified to be equipped to navigate the personal finances of low- to middle-income families.”
Beyond the walls of the Lubbock County Detention Center, Olajide acted as both a financial educator and coach through KEY. She presented different areas of personal finance topics to numerous group settings and at least 15 people one-on-one.
“I wanted to help people work through their personal finances and teach them how to do it well,” she said. “Experiencing firsthand family and friends struggle with managing their personal finances, I wanted to impact people to do better.”
Olajide came to the U.S. as a student from Nigeria in 2016 and discovered her purpose in helping the community through KEY. She feels at home in Lubbock (despite the transition from a tropical to semi-arid climate).
After living in several different cities, she recently decided to return to Lubbock as an assistant professor of PFP.
“I needed to come back and impact the program that impacted me so greatly,” she said. “I always say I found myself in the Ph.D. program by involving myself in a lot of activities.”
Although Olajide will not begin teaching until the fall semester, she already has a goal in place.
“I'm invested in helping people grow and find their purpose in the PFP program,” she said. “I want to share my past experiences as a student so they can learn from them.”
The future is bright through the Charles Schwab Foundation Personal Financial Planning Clinic established last year. It will allow the KEY program to reach additional community members in need of non-biased financial education.
That means even more PFP students will need to be AFC certified. And many students, like Olajide, will need financial assistance to afford the costs associated with the AFC exam.
“I'm grateful I was able to get my study materials purchased for me because it costs quite a bit,” she said. “The exam is not as difficult if you're in the PFP program because your classes help prepare you. But you obviously still need to study the materials.”
After taking the AFC through KEY, Olajide was empowered to make a difference as a competent financial coach. She hopes other students will earn the same chance through gifts made during Day of Giving.
“It's not just investing in students who want to take the AFC,” she said. “It's investing in the Lubbock community.”