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Investing in the Future

UMD student Nicole Trettin
May 3, 2018

The Financial Peer Mentor Program helps students balance their finances early before it’s too late.

“I love this program and am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it.” - Nicole Trettin

The Financial Peer Mentor Program (FPMP) is a completely free student-to-student program that allows mentors and mentees to work together for one semester to organize the mentee’s finances. Mentees learn skills to manage their money, budget it, and save it for the future.

Helping Students as a Mentor

LSBE student Nicole Trettin (pictured above) is an Accounting major and a Healthcare Management minor. She is a mentor within the program and describes it as, “the best thing I have been involved with while at UMD.”

She heard about the program through a friend of hers who wanted to join the program but wanted a friend to join along with her. Nicole thought it was a really cool program, but was still unsure of whether or not she would be accepted. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I applied anyways, got interviewed and was accepted into the program.” Nicole is now in her third semester and is working with her fifth mentee.

As a mentor, Nicole was trained through a class and learned how to make this program a wonderful experience for her mentees, not only focusing on finances but also talking about all aspects of a student’s life such as who they are, how they work with others, and where they want to be. “The mentor and the mentee meet for 10 weeks. They meet once a week for about 30-60 minutes talking about subjects such as credit, financial institutions, budgeting, and specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART) goals.”

Being a business student, Nicole emphasizes how beneficial her time in the FPMP program is to her future success. She says the program has helped her gain communication skills, relaying advice to others, as well as discussing money matters. “Someday, I am going to have to discuss money matters with my boss, or even my client and being prepared on how to appropriately approach them is very important. Money is a hard thing to talk about because no one wants to talk about it, and this program taught me how to discuss it in a way where you are "never bad" but where there is room for improvement,” explains Nicole.

Nicole’s favorite part as a mentor is the final mentor meeting. “It is the meeting the mentors get to design. For my final meeting, I always do a ‘hope for the future’ theme.” She gives students the confidence that they can be financially stable if they work hard. “We look up the starting salary for their major and then put it into a debt wizard to show them that someday, they will pay off their debts. Then we find the average salary for their major to show them they will be well off if they put in the work.”

She would recommend that all students get involved with FPMP. Even if students think they know everything there is to know about managing their finances, it doesn’t hurt to learn more. ”Every semester, my mentee always starts off by telling me they know a lot already, but every meeting they always learn something that they had not known. They realize it is more complex than they were once told.”

Nicole is really happy she joined the Financial Peer Mentor Program. “I love this program and am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of it.”

A Mentee’s Perspective

Alex Fiero is a Marketing Analytics and Marketing double major. He’s really enjoyed his time as a mentee in the program, and as his schedule permits would love to take the class to become a mentor.

He joined because, “It was more of a personal thing, that helps my everyday life, learning these skills. It is easy for me to make impulse purchases, but this class helps mitigate that problem by helping me budget my finances.” He had to get involved for his job at Live Like a Student, but he was interested in the program beforehand.

UMD student Alex Fiero

Mentee Alex Fiero (with a young friend)

“A lot of people join because they feel alone coming into college and need help managing money because this is the first time they’ve done it.”

He really enjoyed that he was able to track his spending, manage his finances not only in the present but for after college as well. “We had to meet ten hours a semester, and my mentor would have a different lesson for me each week.”

He emphasizes how much having a student help him, meant to him. “It’s student-based; they’re in the same situation as you, but they have the training to help. It’s nice to have students and not a teacher who might not understand the situation you’re in.”

A Program that values both its mentors and mentees

The Financial Peer Mentor Program helps students in all facets of their lives. Whether students are a mentor or a mentee the program creates a space where both can learn and plan for their future.

To learn more about the program, visit or contact Niki Pechinski at

Financial Peer Mentor Program