Queens College hosted a forum on its Flushing campus for both students and area business leaders featuring guest speaker Jill Schlesinger, editor-at-large of CBS MoneyWatch.com, who spoke about personal bank accounts.
Schlesinger's lecture was fitting because it came on the four-year anniversary of the most volatile week of the financial crisis.
One of the first things Schlesinger said was to look on the bright side of things with regard to the economic meltdown. In her opinion, people will end up spending more wisely and the economy will be a healthier one as a result of the recession.
“One of the things that's great about living through a horrible time is that you learn something and we try not to repeat the patterns of the past,” she told the audience
“It can be very confusing navigating your financial world and one of my big pet peeves is that we don't in elementary, middle school and high school teach personal finance,” she said.
She went on to say that college kids are signing up for loans and not truly understanding the gravity of the situation they are finding themselves in when they have to pay them off.
One student who was in attendance, Devika Nandlall, asked a question about what policies should have been enacted from a political standpoint to help prevent or fix the mortgage crisis.
“The problem I see is that we have not had a really strong program from the government side that helps homeowners,” Schlesinger said.
She compared the finical crisis to an alcoholic drinking binge, and placed blame on everyone.
“You were at the party, but you might not have had the drinks,” she said. “But you watched it and we were all there. Now the country is in our hangover phase.”
Schlesinger said it was exactly the students at Queens College who would be the leaders of a new economy.
“Here we have a great college,” she said. “A local college that's producing fantastic students that are going to be the next wave in the most diverse borough of New York City. There are not too many places in the world where we have opportunities like there are right here.”
She people to no longer think pessimistically, and use the past to make better judgments regarding finances in the future.
“Yeah, you know what? It was a bad time,” she said. “We're going to get through it and we're going to be better for it.”