140619_HER07_46Ronald Smith

Age: 71
Hometown: Madison
Cause: Financial advice for students

As an adjunct University of Wisconsin investing professor, Smith worried that graduating seniors didn’t have enough financial knowledge to protect themselves after college. In response, he created the Financial Independence seminar in 2002. Every year, between 200 and 300 graduating students attend a one-day set of lectures on personal finance. Over the following month, attendees can have a half-hour one-on-one session with Smith, who worked as a financial planner for over 35 years, to ask any financial questions they’d like. When they do so, they form a life-long financial bond, as students reach out to Smith years later with questions about subjects like job decisions or IRA investments.

Says Smith:

Students’ problems are fairly simple to answer for us folks who have been through it before, but I get instant gratification when I can help.”

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