Financial Wellness Program
Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers
Aims and Purposes
At New Brunswick Theological Seminary (NBTS) our approach to theological education is unique. Though some students come our way directly after completing their bachelor degrees, we actively target second-career students and enable them to customize schedules that fit with their complex work and family lives. Students can enroll part-time or full-time in day and evening classes on our two campuses: in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and in New York, at St. John’s University in Queens. Many students remain fully employed and we maintain our relationships with them through personalized, individual attention and advisement.
Our delivery of this program emphasizes coaching and individual attention, which are the successful trademarks of our unique education. Our aim continues to be to change the thinking and habits of affiliated churches and organizations by enhancing their awareness of the need to help support the financial costs of seminary education and also to consider more broadly the fairness of compensation for clergy and faith leaders as an issue of justice and faith as well as promoting physical and spiritual health.
The program components are designed to provide consumer information, courses, financial aid workshops and one-on-one counseling. Students will be exposed to core topics concerning financial wellbeing, including:
- Financing Theological Education. Guidance on potential sources for funding a theological education infused with real-life examples of successful seminarians who used multiple approaches to financing their education.
- Negotiating Fair Compensation and Benefits, including “Pay-for-Service.” Realistic salary ranges, the trend toward consulting or “pay-for-service” versus in-house resources, and understanding cost structures of self-employment (taxes, insurance, vacation, sick time, etc.).
- Evaluating Prospective Employers. The job interview goes both ways—evaluating the financial soundness of prospective employers (for-profit, non-profit and churches).
- Approaches to Handling Debt. A comprehensive look at consumer debt (car loans, mortgages, credit cards, etc.) as well as education loans as part of a person’s total financial health. Research and present models of debt repayment programs and re-negotiating debt repayment based on percentage of actual salary.
Video – Student Loans and Seminary Costs – This 30-minute video by Auburn Theological Seminary provides an overview of what students can expect when financing a seminary education.
Free Webinars – Sign up for free webinars designed to help you on your path to financial wellness. Topics include goal setting, credit reporting, managing credit, debt repayment, and budgeting.
Income and Expense Worksheet – Create and follow a spending plan. A realistic monthly spending plan is a valuable tool to guide your spending and saving decisions.
DFree and Financial Freedom – Learn how to responsibly manage and get rid of debt.
Financial Calculators – Financial calculators make financial decisions much easier based on hard and fast numbers.
For additional information or questions contact
Dr. Terry A. Smith
Associate Dean of Institutional Assessment
Associate Professor of Biblical Studies