Funny Money: James Cunningham Cracks Up UNBSJ

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On Tuesday, Nov. 18, the FCNB (Financial and Consumer Services Commission for New Brunswick) hosted James Cunningham at the Ganong Hall Lecture Theatre. Cunningham’s “Funny Money” show began at 6:30 p.m.

Cunningham is an actor, comedian, author, financial guru, and host of the Eat St. TV series. His visit to UNBSJ with “Funny Money Inc.” had Cunningham showing off his comedic chops especially. By presenting his financial expertise comedically through the ‘fun-ancial’ lecture, the advice Cunningham offered was more accessible to his audience—namely, students.

Cunningham’s “Funny Money” is intended to teach student audiences about financial management. Starting the presentation off with a few icebreakers, Cunningham explained that he loves to give broke university students money. Setting the ground rules, he described how audience members could have the opportunity to win money throughout the night by volunteering and being able to recap the whole presentation.

Then, the funny man asked a big question, “How broke is my audience tonight, let me hear some noise?” The lecture theatre filled with laughter and agreement. Cunningham quickly figured out that his audience was, in fact, “very broke.”

After a few more light-hearted jokes and questions, Cunningham got into the most important part of his presentation—explaining the importance of financial security in university and in our lives. Cunningham gave a statistic that really surprised the audience: in the economic year of 2011-2012, university students spent over 100 billion dollars, and only 5.6 billion was earned income from typical student jobs.

Once this statistic had sunk in, Cunningham challenged the audience to “know your flow.” This means that you have to know where your money is coming from in order to make purchases—rather than buying items frivolously and without thinking about your financial situation. Cunningham states that, “any source of legal income is a good source of income.” It’s credit and loans that add up and get students in trouble, because they are, essentially, spending money that they don’t have.

The second point Cunningham brought up was to “control what you owe,” managing your credit and building up your credit score while not destroying it.

The last point that Cunningham wanted to drive home was to encourage students to invest and save. He stated, “it’s important to put your money in to items that will increase in value.” He went on to give an example about how the rich invest in items that increase in value, while the working class buy items that devalue soon after purchase.

All in all, the event was a huge success. A UNBSJ Business student said that, “he really enjoyed the presentation” and that he had learned a lot a little tricks to be successful money wise.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.