Current students and recent grads gathered last week to ask a question weighing on their minds: How can I prepare myself to be financially fit after graduation?

Fortunately, real estate agent Olivia Brown ’11, financial planner Eric McPherson ’04 and insurance agent Jessica Mastalerz were on hand to provide answers to this question and more during an informative panel discussion. The event, held at the UMass Club in Boston, was co-organized by the Greater Boston and Finance Alumni Networks.

Brown, McPherson and Mastalerz gave guidance on what students can expect after life on campus — not just for their first career opportunities, but for the first major financial decisions they will face. The panelists covered a variety of subjects, including how to build good credit, what qualifies as “good” debt, renter’s insurance, whether to buy a home or rent, home equity loans and more topics not generally taught in the classroom.

“There are no classes that really sit you down and give you a foundation for buying a house, or deciding between buying and renting,” said attendee Toni Ambrogio ’14.

Beyond the valuable information shared, the presence of the Boston-area alumni networks gave the students in attendance valuable exposure to alumni volunteers and provided networking opportunities.

The panelists were excited to speak with an engaged and enthusiastic audience and for McPherson and Brown, participating was also a great way to give back to their alma mater.

“The first step (students should take) is talking to someone,” McPherson said. “It just takes one person outside of your zone of influence to point out what you had a misunderstanding about. You can only learn and get better from asking questions.”

Sara Hickey ’17 left the event feeling that students should make an effort to attend as many of these types of events as possible. She explained, “They’re very helpful, especially since we’re in college and considering stuff like this in the near future.”

Many thanks to Liberty Mutual Insurance for sponsoring this event.

Quick poll: Would you like to see a Financial Fitness program on the UMass Amherst campus?

View photos from the event.

Many thanks to Liberty Mutual Insurance for sponsoring this event.