Amazing Students Profiles

Ben Jacobs

Ben Jacobs

Ben Jacobs discovered his passion for financial planning at UGA, and he’s already using those skills to help others through programs outside of school.


Kennesaw, Ga.

High School:

Kennesaw Mountain High School

Degree objective:

M.S. in financial planning, B.S.F.C.S. in consumer economics

Expected graduation:

Spring 2016

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

My first two years at the University of Georgia have allowed me amazing experiences. Beginning classes the summer before my freshman year, I was eager to start at UGA and couldn’t wait the entire summer to do so.

During my freshman year, I joined the UGA Rowing Team as a coxswain, the person at the front of the boat who motivates (yells at) the rowers. While waking up at 6 a.m. several times a week for practice may not be many students’ idea of a fun time, to me it was all worth it come race day. Joining the team got me in shape, but more importantly allowed me to develop friendships that I am confident will extend long after college.

I also began working at the UGA Institute of Higher Education during my second semester of freshman year. As a research assistant, I’m working under a grant titled “The Executive Science Network: University Trustees and the Organization of Industry Exchanges.” This has provided me great insight into the structure of many public and private universities.

The summer after my freshman year I took a class titled “Intro to Personal Financial Planning” and my passion for financial planning ignited. I have always had an interest for finances, yet I struggled to find a major that I was confident would help me make a difference in people’s future. Financial planning allowed me to do just that by learning how to help people plan their financial lives.

During the fall of my second year, I joined the Student Financial Planning Association, an organization dedicated to helping students learn more about the financial planning profession. I also interned at the ASPIRE Clinic, a center on campus that provides therapy, financial counseling, nutrition and legal services for low or no cost. While interning at the clinic, I was able to observe many financial counseling sessions and learned a great deal about working and talking with clients.

In the second semester of my sophomore year I was accepted into the graduate school as an accelerated master’s student in financial planning. I was also selected as the vice president of finance for both UGA Hillel and Habitat for Humanity. I served as a quality reviewer for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, which prepared tax returns for over 800 members of the community during the recent tax season. Finally, I was named to the UGA Chapter of the Blue Key Honor Society and selected as one of the top 100 student employees at UGA.

This summer, I am traveling abroad to Costa Rica with the Financial Planning, Housing, and Consumer Economics Department where we will be partnering with Habitat for Humanity International to build a house. In addition, I am working as a financial counselor at the Aspire Clinic.

I cannot be more thankful for the opportunities that I have had over the past four semesters and I am looking forward to my final year of study at this great university.

Current Employment:

I work at Elwood & Goetz Wealth Advisory Group in addition to the UGA Institute of Higher Education.

Family Ties to UGA:

I am the first in my family to attend UGA.

I chose to attend UGA because…

After visiting my friends at UGA during my senior year of high school, I was blown away with all of the opportunities that this campus offered. The positive attitude of all the students I encountered was amazing. And with opportunities offered through programs such as the Honors Program, I knew that UGA would give me the tools I need to succeed and have a great college experience.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

There is nothing like walking through North Campus during a spring afternoon. During the summer, I can frequently be found with my hammock in a variety of places all around campus. And of course, nothing beats cheering on the Dawgs on Saturdays in the fall.

When I have free time, I like…

One of my favorite things to do is go camping and hiking. I always try to squeeze in weekend trips to the mountains with my friends. I rescued a dog last year and since then going hiking is always an added adventure with her by my side.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

I don’t know about crazy, but one time I ate 12 Funfetti cupcakes in one sitting. Not surprisingly, I had a stomachache afterward, but I enjoyed every bite.

My favorite place to study is…

… on the sixth floor of the main library. There is a group of tables that overlooks the entire campus, and it is a great view to look at while studying for classes. I need silence to study and the entire floor is always extremely quiet.

My favorite professor is…

I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing professors on this campus, but my favorite is definitely Lance Palmer. I took “Tax Planning” with Dr. Palmer and was astounded by the passion he has for anything he teaches. Dr. Palmer consistently pushes his students to challenge themselves and has always pushed me to my limits. His knowledge of what he teaches is amazing and he has such a great way of sharing it.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

I would love to be able to spend the afternoon with the piano man himself, Billy Joel. I’ve always loved his music, and it would be great to sit down with him and hear about his experiences over the decades.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

… start my own financial planning firm right after college. It has always been my dream to start my own firm. I know that I’ll need experience and training after college, however if I knew I wouldn’t fail, I would happily open my own firm. Opening my own financial planning firm would allow me the flexibility to create my own financial plans and recommendations, something I wouldn’t necessarily get from an established firm.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to…

If I had unlimited funds, I would probably design and build my own house in the mountains. I’ve always wanted to build my own house, and I think it would be cool to put my own personal touch on a building. I’d also certainly enjoy living in a place that I customized to my preferences.

After graduation, I plan to…

… work in a fee-only financial planning firm. Fee-only firms don’t make a commission from selling products, and always have the client’s best interest at heart. I hope to get a job working at a financial planning firm and start helping clients immediately.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

During a snow day my freshman year, I went to the intramural fields with a group of my friends. We took big tubs and slid down the hill by Lake Herrick for several hours. Unfortunately, the snow was pretty much melted and it was more like sledding in the mud instead of the snow. Even though I was covered in mud by the end of it, I still had a blast.