Jennifer Handres named a Schwab Scholar in Financial Planning


Jennifer Handres is a Purdue University junior and a Charles Schwab Foundation Scholar in Financial Planning who has been awarded $10,000 per year in scholarships for two years, along with voluntary mentorship and professional development opportunities, as part of the Foundation’s $3.5 million endowed scholarship program. The program provides financial assistance and career opportunities to students from underrepresented communities. We sat down with Jennifer to talk about her drive toward a career in financial planning and to hear her perspective on advancing diversity across the industry.  

What inspires you toward a career in financial planning? 

Growing up, my parents wouldn’t really talk about money in front of my sister and me. As we got older we started hearing more about it unintentionally, which troubled my parents because they wanted us to think there was nothing to worry about. They meant well, but I couldn’t help wanting to know more. We were well-off but certain life events caused financial stress and gave true light to our situation, making me realize the importance of money management and financial planning. This is partially why I’m pursuing a financial planning career – to become better educated myself. But I’ve also always known that I want to have a business career and I want my work to make people’s lives better.  Financial planning offers a perfect balance between the analytical side of business that I love and the opportunity to impact people’s lives in a meaningful way.  I’ll help people improve their financial literacy and achieve their dreams. 

People of color are underrepresented in the financial planning industry. This scholarship program aims to diversify the field so there is greater representation. What are your thoughts on this?  

People from all different backgrounds and ethnicities need help achieving financial literacy and they’re more likely to seek assistance from people who they feel will understand them, their life experiences, and their cultures. So the more people of color we have working as financial planners, the better. Everyone will benefit as wealth grows and financial freedom is achieved. 

What benefits of the scholarship program are you looking forward to the most? 

I am excited about the Schwab Internship Academy. It would give me hands-on industry experience that will hopefully confirm that this is it – a career in finance is the right career for me. Completing an internship is also a requirement of the financial planning program, so it would help me meet an important graduation requirement. 

What advice would you give underrepresented students who are undecided but considering a financial planning major? 

If you are undecided or don’t necessarily find yourself being inspired by a “one path” major then Financial Planning is for you. The knowledge and skills you’ll gain from the program will open you to so many career paths in the financial services industry. 

The Charles Schwab Foundation Scholars in Financial Planning program is one of the Board-approved diversity and inclusion efforts announced by the Schwab Executive Council last year. This endowment complements other scholarship programs for underrepresented communities, funded through Charles Schwab Foundation, including: 

  • A $500,000 contribution to fund scholarships at three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): Bethune-Cookman University, North Carolina Agriculture and Technical State University, and Prairie View A&M University. 

  • The RIA Talent Advantage Scholarship Program through Schwab Advisor Services, which aims to raise awareness of the independent investment advisory profession and provides $10,000 scholarships to twelve students, reserving half for students from underrepresented groups. 

More information about Schwab’s commitment to diversity is available on the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion website

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