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The transformative power of education

The Cramens

Doug and Sandra Cramen understand the importance of financial security and the foundation it can provide for a happy, purposeful life.

Both proud SFU alumni who pursued careers in banking and then financial planning, they also share a passion for learning and a strong belief in the transformative power of education.

These combined values led the pair to establish an endowment supporting the Doug and Sandra Cramen Bursary through a bequest in their wills. The bursary will be given annually to a full-time undergraduate economics major who has demonstrated financial need.

“We want to give people a stepping stone. If you are lifting yourself up, we want to help you,” Doug explains.

“Our families were not in a position to help us when we went to university. We had to pay our own way and came out with student debt. We would like others to be able to start their careers without that burden, which is our intention for creating this bursary.”

The Cramens met and fell in love at SFU while studying economics, and chose to support students pursuing the same specialty.

“Economics is really a life skill,” Doug says. “To learn about the economy, markets, how society uses its resources gives people a strong foundation for work and for life.”

Sandra, who often refers to herself as a “nerdy” numbers girl, adds that understanding the underlying themes of how and why money “moves” can help people set goals and make good financial decisions through life’s varying stages.

She speaks enthusiastically about the fulfillment that they both have found by advising others and ensuring clients have the tools and knowledge to achieve their goals.

“So many people wait until they near retirement to educate themselves about tax, cash flow, debt management and the like,” Sandra says. “The earlier we educate ourselves, the less financial stress we will have in our lives.”

Doug explains that financial needs and goals will change over time and depend on each individual’s situation, particularly when it comes to estate planning.

“You have to be able to deal with your own needs, and those of your family,” he says “After that you have to ask yourself, “What do you want to do for society? What impact do you want to have on other people in the world?”

For the Cramens—who reside in Kelowna and are parents to one daughter, a business school graduate now working in the financial sector—that means creating a world where everyone can access education.