Marsha Barnes ’13

“Bringing Financial Literacy to the People”

Montreat Degree: Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Master’s in Management and Leadership
Graduation Year: 2013
Title: Founder of the Finance Bar

“So many people in America worry about their personal finances and have no one to talk to,” says Marsha Barnes, founder of the Charlotte-based Finance Bar. “So I asked myself, ‘If you were having problems with your finances, who would you go to?’ You can’t walk into a bank and say, ‘Can you help me with my budget?’ Financial planners cost a couple hundred dollars an hour. So I realized there was something missing from the market.”

Marsha’s answer was to found the Finance Bar, a mobile financial planning hub built into a retrofitted school bus, out of which she provides personal financial planning services for individuals, schools, organizations, and corporations. “Corporations bring me in to help their employees with personal financial planning,” she says. “It’s a way they can give something to their employees.” Launched in November 2014, the Finance Bar is already receiving local and national attention from the likes the Charlotte Observer, NPR Weekend Edition, and Forbes Magazine. “I never thought I’d get that much traction in my first year,” she says.

Marsha got her bachelor’s in business from Montreat College’s School of Adult and Graduate Studies in 2010, and her master’s in management and leadership from Montreat in 2013. “People always ask me, ‘How did you come up with an idea like this? How did you know how to run a business?’ Montreat taught me strategy, to think outside the box, to be creative. And having a faith-based education and that background from Montreat helped a ton. It’s helped carry me through this entire process. Montreat had a great impact on me and still does to this day.”