Money Smart Week events put focus on personal finance

Money Smart Week events put focus on personal finance

Activities include sessions with tips, chance to shred financial papers, help for seniors

Folks will get plenty of chances next week to learn more about personal finance, thanks to Money Smart Week observances in Champaign and Vermilion counties.

The events in Champaign County include sessions on how to save money on groceries, as well as banking basics for the Latino community. The events in Vermilion County include a financial fair for seniors and a session on how to garden on a budget. This Saturday, both counties will have opportunities for people to shred financial documents, to minimize the chance of identity theft.

All the events are free, said Scott Olthoff, chairman for Money Smart Week in Champaign County. "There can't be any sales presentations," he said. "It's all education."

Launched by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002, Money Smart Week was designed to improve people's financial literacy. Citing a statistic from The Wall Street Journal, Olthoff said 70 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Plus, he added, of marriages that end in divorce in the first seven years, 90 percent cite money fights and money problems as the top cause.

This will be the third year for Money Smart Week in Champaign County. Last year, a total of 1,745 people attended 61 events, though that figure was skewed by two school events each attended by 300 students, Olthoff said.

Banks, credit unions and investment advisers are among the organizations offering the educational sessions, many of which are held at area libraries. Some events request advance registration; for registration information, check the Money Smart Web site,

This year, for the first time, The News-Gazette's Newspaper in Education program will run a 10-part series on earning, budgeting and investing. The student series will be available to all News-Gazette customers from April 19 to 30.

Also, throughout the week, Salt & Light will offer free financial counseling at its offices, 1512 W. Anthony Drive, C. To arrange for a session, call 355-5654. Sessions last about 90 minutes, and those being counseled should bring their bills as well as records of income.

County Market will coordinate "personal shopping experiences" to help people identify cost-efficient, healthy foods. To arrange a one-on-one or small-group shopping time, call health and wellness adviser Hope Danielson at 815-520-5258. Sessions last about an hour, she said, and should be scheduled between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. They're available at several area stores.

As part of the Champaign County observance, two scholarships will be awarded later this week to middle school students who won an essay contest. Students wrote essays on careers they were interested in pursuing, the costs and benefits of their choices and how they planned to prepare financially and educationally to meet their goals.

For details and information on how to register for these events, see

Money Smart Week; events

Friday, April 16

Fashion Show and Financial Fair Extravaganza, 7 to 9 p.m., Danville Masonic Temple, 109 W. North St., Danville.

Saturday, April 17

Community Shred Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Executive Plaza, 3550 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

Tuesday, April 20

Financing Higher Education, 6 to 8 p.m., Danville Area Community College, 2000 E. Main St.

Diversify, Allocate, Rebalance: Investing in 2010, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., University of Illinois Extension, 12190 U.S. 150, Oakwood.

Wednesday, April 21

Financial Fair for Seniors, 9 to 11 a.m., CRIS Senior Services building, 309 N. Franklin St., Danville.

Fitness for Your Finances, 6 to 8 p.m., YMCA of Danville, 1111 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

Thursday, April 22

Gardening on a Budget, 10 to 11 a.m., Executive Plaza, 3550 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

Lunch Learn: Understanding Credit, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Illinois workNet office, 407 W. Franklin St., Danville.

Friday, April 23

Planning Ahead to Ensure Financial Security with End-of-Life Issues, 10 to 11 a.m., Executive Plaza, 3550 N. Vermilion St., Danville.