Extension Educator, Consumer Economics
Extension Specialist, Consumer Economics
Extension Educator, Consumer Economics
April 19, 2012
March 26, 2011
Learning about finances never stops.When we're teenagers we tend to focus on spending money – and we're busy learning about checking and savings accounts. As young adults we learn more about using credit wisely for large purchases such as cars and homes. Time passes and a need to understand insurance, job benefits, and investments becomes evident. And at middle-age – when you wish you knew all that you needed to know – new issues such as refinancing and maintaining homes as well as retirement planning demand new knowledge. As we continue to age, other topics become relevant.
Information is empowering. A recent report from the Center for Retirement Research found that customized financial information inspired workers who had lost 10% of their retirement assets during a market downturn to delay retirement, increase savings, or both. In other words, educational information helped workers take steps to improve their financial situation. Are there steps that you need to be taking?
Money Smart Week, April 2-9th, is your chance to improve your financial situation with free, informative presentations and workshops. Coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and its many Money Smart Week partners, Money Smart Week is designed to educate consumers about money management and create awareness of financial education programs on a wide range of topics such as budgeting, saving and using credit wisely.
In many Illinois communities Money Smart Week will kick-off Saturday, April 2 at 10:00 a.m. with Money Smart Kids Read at local libraries. This special hour will include a story, activity and take home items for children ages 3 and up. Check to see if your local library has a program planned.
Over 1000 informative events will be held across Illinois during Money Smart Week. Which one will you attend to improve your financial knowledge? Check the searchable, online calendar of events for Chicago and for the rest of Illinios for additional information about events in a community near you.
February 27, 2011
Today is the final day of America Saves Week. America Saves is a national campaign to persuade Americans who have little or no savings to "build wealth, not debt." Savers identify a savings goal and take action on a plan to achieve it. The America Saves program is free and motivational. Check out monthly messages from America Saves e-wealth coaches: http://bit.ly/hSJnXY.
During this past week, you've received daily messages about the benefits of saving money, how to save, where to save, and why to save. As America Saves Week winds up, we'd like to know if these messages were helpful and if you joined America Saves and set a personal savings goal to achieve. Please complete this short online survey: http://bit.ly/ExSurvey It is short (3 minutes) and everyone who completes it will be entered into a drawing for free gift cards.
I hope you enjoyed celebrating America Saves Week with us!
February 24, 2011
Want some great financial advice from some of the nation's leading financial experts...for free? Seriously, this service really exists and nobody is trying to sell you anything. The America Saves program posts monthly messages from e-wealth coaches about topics related to savings and personal finance. To view what they have to say, see: http://bit.ly/hSJnXY.
February 20, 2011
Do you know how much money is in your bank account? America Saves urges you to avoid overdraft fees by keeping track of your spending. The $20-40 you could save each month by not bouncing checks or overdrawing could put nearly $500 in your emergency savings account. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
February 20, 2011
In observation of America Saves Week, we'll be posting numerous tips on our blog this week to help you save.
Do you use cash for small purchases, and end up with bothersome change in your wallet or pocket? Save your loose change! According to America Saves, saving fifty cents a day over the course of a year will allow you to save nearly 40% of a $500 emergency fund. Remember, small changes equal big savings! For more information, visit http://bit.ly/fHbGQy.
Have you switched from cash to using a debit card or credit card for most of your purchases? (And you pay off that credit card each month so you don't pay any interest, right?) The America Saves program suggests that you review your credit and debit card receipts, bank statements, and/or online records. Then, ask yourself if you should reallocate some of this spending to an emergency savings account. For more savings tips, visit: http://bit.ly/fLuD29.
Stay tuned for more tips, today and throughout this week.
April 19, 2010
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Annual Money Smart Week kicked off this weekend. For those who don't know, Money Smart Week is a big event in Illinois. Every year, financial professionals from across the state offer over 400 free financial management workshops and activities at libraries, schools, churches, and community organizations to youth, adults, and seniors.
Today, I attended the opening celebration for Money Smart Week at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke gave opening remarks via a pre-recorded video. Charles Evans, Chicago Fed President expressed concerns about the findings of the 2009 National Financial Capacity Study conducted by FINRA, a governmental regulatory body for the investment industry. The study revealed that almost 50% of respondents reported having difficulty making ends meet, only 31% of respondents age 18-29 had an emergency fund, and that most Americans are not planning for retirement. The study showed that retirement planning increased with age. However, even among respondents between the ages of 45-59, only 51% had even bothered to calculate how much they needed to save for retirement. Nearly half (41%) of respondents felt more of a sense of urgency to plan for their children's college education than to plan for retirement.
These findings let us know that there is more work to be done in the area of financial literacy. So, take out time this week to visit one or more of the over 450 free money management workshops being offered across the state. To find a workshop near you, visit www.chicagofed.org.
To further explore financial topics, check out these websites:
MONEY SMART WEEK IS APRIL 17 -24, 2010
April 12, 2010
New laws and regulations, a blitz of ads about financial products, the economy in a spin ... just how are we supposed to learn about finances AND then apply it to our lives?
At times it's truly overwhelming! My only solution is to keep adding to my knowledge bit by bit by reading, talking to others, and attending presentations.
Across Illinois, people have the opportunity to add to their financial knowledge during Money Smart Week. More than 800 free classes and events that help consumers learn to manage their personal finances will be offered April 17-24th. The week is coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and hundreds of partner organizations dedicated to financial literacy. It is designed to educate people about money management and increase awareness of financial education available in your community.
For more information about events slated for Money Smart Week Illinois go to www.moneysmartweek.org, or contact your local Extension office to find out about financial education programs in your community.
Sometimes people question whether attending a short presentation can make a different in knowledge; I think it can.
For example, after attending a U of I Extension financial presentation on investing, 93% of participants said, "I am more aware of how diversification can help me meet my long-term investment goals." And, 78% felt they were better prepared to avoid investment fraud.
April is National Financial Literacy month. Take this opportunity to attend a presentation that will help you manage your finances.
March 19, 2010
By now, you have likely received your 2010 Census forms in the mail. Some of you, like myself, have probably already completed and returned the form; I had to otherwise it may have gotten misplaced and not returned at all. For those who have not returned your form yet, I hope this blog encourages you to do so as soon as possible.
What is the Census?
The Census is an official count of every household in the United States, including non-residents. The Constitution requires that a count be conducted every 10 years. This year the Census is made up of only 10 questions. It is estimated that it should take about 10 minutes to complete the form. The Census asks questions about:
Why is it Important?
The information collected from the census is used not only to determine population in the U.S., but also to determine the number of seats each state will occupy in the U.S. House of Representatives. Electoral districts and constituency boundaries are set using census data. Additionally, census data is sometimes used to advocate for causes, or assist in research.
As I began my journey to complete my family tree, I used census data to locate my relatives. Surprisingly, I was able to go back to the 1800s! Without the census data, my family tree would have stopped at my great grandparents. Think about your great grandchildren that are one day going to want to complete their family tree, but you won't be there, because you weren't counted.
How does it benefit your community?
On a more practical note, it makes sense to participate in the census because census information is used to determine the needs in your community. Census data is used to determine how more than $400 billion of federal funding is spent on:
If accurate information is not collected, your community could miss out on appropriate representation in government as well as vital services.
Is your information private?
Some of the public express concern about census information being used against them in the case of receiving government benefits, possible incrimination or potential deportation, in the case of illegal aliens. Census data cannot identify a person by name, address, social security number, etc. Identifying information collected from the census, by law, cannot be shared with the public or even government entities such as the IRS, FBI or CIA. Census bureau employees must take an oath for life to protect identifiable information.
What can you do to help?
At the end of each workshop, I try to remind everyone about the importance of completing the census. Once you have mailed your form, encourage others to complete their census forms in a timely manner. The census bureau welcomes your help in getting the word out. The census bureau has partnered with government, non-profit, corporate, and educational institutions. To sign up as a 2010 Census partner or for more information, visit 2010 Census.
March 1, 2010
April 17, 2009
From April 18 to April 25, take advantage of the numerous workshops and other public events that are part of Money Smart Week. In the Chicago metropolitan area, there are more than 450 separate events. There are also numerous events in Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington, Peoria, Rockford, and the Quad Cities. Led by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the purpose is to provide education, and no sales pitches. University of Illinois Extension Educators are providing many of these workshops. Come join us! Check of the calendar of events on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's website. Or check University of Illinois Extension's calendar for those events taught by our own educators.
Many Extension offices across Illinois will be hosting a special panel presentation via teleconference, Saving and Investing in Turbulent Times. You can check the U of I calendar for a location near you.
March 26, 2009
Once upon a time, in a land very close by, a wise person decided that he (or maybe it was a she - I actually don't know) wanted to make the world (or at least Chicago) a better place. This person worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, so of course they wanted to help the people of the land learn how to better manage their money. And so this person put out a call across the land to bring together a group of like-minded people. And that was how Money Smart Week was created.
OK, I'm no Aesop, this is no fairy tale, and I've probably taken a few liberties with the truth. But Money Smart Week truly has become a legend. Starting in Chicago around 8 years ago, it has spread across Illinois and to many other states. From April 18 through the 25th, we will observe Money Smart Week 2009 across the state of Illinois. During this weeklong observance, partners from literally hundreds of organizations provide free workshops on every conceivable financial topic. It's a bonanza of financial education opportunities. Most programs are in English, but some are in Spanish or other languages. They cover everything from how to do a budget or manage your credit, to choosing investments and planning for retirement. And best of all, they're taking place at all sorts of locations, probably one near you - maybe your library, or a bank, or a community organization, or a University of Illinois Extension office in your community.
University of Illinois Extension has been an active partner in Money Smart Week from the beginning. I and the other Consumer & Family Economics Educators across Illinois will be presenting dozens of workshops, drawing on our research-based, unbiased store of knowledge.
Come join us! Check out the searchable online calendar for your part of the state:
You can also check our Extension calendar to find events where our educators will be presenting, during Money Smart Week or at any time of year.
Have you been to a Money Smart Week event in the past? Click on my name below and tell me what you thought about it.
February 27, 2009
Happy America Saves Week! American Saves promotes saving money and reducing debt all year 'round but this week is a special celebration. Saving money sounds like a good idea. But, how do you save a dollar when you feel like you don't have a dime to spare?
You need a goal that is important to you to work towards. You need to believe that small changes in behavior can make a big difference in savings. And, you need to take action to change your spending.
What do you want to be doing in 5 years? Where do you want to live in 10 years? Do you want a financially secure future in 25 years? Now is the time, to start working towards these goals by saving money.
Does saving enough for a goal seem too difficult? It's easy to put off starting to save. But, what if we think about how much money we can save each week and then see how it can grow over time? $20 a week can make a significant difference in your savings. Think about it -- $20 a week is $1040 a year. You could start a retirement savings account with this money.
If you saved $80 a month in an investment that had a rate of return of 5%, in 15 years you'd have over $21,000. What a wonderful gift to a college-bound child when they graduate from high school. When you realize that a $21,000 goal requires $80 a month, then you can change your spending to find the $80.
Are you ready to take charge of your financial future? America Saves is here to help. America Saves is a nationwide effort to encourage non-saving Americans to save. Enrolled savers receive the American Saver newsletter which offers information on a wide variety of savings topics and introduces you to other Savers who are achieving their financial goals. If you'd like to join America Saves go to www.americasaves.org.
Would you like to share your thougths and tips about saving money? Click on my name below and send me an email; I'll be glad to add it to this blog post!
January 5, 2009
Happy Birthday to the Plan Well, Retire Well Blog! One year ago my colleagues and I decided to try a new way to communicate with people about saving and investing money, and we started the Plan Well, Retire Well Blog. Our blog supplements the Plan Well, Retire Well: Your how-to guide website.
The past year has been a challenging year for finances, and our blog posts reflect these challenges. Last January, Karen Chan wrote Recession? Depression? Or just a volatile market? Here's help for your upset stomach. She was certainly proactive -- her tips for managing are still relevant. Little did we know a year ago what was ahead of us!
By March gas prices were soaring and Paul McNamara wrote, Higher Gas Prices and Staying the Course with Your Investment Plan.
As the economic situation became tougher for people, Karen wrote Preparing for a Layoff and I tried to stay upbeat with Step Down Your Expenses & Still Enjoy Life. Jennifer Hunt followed up with Have Fun Being a Cheapskate!
As the mortgage crisis revved up and banks started failing, Karen helped put it into perspective with Bank Failures, FDIC Insurance, and What the Media ISN"T Telling You.
In October stock markets fell around the world. Several blog posts encouraged people to not panic. Dow Down 370 Points Today, 777 Points Last Monday: My Take and A Historical (not hysterical) View of the Current Market: David Sinow brings back all the feelings of uncertainty and fear that I experienced then.
With the stock market volatile, we started to worry that people would be especially vulnerable to fraud. Investment Fraud Can Happen to Anyone and Madoff Investment Fraud: Could It Happen to You are our way of reminding everyone to be especially careful for fraud now.
While I'm looking forward to blogging in 2009, I'm hopeful that we will have different themes to write about! However, we are committed to providing timely, unbiased, and practical commentary about saving and investing no matter. Hold onto your hats -- I'm predicting that it will be an unpredictable year!
November 30, 2008
I have been thinking about financial wellness a lot in the last couple of months. On September 5th, I wrote a blog, "Financial Wellness ... What does it mean to you?" exploring the definition of financial wellness. Over Thanksgiving weekend, my husband and I had time to sit down and think through our financial situation. We talked about how financially secure we feel in some ways, and don't feel in other ways. Talking about it helped put the current financial situation in perspective. However, I imagine financial wellness and financial security are concepts most of us don't spend much time on until they're lacking.
Lately many people's financial security has been shaky. Overall, people's homes, jobs, and investments all seem much less secure than they did a year ago. I know many people are wondering, "What should I do about my investments?" And, "What can I do to manage a work layoff or a cut in work hours?" Or, "What are my best choices to prepare for this unusual economic time?"
University of Illinois Extension's mission is to help people make informed decisions about all kinds of topics, including finances. We recognize that this unusual economic time requires a special focus. Thus, we have initiated the Getting Through Tough Financial Times (GTTFT) initiative. The GTTFT resources are designed to help you identify ways to manage your resources wisely during this financial crisis.
The new Getting Through Tough Financial Times website provides timely resources, links to related money management resources, and a listing of events throughout Illinois. This is your "one-stop" shop for all University of Illinois Extension resources that will help you if your financial security is threatened. Currently, the website is organized around such topics as: Avoiding Money Traps, Setting Spending Priorities, Managing Your Debt, Talking with Creditors, Saving and Investing in Turbulent Times, and Spend Smart/Save Smart tips. New resources are added weekly as the economic situation evolves.
Another upcoming resource, "Saving and Investing in Turbulent Times," is a statewide teleconference seminar with campus-based professors and Extension educators (most who are regular contributors to this blog) to help answer questions regarding what to do with your money in today's market. U of I Extension provides factual information not motivated by sales of investment products. During the seminar, we will talk about:
In addition, the final half hour will be a Q & A session. Bring your questions!
The seminar will be offered at local University of Illinois Extension offices by teleconference on December 16, 2008 at 1:30 p.m. or 7:00 p.m., and repeated on January 20, 2009. Contact your local County Extension Office for registration information. This event is part of the GTTFT initiative.
I hope that our financial wellness – both for individuals and our nation – improves significantly in the next year. In the meantime, it's up to us to manage our financial resources as best as we can. Click on my name below to ask questions or add a comment related to this blog. I would love to hear from you :)
April 17, 2008
Got a financial question? I'm willing to bet that you can find a free workshop during Money Smart Week Chicago that will answer it. Money Smart Week runs from April 20 to 26, 2008, and you can find a workshop on almost every conceivable financial topic.
Several years ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago began assembling a group of partners to provide free financial education workshops for the public during Money Smart Week. This annual focus on financial education has grown by leaps and bounds. This year, the number of partner agencies and organizations has grown to more than 200, and more than 350 financial workshops will be offered. Under the Fed's leadership, other cities and regions have also adopted the Money Smart Week idea.
University of Illinois Extension has been partner in this annual financial education effort since almost the very beginning. This year, I will personally be teaching 10 workshops next week. One of them is a workshop via conference call--you can participate in the workshop from your home or desk at work. You can see a list of those workshops below, or download the list here. The Federal Reserve Bank provides an on-line calendar where you can search the entire list of 350+ workshops to find the ones that interest you. You'll find the calendar at www.moneysmartweek.org/chicago.
Spring 2008 Workshops with Karen Chan
Who Gets the Money? Rules for Taking Distributions from Tax-Deferred Retirement Plans
Putting money into IRAs and other tax-deferred retirement savings plans was a smart thing to do. Understanding the rules about taking the money out is equally important. This workshop will explain
Location I: Monday, April 21 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm at Morton Grove Public Library, 6140 Lincoln Ave., Morton Grove, IL 60053. Register by April 21 by calling the Morton Grove Library at 847-965-4220
Location II: Wednesday, April 23 from 10:00 to 11:30 am via conference call from your home or office. Register at https://webs.extension.uiuc.edu/registration/?RegistrationID=1474. When you register, you will receive instructions for calling in to the workshop. Handouts will be emailed to you.
Planning for What If...?
Learn about tools individuals and families can use to plan financially – whether total assets are small or great – for emergencies such as disability, incapacity, or death, and life changes such as marriage, remarriage, and divorce. We'll cover powers of attorney, wills, trusts, insurance, and more. Learn whether you'll owe estate tax, how to title property to assure easy transfer at death, whether Medicaid will pay for your nursing home care, and more.
Thursday, April 24 from 9:00am– 10:30am at Mount Prospect Public Library, 10 S. Emerson St., Mount Prospect, IL 60056. Preregister by April 24 (or April 17 if special accommodations are needed) by calling the Mt. Prospect Library Registration Desk at 847-253-5675.
Choosing a Financial Professional
Learn how to how to find a financial planner you can trust. Learn the questions to ask, what the credentials and letters after the advisor's name mean, and red flags.
Location I: Monday, April 21 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Chicago Public Library - Austin-Irving Branch, 6100 W. Irving Park, Chicago, IL 60634
Location II: Tuesday, April 22 from 7:00pm – 8:00pm at Indian Trails Library, 355 S. Schoenbeck Rd., Wheeling, IL 60090. Register by April 15, 2008 by calling 847-459-4100 or email MShapiro@indiantrailslibrary.org
Making Your Money Last in Retirement
Learn strategies for managing your investments, retirement plans, and expenses in retirement to insure you don't outlive your money. How can you determine a sustainable amount to withdraw from your assets each year? Should you buy an annuity? Most financial workshops talk about ways to build your wealth while you're working; this workshop will talk about how to stretch what you've got.
Thursday, April 24 from 2:00pm– 3:00pm at Glenview Public Library, 1930 Glenview Rd., Glenview, IL 60025. Register by April 23, 2008 by calling the Glenview Public Library Information Desk at 847-729-7500.
Tax Breaks for Higher Education
Learn which of nine breaks you can claim if you or your child are taking college or other post-secondary school classes. Get all the details about qualifying for the Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits, Education Savings Accounts, and 529 plans.
Friday, April 25 from 12:00pm– 1:00pm at Chicago Public Library - Harold Washington Center, 400 S. State Chicago, IL 60605.
A Teen's Guide to Plastic: Myths and Truths
Participate in a teen talk show starring you! In 'Credit: Myth or Truth?,' you'll learn about credit problems, credit reports, credit cards, and the differences between debit and credit. Adults working with teen groups are encouraged to register and bring their group to any of these sessions.
Location I: Monday, April 21 from 11:00am – 12:00pm at Chicago Public Library, Garfield Ridge Branch, 6348 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, IL 60638. Register by April 18 by calling the Garfield Ridge Branch at 312-747-6094.
Location II: Wednesday, April 23 from 4:30pm – 5:30pm at Chicago Public Library, Sherman Park Branch, 5440 S. Racine Ave., Chicago, IL 60609. Register by April 18 by calling the Sherman Park Branch at 312-747-0477
Location III: Tuesday, April 22 from 4:30pm – 5:30pm at Chicago Public Library, Roden Branch, 6083 N. Northwest Hwy., Chicago IL 60631. Register by April 18 by calling the Roden Branch at 312-744-1478
For a searchable calendar of all Money Smart Week events, go to www.MoneySmartWeek.org/Chicago.
March 27, 2008
Finances! Do you ever feel like there's too much to learn and no place to start? I work in financial management education and I often feel like it's overwhelming. What's the answer?
Just pick something specific, go to an event or read an article, and add a little bit to your knowledge over time. This is my strategy and I do think it makes a difference. I know more now than I did five years ago – and plan to keep learning.
So, where to start? In Illinois, we have a great opportunity coming up in April. Hundreds of free classes and events that help consumers learn to manage their personal finances will be offered throughout the state during Money Smart Week®.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (which serves most of Illinois) and hundreds of partner organizations dedicated to financial literacy coordinate the week. University of Illinois Extension is an important partner in this event. Money Smart Week is designed to educate consumers about money management and generate awareness of financial education available on a wide range of topics such as saving, investing and using credit wisely.
The activities are free and held in communities throughout the state, including Champaign/Urbana, Bloomington/Normal, Peoria and Rockford, April 6- 12. Chicago's Money Smart week will take place April 20 – 26. To see the online calendar of events go to www.moneysmartweek.org.
No matter where you live, you can take advantage of some of these free classes. For example, The Road to Retire Well is offered by telephone. Because this program is by telephone, you can call in from your home or work or wherever you are comfortable! The Road to Retire Well discusses the tax benefits of retirement plans (such as 401(k)s and IRAs) and how to gain the most from your retirement plan. For more information and to pre-register, go to the University of Illinois Exension Countryside Center at http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/countrysidecenter/.
Choose one workshop to attend or one article to read, and begin to add to your financial knowledge. Over time you'll be surprised how much you know!
Comments? Email us at RetireWell@uiuc.edu. Your replies will be posted :)
February 27, 2008
Take the steps not the elevator. Park at the far end of the parking lot and walk. Take the family for a Sunday walk rather than a Sunday drive.
It seems wherever we turn, there's someone encouraging us to increase our exercise and become healthier. And, the message is, "a few small steps can make the difference."
America Saves message is very similar: small steps towards savings can add up. America Saves is a nationwide campaign to encourage people to increase savings and build wealth.
This week is America Saves Week. All across America people are setting saving goals and beginning to take the small, but important, steps to building their wealth. You can join America Saves at www.americasaves.org. Benefits include newsletters, free financial coaching, and many, many saving tips at their website.
Even though I know changing my exercise habits would improve my health, I find it very hard to regularly and consistently take time to exercise. However, finding ways to save money isn't as much of a challenge for me. (Are there people out there who can change their exercise habits but not their saving habits?) So, what works for me?
Just do it! I find it best to make a decision to save X amount, and then put the decision on automatic. For example, using payroll deduction to deposit money into a retirement plan means that I don't even get a chance to think about spending the money. Decide once and then it happens over and over again.
Know what your goal is. Saving just for the sake of saving seems silly – why would you do this? However, saving so that I can take a vacation, send my kids to college, or even quit working someday – these are reasons that make sense to save and invest money. At least they make sense to me.
Track spending for several weeks. When I've tracked my spending (and I mean every dollar spent!) I've been amazed at where my money actually goes. Once I know where my money goes, then I can decide if I'm happy with this OR if there are changes that I want to make. Making changes can lead to finding money to save.
One last thing: watch out for small amounts of money that you pay for regularly. For example, think about your cell phone or cable TV contract. You know you want a cell phone or cable TV – decision made. But when you go to set-up the contract, there's lots of opportunities to add in small monthly charges. And you get to pay these extra options every month! You may find money to save by changing some of these contracts.
Add it up. Use a calculator like those on the Plan Well, Retire Well website to see how small changes add up to a big difference. A fun calculator, "Dollars from Dimes" is in the Start Saving section.
Celebrate America Saves Week and take that small step towards starting to save or increasing your savings. With time, your small steps will add up to real wealth. And, I'll keep working on doing a better job with exercise.
Comments? We'd love to hear from you. Send your thoughts to RetireWell@uiuc.edu. Your comments will be posted :)
January 9, 2008
I recently did a search to see how many financial blogs there are with URLs ending in .edu. I was a little surprised that I found only a couple, although there are scads of them on commercial websites. Our team of four financial educators has decided to fill that gap!
The Cooperative Extension Service, of which we are a part, is charged with providing research based, unbiased educational information to the public. And that will be our aim with this blog–to cut through the noise and provide you with concise, reliable information about any and all financial issues that impact your ability to plan and save for the future. We also hope to have a little fun along the way. We invite you to join us.
You can expect a new posting each Thursday, with additional posts when current events or random thoughts warrant it.
Since this is my first posting, let me tell you a little about myself. I work in the Chicago area, teaching workshops about everything from choosing the best credit card to choosing mutual funds. I am a Certified Financial Planner™ and I choose to use that training as an educator.
My second most favorite thing about work is to be in front of an audience and see the facial expression that comes when a person learns something, probably something they had found confusing up until that moment. Then, my most favorite thing happens: people start asking great questions based on their new-found understanding.
I won't be able to see your face as your read this blog, but I do hope you will email and let us know when this blog has cleared up a confusing concept for you, or helped you make a positive financial change.
To get a taste of the kinds of things we will talk about on this blog, visit our free web site, Plan Well-Retire Well. You can check it out at www.RetireWell.uiuc.edu.