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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Money Smart Week in Illinois

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.


As "Ben Franklin" said during an interview about Money Smart Week on WCIA Channel 3, "we all need to be more informed about money. ... how to spend it wisely AND keep it in our family."


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


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


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!

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