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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Money Smart Week Chicago, April 20 to 26, 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

Money Smart Week – 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

  • the rules for taking distributions for those younger than 59½, those between 59½ and 70½, and those who have reached the important age of 70½ .
  • how distributions are taxed and how to avoid additional penalties.
  • rolling over money from one account to another, even if you're already taking annual distributions.
  • what happens to the money when you're gone
  • what rules apply if you inherit your spouse's IRA.

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 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

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

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