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Iowa State University Extension

Plan to stay ahead — and survive bankruptcy

Cynthia Needles Fletcher

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 requires that after people file for bankruptcy, they must complete a personal financial management course. In January the U.S. Department of Justice reapproved ISU Extension to provide this personal financial management education in Iowa. According to Cynthia Needles Fletcher, ISU Extension family resource management specialist, Extension’s course, called Planning to Stay Ahead, helps people take control of their money and rebuild their financial lives post bankruptcy.

Planning to Stay Ahead covers budget development, money management tips, wise use of credit and other consumer information, Fletcher said. The course meets the debtor education requirement of the new law. Course participants receive a certificate that verifies that they have completed this requirement of the bankruptcy process. The certificate must be presented before debts can be discharged.

ISU Extension has been providing personal financial management education to Iowa bankruptcy filers since 2006, Fletcher said. “Offering the course is an excellent match with ISU Extension. Our Extension educators have extensive experience teaching practical money management skills to adult audiences. Evaluations of the course reflect this. During the past year, 100 percent of the participants in the ISU Extension course reported that the teacher was well prepared and the learning materials were helpful, relevant and easy to understand.”

ISU Extension staff members teach the two-hour course throughout Iowa. It features videos, short exercises and ways to apply sound money management practices. The $20 fee (per individual or household) includes a 16-page workbook and all class materials. Course dates, times and locations are posted online.

This article appeared in February 2008 -- From Jack Payne Newsletter