AMES, Iowa --Iowans wanting to improve their personal financial management skills will have many opportunities during Money Smart Week, April 17-24. Activities and events that stress the importance of financial literacy, inform consumers where they can get help and provide free educational seminars are planned across the Midwest in collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. In Iowa, those activities receive leadership from Joanne Kuster, of Johnston, the state chair of Money Smart Week Iowa.
Kuster traveled the state during March with “Ben Franklin” to set the stage for the Money Smart Week celebration. “Ben and I visited Iowa middle schools to share information with students about earning money and investing, and to encourage students to participate in the Money Smart Kid essay contest,” said Kuster. “Essay finalists may be asked to read their essay at Money Smart Week kick-off events Saturday, April 17.”
Money Smart Week Events across Iowa
More than 80 Iowa events involving 100 partners are scheduled for Money Smart Week 2010; all are free and all are educational. Kuster said Margaret Van Ginkel, Iowa State University Extension family resource specialist has been involved since the first Iowa celebration in 2007. Phyllis Zalenski, eastern Iowa extension specialist, joined the effort in 2008; this year Mary Beth Kaufman, extension specialist in Harlan, and Mary Weinand, extension specialist in Mt. Pleasant, are helping coordinate and offer events in their regions.
“Just like ISU Extension, Money Smart Week has no sales pitches and we don’t make available our participant lists to anyone,” said Kuster. “The scheduled events cover topics from avoiding identity theft complete with document shredding events, to piggy bank pageants, selecting a financial adviser and the very popular Money Smart Women’s conferences.”
Three Money Smart Women’s Conferences
ISU Extension’s Van Ginkel has been instrumental in organizing the Des Moines Money Smart Women’s Conference and serves as a speaker at the conference.
“Money Smart Week is a terrific opportunity for ISU Extension to share basic financial literacy education with more Iowans,” said Van Ginkel. “ISU Extension specialists are supporting Money Smart Week efforts in all parts of the state, as event planners, promoters and as educators. We partner with schools, financial institutions and a variety of Iowa organizations and businesses to extend educational offerings to more people during this week. Of course, the Money Smart Conference is the cornerstone of the celebration.”
The Money Smart Women Conference 2010 is offered in three Iowa locations – April 17 in Des Moines, April 23 in Davenport and April 24 in Cedar Rapids. The conference is billed as the premier financial and investing workshop for Iowa women. Kuster says organizers recognize that women want financial education. “Women want to learn so they can be more independent and make good financial decisions,” she said.
Visit www.womenandmoneyconference.com and www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKZeNAFl20I to learn more and register for one of the Money Smart Women conferences. A complete calendar of Money Smart Week events is available at www.chicagofed.org/webpages/education/msw/ia/index.cfm by clicking on “online calendar” then selecting dates and location for the search. Events are planned for youth and adults in many locations.