Extension News

‘Smart Investing’ Courses Begin at Rural Iowa Libraries

Smart investing @ your library

9/16/2010

AMES, Iowa – The “Smart investing @ your library®” program is getting under way in 25 rural libraries throughout the state. It promotes investor education resources and programming and is a collaboration of the State Library of Iowa, the Ames Public Library and Iowa State University Extension.

The State Library of Iowa was awarded a grant of $98,251 from the American Library Association (ALA) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation. Beginning this fall and continuing in spring 2011, the libraries will host courses that combine face-to-face and online learning taught by ISU Extension family resource management program specialists. Three different courses will be offered simultaneously at six weeks each: one for first-time investors, one for those preparing for retirement and one for retirees.

“Iowa libraries empower people to make decisions and solve problems,” said State Librarian Mary Wegner. “We are delighted to partner with Iowa State University Extension and the Ames Public Library to provide these classes about financial literacy in rural communities in the state.”

“This is a great opportunity for ISU Extension to work with local libraries to educate Iowans about wise saving and investing,” said Cindy Fletcher, ISU professor and extension family resource management specialist. “The courses will provide information tailored to each age group and will encourage participants to learn more and then take action.”

The FINRA Foundation’s National Financial Capability Survey showed that American families need knowledge and skills to increase their long-term financial security, Fletcher said. According to the survey, about 60 percent of Americans don’t know how much money they’ll need for their retirement. Only a third of those who are saving for a child’s college education are using tax-advantaged accounts, such as a 529 plan. And more than half of Americans do not have money set aside for an emergency, such as sickness or job loss.

These are some of the topics that will be covered in the "Smart investing @ your library®" courses, Fletcher said. “The courses encourage people to either start saving and investing or to take a second look at their current situation and make changes.”

Through the "Smart investing@ your library®" program, participants are empowered to make smart financial decisions, both for long-term investing and day-to-day money matters. The program is especially concerned with helping those who might otherwise have limited access to important information relevant to their financial well-being.

The State Library of Iowa selected the following libraries for participation in "Smart investing @ your library®." Program kickoff dates and times are shown. Iowans may contact their participating library to sign up for the courses.

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life.

The American Library Association (ALA) provides leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.

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Contacts :

Annette Wetteland, State Library of Iowa, 1-800-248-4483, 515-281-7574, annette.wetteland@lib.state.ia.us

Cynthia Fletcher, Human Development and Family Studies, 515-294-8521, cynthia@iastate.edu

Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, 515-294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu