April 4, 2014 - 14:10 — KentPalmer

This term, Financial Literacy, is used quite frequently by government agencies that seek to improve the general welfare of our citizens.  It is also a common term used within the library’s sphere of influence.  But, for the general public it may have less meaning.  So, just what is financial literacy?

The online investment encyclopedia, www. Investopedia.com, gives the definition as: The possession of knowledge and understanding of financial matters. Financial literacy is mainly used in connection with personal finance matters. Financial literacy often entails the knowledge of properly making decisions pertaining to certain personal finance areas like real estate, insurance, investing, saving (especially for college), tax planning and retirement. It also involves intimate knowledge of financial concepts like compound interest, financial planning, the mechanics of a credit card, advantageous savings methods, consumer rights, time value of money, etc.”

That website goes on to explain that absent financial literacy people are subject to making poor decisions about their finances that can potentially harm their financial well-being.  Simply put, there are some matters related to financial issues that are better understood if the individual is more financially literate.  This impacts everyday decisions such as opening bank accounts, the best ways to save for large purchases or future college expense or more importantly for retirement.

With so much of an individual’s financial health riding on so many daily decisions, it seems appropriate to focus considerable energy and effort on attaining a high degree of financial literacy.  For these reasons, the Naperville Public Library has been a long-term supporter of a major financial literacy effort spearheaded by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago for the past 13 years called Money Smart Week. 

During Money Smart Week several hundred workshops are made available for no cost to participants in the Chicagoland area.  In fact, Money Smart Week has expanded to 47 states, where tens of thousands of workshops are available to the general public.  This year, the Naperville Public Library's programs will run from April 7 through April 12.  There are programs for every age group and they will cover many of the financial decisions and issues mentioned in the Investopedia.com definition of financial literacy.

Check out these workshop offerings and increase your own family’s financial literacy:

Brian Ahern, Weiss Financial Ratings Series
Learn how to determine the financial stability of a Bank, Credit Union, Life or Property Insurance Company, Mutual Fund or even Medigap Insurance. The library online resource, Financial Ratings Series Online, provides accurate, independent ratings and financial planning tools you need to make informed decisions about financial institutions.
95th Street Library        Monday, April 7, 2014        6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Laura LaBelle, LFE Institute
The Federal Reserve Bank estimates there’s a $6.6 trillion gap between what future retirees will have and the amount they’ll need during retirement.  Whether you are two months or 20 years from retirement, this workshop will help you learn specific, concrete strategies to bridge the retirement gap … to live on less, but enjoy it more!
95th Street Library        Tuesday, April 8, 2014        6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Each year, the price of college tuition rises higher than the annual inflation rate.  With these steep increases, how can college bound students afford to pay college tuition?  Participants in this workshop will learn how to break down the cost of college, understand the financial aid/scholarship aspect of the college search process and learn tips on how to maximize their dollar for college.  This program is designed for parents and students and will be an interactive presentation so bring your smart device (phone or tablet).
Nichols Library        Wednesday, April 9            7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Monika Tkaczyck, Mortgage Consultant, 1st Advantage Mortgage
This workshop provides an excellent overview of the home buying process.  The topics include household budgeting, building credit, tips on improving credit scores, home loan financing options and down payment assistance programs.  Learn about the importance of selecting the right team (realtor, inspector, attorney and lender), and the roles they play in the process (including home search, contract negotiation and closing).
Nichols Library        Thursday, April 10            6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Credit Union League of Illinois
The Reality Fair is presented by volunteers from the Credit Union League of Illinois.  Teens will learn basic financial literacy skills, such as opening a banking account, interviewing for a job, receiving paychecks, buying necessities, etc.  The Fair kicks off with a pizza lunch for participants.
Nichols Library        Saturday, April 12            12:30 – 3:00 p.m.

Melanie Jane Nicolas, Kids Wealth International Club
The KWIC Money Smart Mini-Camp is a fun experience that stresses developing a strong financial foundation.  Intended for children in grades 1-5 and their parents, we’ll use accelerated learning techniques and break down complicated financial concepts into understandable information by using a variety of role-playing, games, and activities.  Parents will learn how to teach their kids about money, and children will have tools and actionable items to be financially responsible and money smart.  Space is limited and registration is required for this program.  Register online at www.naperville-lib.org, click on the calendar of events.
95th Street Library        Saturday, April 12            2:00 – 4:30 p.m.