FREE Money Management Workshops
Did you make a New Year’s resolution to improve your budgeting techniques or organize your financial records to help save some money? Well, here it is June and I bet most of us have not made any progress toward saving much. With the rise in gas and food prices, many Butler County residents are struggling just to maintain their quality of life. There is some help for you.
The Ohio Treasurer’s Office is offering their FREE Smart Money Choices 2011 conferences series. Smart Money Choices is a financial-planning conference for all Ohioans presented by the State Treasurer’s office and supported by a variety of statewide and regional partners. This conference is part of the State Treasurer’s office commitment to provide Ohioans with the knowledge they need to make more informed personal financial decisions. Smart Money Choices is the expanded version of the Women & Money Conference that had been held for several years under a different administration. The new Smart Money Choices conference is designed to reach a broader number of Ohioans.
It is a full-day seminar which runs from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Registration opens at 7:30 am. The event includes an opening session, panel discussion, four breakout sessions of your choice taught by financial planning experts, and a closing session.
Courses will include: Budgeting, Credit & Debt Management, Consumer Fraud, Estate Planning, Insurance, Investments, Kids & Money, Programs to Help Ohioans, Retirement Planning and Social Security. I have attended all of the sessions over the years and every one had real-life value. You will receive a resource book with additional information. There will be time for questions and you will have opportunities to set more in-depth meeting times with many of the presenters. I highly recommend this program. It is worth taking a vacation day from work, if necessary. You will learn enough information to make it worth your while.
The closest location for Butler County is at UC Raymond Walters College on June 24, 2011. But there are five other locations throughout Ohio. Call 1-800-228-1102, option #2 or email: www.ohiotreasurer.gov for more information about registration.
There are a few things you can do right now to protect yourself and get your financial house in order. Identity theft is a white collar crime that is on the rise. People mistakenly think that if someone steals their identity and empties their bank account or applies for a credit card that the bank or credit card company will settle the problem immediately. Wrong!! Less than 10% of violators are ever caught. The average identity theft case involves about $18,000! Research shows that clearing your name can take months, or even years. You can expect to put in an average of 225 hours of phone calls, filing reports and copying papers.
You can protect yourself by:
- Ordering a FREE credit report. By federal law you are entitled to one FREE credit report every year from each of the three agencies using the website: www.annualcreditreport.com. Caution: there are many other websites out there, but this one is free. There is a fee if you want your credit score but that is not necessary if you only want to check who is accessing your credit reports. You may be surprised by what you find.
- Buy a good cross-cutting paper shredder. Shred every piece of mail that has your name and/or address on it.
- Change your habits. Have the post office or a trusted neighbor hold your mail for even short weekend trips. Have your checks deposited electronically. Mail your bills from the post office instead of leaving the checks in your mail box all day and alerting thieves with that red flag. Put minimum information on your personal checks. NEVER give out your Social Security number, birth date etc, over the phone. Stop telephone solicitations using: www.donotcall.com.
- Clean out your purse. Do you really need to carry all those credit cards? Do not carry your Social Security card, birth certificate, etc. You may have to make an extra trip, but it will be worth it if your purse is stolen.
Do not become a victim of crime. Consider attending a Smart Money Choices conference to learn how to spend less and budget better while protecting you from financial disaster.
News release provided by Karen Lavender, Certified Family Life Educator, Ohio State University Extension