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Money Smart. Money Information, Money Education

Help us help young people

Four people make a workshop!

Start Money Smart Workshop

Photo by Bobbie Bush

  • How to maintain a checking account?
  • How do credit cards work?
  • What will come out of their paychecks?
  • How to stay organized so bills get paid?

Workshop Pricing

Funding may be available through grants received through Fiscal Sponsorship.

Teenagers & Young Adults
Number of attendees Price per attendee per class
4 - 9 $35
10 - 19 $30
20 - 29 $25
Over 30 $25

Workshops can include classes in succession or over several days.

What's been going on...

United Way Mothers, Daughters & Money

On September 13th Jameel Webb-Davis was asked to speak at Simmons College during the 3rd Annual Mothers, Daughters & Money Conference sponsored by the United Way. Jameel spoke to the daughters regarding money myths and maintaining checking accounts. The young women also participated in a computer activity sponsored by MoneyU. The conference offered workshops for adults as well sponsored by YWCA, the Federal Reserve Bank and others. For more information on this conference and other United Way programs click here.

Own Your Money

Belinda Fuchs (shown below on the right) owns the organization Own Your Money which offers financial seminars and one-on-one coaching to help empower people around their financial futures.

She also hosts a weekly TV show called Money On Your Mind where she invited Jameel Webb-Davis to come speak about the workshops she's been providing through Start Money Smart. Jameel invited Karen Bowen, a woman who has attended several of her workshops and asked her to speak on how Jameel's philosophy on managing money has benefited her life. These episodes of Money on Your Mind air Thursdays at 7:30PM during the month of October on the local cable network in Somerville, MA. For more information about Own Your Money check out OwnYourMoney.com.

What's coming up...

Weekly Financial Support Group Begins

Start Money Smart has been asked to host a weekly series at the Cambridge Women's Center talking to women regarding their specific financial situations. Women will be encouraged to bring their personal questions and we will work to provide specific answers that evening. Cambridge Women's Center is a place where women can go for resources and support for empowerment and independence in their lives. For more information on the center and its services, click here.

Haverhill High Starts Money Smart

Haverhill Community Violence Coalition, Inc. (HCVC) has been extremely supportive of Start Money Smart in recognizing the link between financial empowerment and addressing violence in our communities. This year HCVC has opened a doorway to Haverhill High School in allowing Start Money Smart to come in and teach the Success Academy, a program for struggling freshman students. This will be a weekly program over 20 weeks covering all topics related to personal finance.

Economic Crisis

I'm sitting here watching CNN talk about the economic crisis our country is just beginning to deal with. The 700 billion dollar bailout has not received the votes and the country's economic future is completely unknown.

Do I have answers? Absolutely not. But I do realize the significance of how important the message I'm trying to relay is to each individual's economic survival - pay attention to what you spend more than what you make.

This country's economic philosophy over the last 20 - 30 years has been based on borrowing to buy what you can't afford. As long as you have assets, income, money - everything will be okay. In the midst of all the debt accumulation, most people I meet can't tell me how much money they spend to live. However, they are very clear on how much they make, and if money's tight they feel like the answer is to focus on making more money.

Let's look at the loans we give out to the average American. Let's forget about sub-prime mortgages. When we give out a credit card or a car loan or a mortgage, what questions do the banks ask? When my husband and I borrowed money to buy our house, they asked us about our income, and they asked for proof. They also asked about our other assets. They looked to see if we had debt on our credit report, and that was it. It was left up to me to determine how much I spend on groceries, car maintenance, child care and Christmas gifts. And that's where a lot of our money goes! Banks need to ask those same questions.

Most people who get in over their head in debt have never taken out the time to add up what they spend every month. And the banks don't bother to ask us either. I mentioned in a previous blog entry how people will make the statement, "Don't borrow what you can't afford," but I'll argue that most people don't know what they can't afford.

The most helpful change in our lending practices will be to insist that people who borrow money have truly calculated their actual expenses. Make that part of the application! Not just credit card debt and car loans, but everything they spend money on - food, clothes, dinners out, everything! People don't have to prove it, just calculate it. I would firmly believe that only then would many realize they can't afford to pay back money they've borrowed.

Grants and Awards available
for Financial Education...

National Council on Economic Education

The United States Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement has designated the National Council on Economic Education (NCEE) as the agency to implement the Excellence in Economic Education (EEE) Program during 2008-2009. The goal of the grant is to promote economic and financial literacy among all K-12 students by: increasing students' knowledge of, and achievement in, economics to enable them to become more productive and informed citizens... For more information click here.

Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Grant awards will support innovative, achievable, "out of the box" approaches that expand educational, practice, and policy beyond its current status in the New England States. Successful proposals will support the development and strengthening of multiple pathways to increase the variety and quality of educational delivery systems to higher learning for underserved students. For more information click here.

FDIC Chairman's Award Program

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and to reinforce its ongoing commitment to consumers, FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair announced the Face Your Finances initiative June 16, 2008 at the anniversary celebration in Washington, D.C. As part of this initiative, Chairman Bair will recognize six individuals or organizations from around the country with the first annual Chairman's Award Program for Innovation in Financial Education. For more information click here.

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