$mart Money Week Offers Citywide Financial Education

Mary Rittenhouse
Center for Economic Education director, 308.865.8707

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is one of the partners f or Kearney’s first $martMoney Week, a citywide financial education event set for Nov. 7-11.

The theme of the week-long series of financial workshops and seminars is “Learn to stretch your money, because money doesn’t come with instructions.”

Nearly 50 seminars and workshops will take place throughout the Kearney area at businesses and organizations, including A.G. Edwards, 1st Inn Gold, Sunrise Middle School, Platte Valley State Bank, The Senior Center, the Kearney Public Library and the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce. The Kearney Public Library will host a display of sample resources on personal financial topics available to the public throughout the week.

The events are designed to educate consumers about personal financial management and entrepreneurship, and to create awareness of a wide range of topics. These events are directed toward a variety of audiences including senior citizens, educators, college students, women and children.

Free classes, seminars and activities for this event will include starting a new business, tenants’ rights, identity theft and being smart with consumer credit. Among the activities for children is a hands-on workshop about money and its history.

This is the first year for $martMoney Week in Kearney, and Kearney is only the fourth   city in the United States to organize such an event.

According to Mary Rittenhouse, director for the Center for Economic Education, through the collaborative efforts of the $martMoney Week Advisory Council, and Kearney’s community spirit, the number of planned events for this first year surpasses what was experienced the first year of Chicago’s Money $mart Week.

Rittenhouse was a part of the organizing team that got the first Money $mart Week in Chicago off the ground, and has worked to get a similar activity started in Kearney since she moved here.

“The goal is to get the information to the people in a user-friendly way,” Rittenhouse said. “If we can get them out from behind desks into a less intimidating environment, individuals will be more likely to ask questions, and we’ll be able to help them out a little bit more.”

The idea started in Chicago; the city hosted the first such event in 2002 with the help of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Since 2002, Chicago has hosted their Money $mart Weeks on an annual basis, with Detroit following suit the past couple of years.