Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A WELLNESS SEMINAR FOR FINANCES; MoneyWise Week Could Be Profitable for Area Residents

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A WELLNESS SEMINAR FOR FINANCES; MoneyWise Week Could Be Profitable for Area Residents

Article excerpt

Byline: Drew Dixon

It's one thing to be physically healthy, another to be financially fit. Over the next week, organizers of the first MoneyWise Week hope area to help residents get in financial shape.

Organizers will offer more than 100 sessions on personal finance from Monday through Friday throughout Northeast Florida. The events are free and no businesses or investment firms will be allowed to make sales pitches. More than 60 partner organizations are providing volunteers who are experts in finance to lead the classes, seminars and other events.

"What we wanted to do was to be able to really create a movement and to launch the concept that everybody, every family, every household and every business needs to become money wise," said Dawn Lockhart, president of Family Foundations, a local nonprofit that provides credit counseling and is organizing the week.

Lockhart said the MoneyWise Week is patterned after a similar program that started in Chicago called Money Smart Week. The financial consulting and educational seminars focuses on everything from handling to mortgages to preparing for retirement to managing investments, to name a few subjects. It's essentially a wellness program for money.

"We decided to create a model that would really emphasize celebrating financial education," Lockhart said Tuesday.

She said the program was designed to emphasize fiscal health in a way similar to how American Heart Association campaigns promote physical fitness.

"That's the same purpose of MoneyWise Week," Lockhart said. "If you talk about how to become money wise, it takes a different approach to celebrating long-term goals. We're really changing the conversation."

Just as milk builds strong bones or seat belts save lives, she said, being money wise can stabilize families, which in turn strengthens communities.

Lockhart said the sessions aim at a holistic approach to financial fitness, but some of the hottest topics include mortgage financing, managing loans and debt, and goals-oriented retirement financing. She said many people don't understand that when you borrow money, it comes with strings attached.

"With the best of intentions, they may make decisions that have tremendous financial consequences," Lockhart said. …

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