A Publication of WTVP

Dozens of Peoria businesses are collaborating to bring the Federal Reserve’s Money Smart Week (MSW) to Peorians of all ages this May. Recently, scores of businessmen and women filled a large downtown conference room to prepare for the weeklong event.

Interestingly enough, several of the businesses teaming up are outright competitors of one another. National City, Associated Bank, Busey Bank and CEFCU are just a few of the financial institutions working together in the planning process. Many members of the media will be involved as well, and nearly all of these businesses are providing “sweat equity” and just plain equity, too. The goal is to better equip Peorians on how to control their money so it does not end up controlling them. “I have never seen a group this large get together at this point in the event planning process, and it is just fantastic,” said Alejo Torres, the Senior Outreach Program Manager in Corporate Communications for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Money Smart Week will feature more than 40 free programs geared toward adults and children at several locations throughout Peoria. The objective is to strengthen the financial literacy and financial education for consumers of all ages, which will result in better money management skills. One adult program is the Good $ense Financial Course, taught by yours truly. Over the last several years, I have seen hundreds of folks become more financially savvy by developing spending plans, choosing a record-keeping system and by discovering their monetary tendencies and spending habits. They leave with the realization that being financially faithful leads to financial freedom, regardless of level of income.

The Bible has over 2,000 verses with direct and indirect references to money. More ink is devoted to that topic than any other, including sin, sex and Satan. And the verses are not just for folks who are one paycheck away from disaster, but for those who are in good financial shape as well. The Good $ense Financial Course will be taught at Riverside Community Church on Friday, May 11, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Saturday, May 12, from 8:30 a.m. to noon. In order to comply with the spirit of Money Smart Week, the $25 class fee will be waived. For details, call 682-1800.

The Money Smart Kid essay contest is devoted to middle and high school students who are encouraged to answer a specific question (relating to their grade level) with an essay of 300 words or less. Two students, one student from grades 5 to 8 and one high school student, will be named this year’s Money Smart Kids, each winning up to a $1,500 scholarship and a chance to be Peoria’s Financial Literacy Ambassador for a year. For details, call CEFCU at 633-3423.

If you would like to be a part of Money Smart Week, simply dial Alejo Torres at 312-322-2287. But remember, MSW should not be a part of your corporate marketing plan—Peoria businesses are involved for the betterment of our community. In fact, sales pitches and commercial marketing are prohibited at the event. Money Smart Week is about helping families and students understand how to invest, save and manage money. IBI