As challenging as it can be to earn money, learning to manage money can be just as difficult. Money Smart Day can help. On Saturday, April 18, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and partner organizations will present free seminars on topics such as budgeting, avoiding scams, buying a house and understanding credit.
Money Smart Day will be at the Kansas City Public Library’s Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., Kansas City, Missouri. Doors open at 10 a.m. with an exhibit hall of community and financial groups providing a range of financial education resources. The hour-long seminars run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, see the agenda.
Because understanding credit is a key topic in the financial education sessions, volunteers will be on site to help attendees pull free copies of their credit reports. Last year, more than 40 Money Smart Day attendees received free copies of their credit report.
Why financial health matters
Despite the strong economy, in the third quarter of 2019 the credit card delinquency rate was 7.7%, its highest level in seven years, and the delinquency rate on auto loans was 8%, up sharply from 7.3% one year earlier, according to the Tenth District Consumer Credit Report. There are many factors beyond income that affect financial health, such as understanding credit and access to sound financial products.
Relevant to people of all income levels
Money Smart Day topics initially were geared toward low- and moderate-income individuals and families. Nearly half of those who completed session evaluations in 2019, however, indicated they had household incomes of more than $50,000. This closely mirrors the income distribution of attendees in 2017 and 2018, suggesting the topics are relevant to people at all income levels.
Having an effect
Responses on past session evaluations show positive outcomes.
- 82 percent of 2018 respondents said they were likely to change their money behaviors as a result of the information they received.
- Three attendees who identified themselves as having outstanding payday loans were connected on site to a payday loan alternative. “That’s real impact!” said Becky Gripp, a Money Smart Day presenter.
Money Smart’s evolution
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago started Money Smart Week in 2002 as a public awareness campaign to help consumers increase their financial knowledge and become more financially healthy. Money Smart Week in Kansas City started in 2007, with events hosted in collaboration with the Kansas City Fed, FDIC, financial institutions and community organizations. Money Smart Day was added in 2008 as a featured event of the campaign.
Today, Money Smart initiatives are available across the country. In Kansas City, it has become a year-round campaign known as MoneySmart KC. The campaign’s External Linkwebsite includes a calendar of dozens of money-related events across the Kansas City area. Representatives from the KC Fed, FDIC, community organizations and financial service providers serve as a steering committee for the campaign and help manage the website.