Since 2002, Money Smart Week has been a national public education program coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. This year, Money Smart Week will go virtual, with free webinars available about budgeting, federal financial protections, student loans and much more. Though this year’s webinar selection won’t feature live question-and-answer sessions, you can submit a question when you register for the webinars you want to attend. Money Smart Week doesn’t cost anything for attendees, so go ahead and register today.
- Anyone undergoing financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Anyone interested in learning free financial and budgeting tips
- Students and parents interested in learning more about federal loans
- All webinars available free of charge
- You can attend virtual webinars from anywhere
- Range of timely financial topics related to COVID-19
- No live question and answer segments planned for 2021 event
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Money Smart Week Quick Summary
|All events will go virtual for 2021
|April 10 to April 17, 2021
|Fees and expenses
|Student loan debt management, housing support, general financial management, savings accounts and choosing a bank and more
You can attend Money Smart Week’s virtual seminars and sessions completely free. You can sign up for as many seminars as you’d like through Smart Money Week’s website. You won’t need to pay for any type of entrance fee when you register. Money Smart Week can be an excellent place to begin if you’re searching for a free way to learn more about money management, mortgages or other financial topics.
It's easy to get started with your registration for Money Smart Week, and you won’t need any prior technical knowledge to begin. Here’s how to get started:
- Step 1: Browse the available seminars. You can take a look at all of the available seminars offered through Money Smart Week’s website. Some topics covered include COVID-19 relief, managing a mortgage, talking to children and partners about household finances and more. Choose which seminars you want and double-check your availability offered before you register for the virtual event. Remember that all times listed on the website are in Central Standard Time, so you need to adjust to your time zone if you live outside of the CST area.
- Step 2: Register for the event. Once you know which events you’d like to attend, click the button that says “Register for Money Smart Week 2021 Webinars” at the top of the homepage. Enter your name, email address and ZIP code and select your age range from the drop-down menu. After entering your personal information, choose which webinars you’d like to attend and click on the “select” button to add them to your registration. You can sign up for as many webinars as you’d like.
- Step 3: Submit any questions you have for leaders. Unfortunately, you can't take advantage of live question and answer sessions held during this year’s webinars. If you have a particular question that you’d like presenters to answer, specify it and the webinar that you attend at the bottom of the registration form before you submit your registration.
- Step 4: Finalize your registration. Simply click to finish your registration and wait for Money Smart Week and your chosen events to begin! You’ll receive a virtual link to the webinar closer to your event. We were able to register for multiple events in just a few minutes.
This year’s Money Smart Week will feature 8 unique webinars held throughout the week of April 10. Let’s take a look at the webinars offered and when you can attend each.
If you have an older parent, young child or partner who shares finances with you, you want to have an open line of communication about money. The Talking Cents webinar will cover some of the most important money-related topics that you should bring up with your loved ones, how to broach these sensitive subjects and lessons that you can use to ensure that members of your family know how to talk about spending and saving in a responsible way. The University of Chicago Financial Education Initiative will host this webinar on April 10 at 10 a.m. CST.
Savings: A Little Can Make a Big Difference
If you don’t currently have a savings account (or your account is underfunded) you certainly aren’t alone. About 40% of Americans would struggle to cover a surprise expense of $400 or more because they don’t have the savings. If you want to build a savings account, you might have seen advice that says that you should have at least 3 months’ worth of expenses set aside for emergencies. While this advice might provide you with a large financial safety cushion, it doesn't work for many people struggling to make ends meet.
“Savings: a Little Can Make a Big Difference” might fit your needs if you want to put a little money away each paycheck toward your emergency savings account. Learn more about how little you need to save from each check to begin your emergency savings account and just how much of a difference even a few hundred dollars in your account can make in the event of an unplanned medical, auto repair or home maintenance bill. The FINRA Investor Education Foundation will present this webinar on April 11 at 10 a.m. CST.
Bank on It: Finding Safe and Affordable Bank Accounts
Families who don't use a bank account pay about $40,000 more in financial fees over their lifetime. Finding a safe and affordable banking option that doesn’t charge tons in hidden account fees might seem more difficult than many Americans expect. “Bank on It: Finding Safe and Affordable Bank Accounts” will help you learn more about how to fully analyze and identify hidden fees, overdraft charges and low-balance penalties before they hit your account. You’ll also learn more about how to select a bank that fits your family’s needs and the benefits of utilizing your bank account often. The Economic Awareness Council will present “Bank on It” on April 12 at 12 p.m. CST.
Understanding the Basics of Federal Student Loans
In the age of COVID-19, applying for student loans ends up feeling more confusing and stressful than ever before. “Understanding the Basics of Federal Student Loans” will help parents and students learn more about how to apply for federal aid, new and redesigned programs to help students pursue their education beyond high school, avoiding debt relief scams and much more. “Understanding the Basics of Federal Student Loans” will occur on April 13 at 12:30 p.m. CST by the Office of Federal Student Aid.
Tax-Related Fraud and Identity Theft
Unfortunately, the onset of the current COVID-19 pandemic has made it easier for scammers to trick taxpayers into sacrificing their personal information. Vulnerable tax filers searching for financial assistance can find themselves (and their tax refunds) stolen by scammers looking to take advantage of the upcoming refund season. “Tax-Related Fraud and Identity Theft” will help you recognize COVID-19 tax scams and protect yourself from phishing attempts. Representatives from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will present this webinar on April 14 at 1 p.m. CST.
Managing Personal Finances During COVID-19
From unexpected medical bills to lost wages, you may face an endless number of reasons that you struggle to organize and manage your finances during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Managing Personal Finances During COVID-19” offers tips and plans that you can use to put your finances into “crisis mode.” Topics covered include building and using an emergency savings fund, creating a budget and managing debt. The Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center will present “Managing Personal Finances During COVID-19” on April 15 at 1 p.m. CST.
Housing Protection and Resources
Whether you own your own home or you rent, COVID-19 may have put a strain on your housing budget. Learn more about the protections and programs put in place to help renters cover their monthly payments and about the federal laws that help protect homeowners from foreclosure with this webinar. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will present “Housing Protection and Resources” on April 16 at 12 p.m. CST.
Tips for Managing Money Ups and Downs
“Managing Money Ups and Downs” might be the right webinar for you. Learn about how to build a budget that fits a changing household income and learn additional tips that you can use to meet your monthly financial obligations during this tough time. The University of Wisconsin, Division of Extension, Institute of Human Development and Relationships presents "Managing Money Ups and Downs" on April 17 at 10:30 a.m. CST.
Get Started with Money Smart Week
Do you see the types of webinars that appeal to you? If so, we recommend registering to reserve your space today online. Virtual meeting spaces and free admission means you can attend any webinar you wish, especially if the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on your household finances.
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About Sarah Horvath
Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.