Although we are still in the throes of the winter season, and we have yet to see the green grasses of spring, it is time to turn our attention to another kind of green – money! Financial Wellness is one of our pillars, an important component of strong and healthy families. In the coming months, we will focus on helping people to be well informed about their financial resources, to be ‘smart’ with their money and help them to build or maintain a strong economic position. We are in the heart of tax time, and United Way is proud to offer supports on how to get taxes prepared, filed and how to maximize dedications. Our local AARP volunteers are busy staffing multiple sites to help provide tax preparation assistance for low-income individuals, families and seniors. Click here for the full schedule. In partnership with United Way Worldwide, MyFreeTaxes.com offers free online tax preparation for families with income under $66,000 annually. United Way also has worked this last year to advocate for higher tax credits for the Earned Income Tax Credit, ensuring that hardworking folks can have a little more money in their pockets after tax time. To understand and access all of the resources of the EITC and other tax credits, click here.
The concept of starting early with money management and good habits has come to the forefront in my life in the last several weeks as my 16 year old son secured his first part time job. Along with the new responsibilities came a brand new debit card, a walk-through of responsibilities associated with that at our local bank, and a tutorial from mom on the importance of socking away at least some of his newfound resources for the future. J So far so good – the transfers money to his savings account from each check he receives are the first ‘payments’ he makes toward his future. Giving my son the foundation he needs to be mindful of money, earnings, and saving for the future is important to my husband and myself. Some of the best advice I got early in my career was to save even a little – $25 a paycheck to stat, and build toward stability for my family and myself.
To this end, financial stability is an impact area that Kishwaukee United Way is proud to dedicate resources to in our area. Similar to teaching my son the basics of money management, I am lucky enough to be able to create programs that do the same for others in our community – on a wide variety of topics. We will embark on this work in April via Money Smart Week DeKalb, Lee & LaSalle Counties programming. We are working now on a robust, totally FREE program scheduled for the last week in April supplemented by programming in schools, on campuses and in the general community. Sessions planned already for the week of April 21-28, 2018 include credit card management, estate planning, healthy eating on a budget, teen programs, kids read programs, webinars, radio programs and many other opportunities. The full schedule for Money Smart Week locally will be printed in a special insert in the Daily Chronicle in April, and will be listed at www.moneymartweek.niu.edu Money Smart Week depends solely on volunteer session presenters, so we are continually seeking professionals who have skill, talents and knowledge to offer community members. We are lucky to have a planning team of local professional representing financial institutions, NIU, Kishwaukee Colleges, out local libraries, EconIL and other entities. They are working hard as a team to being these great sessions to you all. We invite you to join us for one or more session during Money Smart Week – I promise, you will learn a things or tow, and maybe keep a little more ‘green’ in your pocket or purse!