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Taking the fear factor out of money: Smart Money Week guides students and the community in their financial decisions
DeAnn Reed
Antelope Staff
Photo by DeAnn Reed
Mary Rittenhouse plays with a bag of shredded money from the Chicago Federal Reserve.

”Fear Factor” is not just a reality television show. Many people feel fear about their financial futures. But Mary Rittenhouse is hoping Smart Money Week will be the courage students will need to face their financial fears head on.

Smart Money Week was modeled after a program that Rittenhouse was a part of when she worked for the Federal Reserve in Chicago. Rittenhouse, the director of Center for Economic Education, said many of the programs available Nov. 2 through Nov. 7 are designed to help people best manage their money. Seminar topics will include identity theft, renter’s rights, a resume workshop, tips on entrepreneurship and tips for owning a small business.

However, if you’re a student and you don’t think these seminars apply to you, you might want to think about the total of student loans you have currently taken out. Rittenhouse said more and more students are realizing how this issue becomes real once they graduate. 

The ability to buy things you want, for example, becomes very real once a student has to start paying on their college debt, Rittenhouse said.  She said those students who really understand this can become better decision makers.

Still not convinced each financial choice can affect everything you do? Rittenhouse said a good financial standing could impact a student’s ability to get a job because potential employers do take a look at a student’s credit score. "Their decisions do matter and it will affect their ability to not only get a new car, or a new house, but even a job. Their FICA score is checked.”

Understanding and maintaining a good credit score is vital for students, she said. Students will learn through the seminars how to check their credit score and how to recover once they have developed a bad credit history. “There are steps to be taken. Don’t let it become overwhelming; take one step at a time,” Rittenhouse said.

Information is power for anyone learning to be better stewards of their money. “Our main goal, along with everyone who works on the advisors' council with me, is to have more informed citizens because having more informed citizens provides for higher economic growth.”

Video by DeAnn Reed

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