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Literacy, responsibility keys to financial security

by Rick Thomas
| April 27, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - Your life, your finances and your happiness are in one set of hands - yours.

So said Sarano Kelley, keynote speaker at the kick-off luncheon for Get $mart Idaho's Financial Literacy Week Monday at The Coeur d'Alene Resort.

"It is not something the government should resolve, or the schools. It is your job, period," said Kelley, whose role in the documentary "Broke and Famous" helped launch a national financial literacy campaign.

It is the duty of parents to make their children understand the need for wise financial choices, he said.

"In the world of finance, you're going to have to cause some discomfort," Kelley said.

Money alone is not the answer, he said.

"The problem is, people are financially illiterate," he said. "Financial literacy is part of the solution."

The biggest cause of financial troubles is a lack of personal responsibility, Kelley said.

"No one is going to watch over your money the way you will," he said.

About 200 attended the program. As Kelley roamed through the room, he asked them to participate, looking for answers to a variety of questions, such as when was the first time all of Michael Jackson's financial advisers gathered at one time. The answer to that one was apparent to many, and Kelley confirmed it.

"At the funeral," he said. Planning, rather than impulsive spending, is critical, he added.

Other answers were less obvious, such as how to solve poverty.

"Money, money, money," he said. "The one thing that will never resolve poverty is money. The poor will always be with us. So will the rich."

If all money was redistributed evenly, within six months it would all be back in the same hands, because of poor financial management practices.

Otherwise, he said, "Football players and lottery winners would all still have their money."

Accountability, Kelley said, will achieve positive results financially, and more importantly, personally.

"This is about people, not money," he said. "At the end of the day, there will either be reasons, or results."

Among the financial advisers, educators, legislators, students and the general public were business owners, including George Ball, who operates The Dinner Party and first received mentoring from Kelley in the early 1990s while working on Wall Street. He said the speaker would be impressive, and was satisfied at the end.

"He is still a great speaker, as great as he has ever been," Ball said. "His (mentoring) on life skills did a lot for me."

The idea of accountability appealed to others as well.

"I love the personal responsibility," said John Stone, Riverstone developer. "It doesn't get enough air time."

Mike Wood, who works with Community Action Partnership, agreed.

"It is up to me - if I want anything different in my community I have got to be engaged," he said.

Workshop: "Become Debt Free," Hayden Library Community Room, 8385 N. Government Way, 5:30 p.m. dinner, 6-7 p.m. seminar. Free and open to the public. RSVP: 619-4027 or anneh@stcu.org.

Online webinar: Couples and Money, 6 p.m. Free. Learn how to communicate with your partner about money. Learn the key components to building a brighter financial future for you both.

Register at: http://www.moneymanagement.org/Budgeting-Tools/Credit-Webinars.aspx

WEDNESDAY

Workshop: "Are All of Your Ducks in a Row?" Best Western Coeur d'Alene Inn, 506 W. Appleway Ave. 10 a.m. to noon or 3-5 p.m. Free and open to the public. Sessions will cover the importance of monitoring your credit score, important tools you can use to protect yourself from identity theft and practical money management skills

Register online at: http://www.poweredbycommunity.com/workshops.aspx?id=4

Workshop: How Money Works, 1-2:15 p.m. or 7-8:15 p.m., 2448 N. Merritt Creek Loop, Riverstone. Free and open to the public. Explore basic concepts and strategies for getting ahead financially. Includes short and long term savings, debt, retirement and insurance education. RSVP: Sandy Kaplan, 765-0735

THURSDAY

Seminar: "Why Now is a Great Time to Invest," 1-2:15 p.m. or 7-8:15 p.m., 2448 N. Merritt Creek Loop, Riverstone. Free and open to the public. Investment basics. What is a mutual fund? When to invest? How much will you need for retirement and how can you get started? RSVP: Sandy Kaplan, 765-0735

Online webinar: Paying down debt: 4 p.m. Free. This program will help you decide what your options are when addressing debt and what actions you need to take. Register at http://www.moneymanagement.org/Budgeting-Tools/Credit-Webinars.aspx

FRIDAY

"Take Your Child to the Bank/Credit Union Day" at the following locations: Horizon Credit Union, 123 W. Hanley Ave.; Mountain West Bank, 305 W Prairie Ave.; 125 Ironwood Drive; 709 E. Seltice Way, Post Falls; 1715 West Kathleen Ave.; Numerica Credit Union, 8370 N. Cornerstone Drive; Panhandle State Bank, 200 W Neider Ave.; 3235 E. Mullan Ave., Post Falls; 6878 Highway 53, Rathdrum, Idaho 83858

Workshop: "Save Green by Going Green," Coeur d'Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front Ave., 4-6 p.m. Free and open to the public. This hands-on energy saving seminar will help you avoid "burning money" through the winter. Learn what energy saving measures will get you the best return on your investment and how to start. No RSVP necessary

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