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updated: 3/26/2011 3:25 PM

Money Smart classes coming to DuPage

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"A penny saved is a penny earned," advised statesman Ben Franklin.

Auto magnate Henry Ford offered his financial counsel with, "The highest use of capital is not to make more money, but to make money do more for the betterment of life."

"Good management is better than good income," touts a virtuous Portuguese proverb.

Whatever the source of your financial savoir faire, everyone can learn something during Money Smart Week from April 2-9.

Programming addresses all demographics, income levels and interests. The price can't be beat; everything is free. Now that's a bargain both Franklin and Ford could appreciate.

More than 500 educational classes, seminars and activities will take place throughout Chicago and the suburbs to encourage participants of all ages to better manage personal finances. It's an area of knowledge that needs updates.

Topics will appeal to kids, teens, adults, future homebuyers, people in retirement, individuals with credit problems, someone looking for work and everyone who uses money.

Believing that education is key to financial literacy, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago created Money Smart Week 10 years ago. This is the third year for classes in DuPage County. Leaders from local businesses, financial institutions, libraries, not-for-profits and government agencies plan a wide range of programs.

Each class is designed to educate consumers about money management and generate awareness on topics such as saving, investing and credit.

In DuPage County last year, more than 1,400 adults and 120 young people attended. The average class size was six to 10 people, which encourages personal attention. Participants reported that 98 percent thought their class was "valuable" or "very valuable" and 87 percent said they were "likely" or "very likely" to change how they managed their money as a result of the class.

The DuPage Money Smart Week Expo kicks things off from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the College of DuPage's Student Resource Center, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn. Breakout sessions at 11:45 a.m. include tricks to track expenses and save; the Illinois foreclosure process; today's real estate market; planning for retirement; and inside tips for securing college financial aid.

At 1 p.m. sessions include paying for college, understanding credit, investing in 2011, and retirement planning.

On Sunday, April 3, participants will learn about identity theft at 2 p.m. at the Carol Stream Public Library, 616 Hiawatha Drive, Carol Stream. Call to reserve a spot at (630) 653-0755.

Looking for a job? Polish your resume, create an elevator speech and brush up on interview skills from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at the Addison Public Library, 4 Friendship Plaza, Addison with motivational speaker and career coach Sally Morrison. Register at (630) 458-3320.

Do you want to learn what is in your credit report? Attend "The Basics of Credit" at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, April 9, at Standard Bank and Trust, 1 W. Roosevelt Road, Villa Park.

If your needs point more toward recovering from a financial setback, head to Elmhurst College's Circle Hall, 190 S. Prospect Ave., Elmhurst, for a one-hour class at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 7.

The college also offers a class on "Keeping Your Money Safe" at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 5, in Circle Hall. Discussions will include federal consumer laws, loan scams and non-deposit investment products. A two-hour financial literacy program will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, at Benedictine University's Krasa Center, 5700 College Road, Lisle.

"Planning for Death, Divorce or Financial Devastation" is the topic from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at YWCA Patterson and McDaniel Family Center, 55 E. North Ave., Glendale Heights.

If you aren't thinking about "Estate Planning" and "Elder Care," maybe you should. That one-hour class is at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at the Glen Ellyn Public Library, 400 Duane St., Glen Ellyn. Call Ann McDonald at (630) 790-6747.

"Money Smart Nutrition" is the catchy title for a class on feeding a family on a budget.

The two-hour session meets at noon Tuesday, April 5, at Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry, 1871 High Grove Lane, Naperville. Contact Jane MacDonald at (630) 355-3663 to attend. Also at the pantry is "A Simple Program to Help you Spend Less and Save More" at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 7.

Other Naperville classes are "Investing in Uncertain Times" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, at the Nichols Library, 200 W. Jefferson Ave., and "Dollars and Sense Reality Fair for Teens" from noon to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at the same library.

If you learn better over lunch, attend "How Money Works -- a Lunch and Learn" on financial fundamentals at 11:30 a.m. Monday, April 4, at Primerica, 3550 Hobson Road, Woodridge.

Save your spot at the table by calling Amy Lustig at (708) 203-6297. The class (with the same contact) is repeated at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, at the Woodridge Public Library, 3 Plaza Drive, Woodridge.

Please respond at least one day before attending either session.

Participating libraries include those in Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Chicago, Darien, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Itasca, Lombard, Naperville, Roselle, Wheaton, Winfield and Woodridge.

Insurance, investing and creating a legacy with charitable giving are all classes to consider. For a complete list, go to moneysmartweek.org/Chicago. On the right side, click on "2011 Events Calendar" for a helpful search tool that allows a person to search by region, class, keyword or date. There is even a tour of the Chicago Board Options Exchange every weekday morning during Money Smart Week.

A handy money-green brochure lists all the DuPage County classes. Pick one up at the College of DuPage kickoff and at class locations. Money Smart Week is a public awareness campaign that covers almost everything you should know about managing your money.

So take the first step and grab your calendar to save the dates.

• Joan Broz writes about Lisle. E-mail her at jgbroz@yahoo.com.

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