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Money Matters! Let NYPL Help You Manage Your Personal Finances


NYPL's business library, SIBL, learned recently that it had been named the 2012 recipient of the Malcom S. Forbes Public Awareness Award for Advancing Financial Understanding. The Financial Planning Association of New York will present the award at its annual spring forum in April, but why wait until then to highlight the resources and services that garnered NYPL this recognition?  The Library can help you better understand your personal finances starting now.

Financial Literacy Central at SIBL features reference resources and books you can borrow; specialized financial databases with hands-on training in using them; presentations by financial experts; and one-on-one consultations with financial advisors.

But NYPL has not limited itself to offerings on tap when Financial Literacy Central opened two years ago. Now, in addition to certified financial planners from the FPY-NY, you can also meet with independent financial advisors at SIBL, always for free, to discuss a range of topics, from household budgeting and re-paying college loans to reviewing your investment portfolio. Those who've used this service are most often pleased with the sessions, as user evaluations suggest.

For New Yorkers seriously in debt, SIBL added another option in September: Credit Crisis Counseling with a trained financial fitness coach from the Community Services Society. And once again in this tax season, a number of NYPL locations are offering tax assistance. SIBL and Countee Cullen Library are Office of Financial Empowerment sites, where those with an income cap of $49,000 can file their returns electronically for free with assistance from trained staff. Volunteers from organizations such as AARP and VITA also offer help at other NYPL locations.

SIBL continues to expand its roster of financial education training sessions. With the recent addition of a class on social security, we're at an even dozen, offered on a rotating basis. Taught by a team of SIBL staff, the classes have all been developed by SIBL's financial resources specialist, Kathleen Kalmes, who talked about SIBL resources and training on a recent episode of Judith Hunt's cable show, Getting Your Money's Worth.

NYPL took a giant step this fall when, with the generous support of McGraw-Hill Companies, it launched Money Matters, a series of workshops and classes on all aspects of personal finances, at five NYPL library financial education centers in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island. NY1 News recently filmed a Money Matters session at the Bronx Library Center on understanding credit. These classes continue through the spring at neighborhood libraries in the three boroughs.

The Library is also hosting its third all-day financial education extravaganza with a dozen simultaneous classes, database demos, concurrent sessions with certified financial planners, and representatives from dozens of government agencies. This year's  Financial Empowerment Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 21. Listen as Jacob Anderson from Fordham's radio station, WFUV, catches up with some of last year's attendees.

The federal Institute for Museum and Library Services gave NYPL's financial education efforts major recognition and a major boost by awarding the Library a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarianship grant to develop a training program for 250 public services librarians at NYPL locations. Experienced financial educators Dr. Barbara O'Neill and Carol Glade from Rutgers University are designing in person and e-learning modules, which NYPL will make available to libraries nationwide.

Circling back to those books in Financial Literacy Central, here is a list of titles on investing — both classics and the more topical — that were borrowed from the FLC more than 100 times last year.


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Managing Your Fianances

Not meaning to make a joke out of such seminars, I once asked a friend, "How do you like the course on "Managing Your Fianaces? Is it helpful? She replied, "Sure. It was a good course, but no, it was not helpful. In order to be successful in managing your finances, you first have to have finances." I thought that was hilarious, and very true.

managing your finances

I'm willing to bet that you -- and your friend -- would benefit enormously from Money Matters presentations at SIBL or in neighborhood libraries on how to budget, make smart purchases, avoid hidden credit card fees, and reduce debt. As you build savings, you will likely be in the positon to start investing. What's a given is that most employers are shifting from defined benefits to defined contributions plans. This means that the employee -- that's you -- shoulders more responsibility for financial decision-making. It's no laughing matter. Click for upcoming classes and programs.

TO: No Laughing Matter

Ms. McDonough's comments about the Money Matters presentation is very well thought out, kind and noble in its intent. I did not mean to make light of a subject which is very important in this economy! Thank you for the excellent advice.

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