CASH Campaign offers financial classes

Public encouraged to take advantage of courses on money management, other subjects

July 24, 2010|By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

The Maryland CASH Campaign on Saturday launched a slate of free and low-cost financial management classes that organizers say will help people navigate complicated subjects — from budgeting to borrowing to buying a house.

Shoppers at Security Square Mall were encouraged to register for classes at the new CASH Academy, including credit and debt management, budgeting, savings, taxes and investing.

The campaign, whose name stands for "Creating Assets, Savings and Hope," is paying for the short courses. All financial classes are taught by professionals vetted by the campaign, which is a statewide coalition of nonprofit organizations that work to promote financial stability.

Pam Saulsbury, 40, of Woodlawn, stopped and registered while at the mall with her twin 14-year-old boys who needed new, size 13 shoes.

Saulsbury, a single mother, said she is trying to prepare to pay for her sons' college while paying for her own education at Walden University, where she is studying business administration. She works at the Community College of Baltimore County as a benefits and compensation coordinator.

"When I heard the term 'budget,' my ears perked up," she said.

Shani Gibson, program manager with the campaign, said being financially savvy is especially important during the recession.

"We want to help people better manage their money," she said

Gibson stressed that not only people feeling the economic pinch should come but anyone.

"People only wait for this when it becomes relevant," she said, when they need to have established good credit when the time comes to buys a house or a car, "but a lot of these you don't have to wait."

Gibson sat with Saulsbury to help her register and find classes on credit managing, identity theft, insurance and taxes—"what you can't get away from," Saulsbury joked.

Besides saving for an education, Saulsbury said she'd also like to prepare a rainy day fund.

Gibson said about 100 people registered at the four-hour event, and information on credit was the most popular topic. She said the crowds ranged from young to old.

Learning to better manage money "is for everyone. You're only better off" knowing more, she said.

To register for a class, go to http://www.mdcashacademy.org.

jkanderson@baltsun.com

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