Local lifestyle columnists

100 years of money smarts

By From page B7 | March 15, 2014

“We have what it takes to take what you have.”

— Suggested IRS motto

Since many of us are in the midst of filing our taxes (or putting the task off as long as possible), I thought this would be a good time to talk about literacy – the financial kind – and how libraries contribute.

Those of you who have read previous columns know that I write a lot about early childhood literacy: providing your children with opportunities, through play and storytelling to build social and communication skills, for instance. The month of April is National Children’s Month.

Not so many of us, though, like to admit that building financial literacy skills – better known as money smarts – would have helped us weather the many challenges we now face as adults. After all, next month is also National Financial Literacy Month.

Solano County Library has diligently served the community since opening its doors in 1914. While much has changed over the past 100 years, the library’s devotion to promoting free, open access to information and services has not.

Do you have questions about credit cards, mortgages, debt collection or credit scores? The library can help you locate in-house materials, state and federal brochures, publications, websites and videos to assist. Are you buying/selling your home, balancing your checkbook, investing in your 401K, avoiding fraud? Did you just welcome a new baby, lose a job, remarry or get a divorce?

Through community partnerships such as United Way’s “Earn It, Keep It, Save It!” tax prep, Solano Coalition for Better Health’s children’s insurance program, and Covered California, Solano County Library helps people who want to better manage their financial lives.

We do it all for free.

Moreover, while you may be grumbling about how much money the government takes out of your wallet at every turn, would you believe the government wants to teach you how to wisely use your resources, too? It’s called MYMONEY.GOV (www.mymoney.gov.) Videos, games and quizzes on the website help you learn about the five building blocks for managing and growing your money: Earn, Save and Invest, Protect, Spend, Borrow.

Finally, let me suggest:

  • If you have kids, talk about the family budget. Encourage them to save a portion of their allowance to help them build a savings habit and learn to set, and achieve, financial goals.
  • If you participate in clubs or church groups, invite a local consumer group, credit counselor or financial planner to speak.
  • If you own a business or are in the position to make suggestions, consider a program to help employees understand more about managing their money. Start an automatic enrollment retirement plan or provide resources or referrals to help employees plan their futures.

For 100 years, Solano County Library has worked with people to better their station in life, get a handle on their finances, spark a love of learning, discover information or just find a great book to read. It’s an honor to carry this proud tradition into the next 100 years.

For more information about Solano County Library programs and resources, call 1-866-57-ASKUS. Don’t forget to join us to celebrate Solano County Library’s 100th anniversary from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 5 at the Solano County Events Center, 601 Texas St.. Find a complete lineup of events at www.solanolibrary.com.

Yvette Klemm is a library associate at the Fairfield Civic Center Library.

Yvette Klemm


Discussion | 1 comment

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  • The MisterMarch 15, 2014 - 8:17 am

    If you want to really learn about money, do some research on "public banking". Ellen Brown, who is currently running for California Treasurer, speaks on this and has written a couple of great books on this subject. In a nut shell, our current economic system requires every dollar in our system be borrowed from a private, for-profit corporate bank... and all of the profit from generating our money supply goes to the bank's shareholders. With "public banking", the bank belongs to the people and the banking profits return to the government. Our taxes are lower, our banking costs are lower, and the money supply is managed for the benefit of the people (available credit) instead of for the benefit of the for-profit bank's shareholders (restricted credit... which leads to recessions and depressions). This is money education that you really, really need to know about.

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