No fooling: April 1 is the start of California's Financial Literacy Month (it's happening nationally, too), with free events, workshops and online tools to help us better manage our money.
"It doesn't matter what age we are or what our income is: We all make financial decisions every day," said Alana Golden, spokeswoman for the state Dept. of Financial Institutions, which oversees the state's financial literacy events. "There are so many free resources available that most of us don't take advantage of. You can attend a workshop, log onto a chat line, pull up a brochure on a website...so many things to help us make well-informed decisions."
Here's a rundown of some of the events/tools getting attention this month:
California Financial Literacy Fair - Held annually at the state Capitol, this free event - April 10, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. - is a chance to pick up info from some 30 nonprofits, state agencies and companies covering varied consumer financial topics: student loans, credit counseling, home mortgages, banking, taxes. It's co-sponsored by state Assemblyman Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), state Sen. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and state Controller John Chiang. It'll be outdoors on the Capitol's north steps.
Neighborhood Financial Events - Four neighborhood sessions offer free information on consumer fraud, foreclosure, bankruptcy, mortgages, estate planning, investments, scholarships, banking and taxes. Sponsored by state Assm. Dickinson and state Sen. Steinberg, the dates/locations are:
April 10, Arthur F. Turner Community Library, 1212 Merkley Ave, West Sacramento
April 11, Greater Sacramento Urban League, 3725 Marysville Blvd.
April 16, Clunie Community Center, 601 Alhambra Blvd.
April 18, Fruitridge Community Center, 4000 Fruitridge Road;
All events are from 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Mexico Consulate Financial Week - Running daily, April 22-25, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Consulate General of Mexico office at 2093 Arena Blvd. in Sacramento is offering free Spanish-language advice on banking, credit and other financial topics.
California Financial Literacy Month blog features a daily writeup on different local programs that revolve around money matters, from Bank of the West's "Moonjar" money-saving boxes for kids to Golden 1 Credit Union's financial workshops and webinars.
"Do Something" - During tax month, the nonprofit DoSomething.org has teamed up with H&R Block to encourage young people - age 25 and under - to spread financial wisdom. Now through April 30, teens and 20-somethings can host a personal finance workshop with at least two friends, then be entered for chances to win $10,000 and $1,000 scholarships. There's no cost to host a Do Something workshop: free online handbooks are provided on three topics; debt, credit cards and personal finance.
FoolProof - This new site - aimed at teens and 20somethings - in April is hosting a series of "gullibility" quizzes - to test your financial smarts on everyday purchases.