Ohio's treasurer says the free workshop provides 'economic intellectual capital to Ohio's women.'
By MARALINE KUBIK
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Brandy L. Brabant, 25, is a single mom, full-time student and part-time office worker. Saundra Panezich, 45, works full time placing children with families for adoption or foster care.
Both women are eager to secure their financial futures and make life better for their kids. They both believe a program offered by the Ohio Treasurer's office could help.
Women & amp; Money, a free, one-day workshop sponsored by The Vindicator, will take place Friday at Youngstown State University and will provide women with easy-to-understand information about managing their finances. They will learn about budgeting, credit and debt, homeownership, retirement planning, insurance and investing.
"I think it's always good to learn more," said Panezich, of New Springfield. "My reason for attending is two-fold. First, for personal growth and second, because I'm a social worker and work with at-risk youth, I think this will help me help them. I also have my own small business -- an herb business -- and I think this might help me there."
Brabant, of Struthers, hopes to learn how to budget her income and manage her credit so she can buy a house. She also wants to learn about buying insurance so she'll be able to make informed choices after she graduates.
Both women are taking a day off work to attend.
No credit: "This is something I felt was very important," Panezich said. She's never had any formal training in managing her money. Nevertheless, she said, "I manage all of our [household] money. Most women manage the money, but we don't get credit for it.
"We need to start paying better attention."
She said women are working and making money, but they need to know better ways to manage it so they can meet their goals and secure their financial futures.
Brabant decided to attend the Women & amp; Money seminar as soon as she read the flier announcing it.
Brabant thinks the seminar is such a good opportunity that she distributed fliers and registration blanks to the women who work at her son's day-care center. Some of them are single moms too, she said, and also could benefit. Because the workshop is free, it is a good opportunity for "a lot of single moms who don't have money to burn," she said.
"We have found that women are seeking information that will move them closer to financial independence," and these workshops offer that, said Angie Hollerich, founder of Brass Ring Productions, Gahanna, Ohio, and a presenter at the conference.
Hollerich is an experienced financial planner and successful businesswoman. She leads the Women & amp; Money sessions on retirement planning.
"Women manage most of the wealth in America -- they write the checks," Hollerich said, "but they have been ignored when it comes to financial education."
Employers and financial institutions are finally recognizing this and the need to educate women about managing their money, she said.
Benefits many: All women can benefit from the Women & amp; Money seminar, Hollerich said. Young women may be interested in buying their first home, but older women can also benefit from the session on homeownership because they may be looking to downsize or to acquire or manage investment property, she said.
Every session is geared toward women of all ages from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds -- college students, professionals and would-be retirees, Hollerich said. "Last year in Cincinnati we had a homeless woman come," and everybody learned something, she said.
Participants "leave with the tools they need. They know where to go and what to do next," she said, and they know the questions to ask financial planners, insurance agents and lenders. Social workers, counselors and nurses also can receive 4.5 hours of continuing education credit for attending.
Some participants have found the information so valuable that they've registered to attend workshops in two cities so they can sit in on all seven sessions, she said. Attendees can attend only four in a single day.
Learning about managing money is especially important for women, said Ohio Treasurer Joseph T. Deters, because "nine of 10 women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives. And that could happen rapidly either because of a divorce or being widowed.
Times change: "The days of being married to the same guy for 50 years who's been with the same company for 40 years are over," he said.
In addition, Deters said, "women have less wealth and more responsibility, i.e. children, than men do. Being good at managing money is critical when you have less earnings and more responsibility."
Recognizing this, Deters introduced the Women & amp; Money seminar in five cities last summer: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Dayton. Collectively, those workshops attracted more than 1,600 women.
This year, Youngstown was added to the list of sites. Some 400 women are expected to attend the Youngstown seminar. Overall, about 3,000 women are expected to participate this year.
Although the purpose of Women & amp; Money "is to return economic intellectual capital to Ohio's women," Deters said, it also serves to relieve the burden of the state. As women become more financially independent and learn to manage their finances better, they are less likely to depend on public assistance and more likely to pay taxes.
"Everybody benefits when people become responsible for themselves financially," Hollerich said.
XTo register for the workshop online, go to www.ohiowomenandmoney.org. To register by phone, call (800) 228-1102.