A financial conference this Saturday aims not to draw people with plenty of money to invest, but low- and moderate-income people who could use a hand with faxless payday loans and other aspects of their finances.
The Madison-based, nonprofit Asset Builders of America will sponsor the second annual Money Conference in Gateway Technical College’s Racine building. The group’s mission is to design and implement wealth-building strategies for low- and moderate-income youths, families and communities.
In other words, reports The Journal Times, it’s aimed at the people who need the most help and have the fewest resources.
“There’s no selling, and no one will try to sign you up for accounts,” said Richard Entenmann of Asset Builders. “It’s just an educational program.”
However, the Money Conference will benefit from the presence of representatives of financial institutions. Part of the hope, Entenmann said, is that participants will meet those people and feel more comfortable about going to them - perhaps instead of cash advance lenders - later if they decide to use their services.
Just as the conference is geared toward those who are least-savvy about money, that target audience is also difficult to draw.
“The hardest part of this program anywhere is to get people there,” Entenmann said.
Asset Builders - which so far operates just in Wisconsin - was founded by Bob Wynn. Before opening his own consulting business, Wynn was the financial education officer for the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.
From 1985-1996 he was the director of minority business development in the Wisconsin Department of Commerce. During that time he created the Early Planning Grant Program and the Minority Business Development Fund which has provided more than $5 million in financing to minority-owned firms.
The Money Conference, which started 6 years ago in Milwaukee, is built around the premise that everyone can build their own future. It is structured to accommodate entire families, hoping to move them away, or at least educate them on, resources such as online payday advance loans.
“We’re making it family-friendly for families to be there and to be fun for kids - and hope they learn something at the same time,” Entenmann said.
Child care is offered - but only through age 5. For children 6 and older, Junior Achievement will offer hands-on, interactive sessions designed to teach children about handling money.
Participants will choose which sessions most interest them. There are more than 20 sessions in all, three of them in Spanish.
Regular, one-hour sessions will include these topics: home ownership; reverse mortgages for senior citizens; credit reports and scores; vehicle financing options; identity theft; starting a business; how to buy food economically and prepare nutritious meals; and one called “Payday Loans - You Can Do Better.”
All participants will be able to take a look at their own credit report if they ask for it. Then they can meet with someone one on one for help with interpreting the report, Entenmann said.