By Jim Donovan:  The Pennsylvania Treasury and its partners in the public and private sectors are launching a free five-part series of Web-based lessons today intended to help citizens overcome an all-too-common obstacle to economic security: financial literacy.  

According to the 2009 National Financial Literacy Survey, Pennsylvanians ranked 44th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia in the percentage of correct answers to five questions about basic financial understanding.

 In order to help Pennsylvanians better understand personal finance matters and manage their money more responsibly, Treasury will launch the “MoneyWise 101: Lessons for Financial Freedom” webinar series on Tuesday, August 7.

Each lesson – presented by an experienced financial professional from the public or private sector – will offer guidance on common financial challenges such as how to budget, save, manage debt, and plan for retirement. Other topics will include housing affordability, teaching children the basics of managing money, and how to understand and manage your credit score. The webinar schedule, along with the presenter of each lesson, is as follows: 

  • Week 1: Introduction to money management presented by Tiffany Thurman, Urban Affairs Coalition
  • Week 2: Thinking about retirement: Fine-tuning your savings and investment strategy presented by Gary Gamma of Vanguard
  • Week 3: Raising money-smart kids by Erica Jackson, Penn State Behrend Center for Financial and Consumer Outreach
  • Week 4: Homeownership: The American Dream or is it? by Holly Chase, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency
  • Week 5: Understanding your credit report by Stephanie Bittner, Clarifi, formerly CCCS of Delaware Valley

Treasury will offer each webinar twice for participants’ convenience – first during lunchtime on the Tuesday of that week, then during the evening of the following Thursday.

“To encourage more people to participate, we’re offering a prize that will help someone pursue even more education – a $529 PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan account,” says Treasurer McCord. A person will earn a chance to win the Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Program account each time they participate in a lesson.

To register for the webinar series, see a complete schedule, or learn more about the Pennsylvania Treasury, visit


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