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All sessions will be held Wednesdays from 12:05 to 12:55 (Mountain Time).  The first session will be held on October 5th.

 

Date Title/Presenter  Description Resources
Credit and Credit Worthiness
October 5                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Credit Scores

Lyle Hansen
University of Idaho Extension 

Credit scores and proper use of credit play a major role in your potential financial success.  Poor credit scores can lead to higher interest rates costing hundreds of dollars extra a month. For example, having a credit score of 720 vs 760 costs approximately $100 extra a month, while a score of 640 vs 760 can cost up to $600 extra a month. Learning proper use of credit could help you build a respectable credit score, which could save you money. This session will teach you proven strategies to build and maintain a respectable credit score. It will also take a look at multiple websites that offer so called free credit scores and show you which ones can be of potential help to you.  
October 12
                                                       
Car Loans

Joel Schumacher
Montana State University Extension
American consumers have been buying new cars at a record pace recently and they are using financing to pay for the costs.  The average new car loan is over $30,000 with a payment of over $500 per month.  The average loan is nearly six years in length. Are consumers making informed decisions about the auto financing options? This session will provide some tools to compare different financing options when purchasing a new vehicle.  PDF File
October 19 Creating a Debt Reduction Plan

Joel Schumacher
Montana State University Extension
You have probably seen a headline recently saying Student Loan Crisis, Auto Loans at record amounts, Underwater Mortgages, Payday Loans can help you get cash, or Credit Card Usage soars.  Americans seem to be in love with debt, but what if you have decided it is time to reduce your debt?  This session will help you learn about creating a debt reduction plan, tools to track your plan, and prioritizing which debts to repay first.  
Kids and Money
November 2

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Teens and Money        

Luke Erickson
University of Idaho Extension        

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Luke Erickson     
University of Idaho Extension

Teens know everything! Or at least they think they do. Whether they ask for it or not, most could use a little guidance as they set out on their own journey into the world of personal finance. The good news is that according to research, parents are the main source of financial information for teens. The bad news is that many of us don't feel qualified to teach anything about personal finances. In this brief webinar we will present some simple tools, topics, and strategies that could be used by parents and teachers to talk with teens about money.   
November 9 Recent Changes to Federal Financial Aid

Carrie Johnson
North Dakota State University
There have been several changes in federal financial aid the past few years. Some of them affect the process of filing for financial aid, while others will affect repayment of student loans. This webinar will discuss recent legislation related to federal financial aid and how these changes affect consumers.   
Health and Finances
November 30 Small Steps to Health and Wealth

Nancy Porter
University of Idaho Extension
There are many connections between your health and your wealth. Both positive and negative habits generally start small, develop slowly over time, and take time and effort to change. The Small Steps to Health and Wealth concept explores common strategies that can be used to improve both health and finances. While changing behavior in either health or finances can be hard work, small steps taken to accomplish goals are often successful over the long-term.   
December 7 Health Insurance Options for Those Nearing Retirement

Carrie Johnson
North Dakota State University
Health insurance is one benefit many employers offer. It is important when retiring to consider health insurance needs. Will you be able to receive Medicare benefits, are you planning on staying on a retiree health insurance plan? This webinar will discuss the options available to individuals nearing retirement as well as options for individuals who decide to keep working after the age of 65.  
December 14 Health Care Savings Accounts & Flexible Spending Accounts

Carrie Johnson
North Dakota State University
There are many benefits to putting money aside for medical expenses. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are great ways to save for medical expenses while getting some tax benefits. This session will explain the rules and discuss the pros and cons of each type of account.  
Retirement and Financial Awareness  
January 18 Taking the Mystery Out of Retirement

Lyle Hansen
University of Idaho Extension

Participants will learn how to calculate the amount of income they will need to retire and determine additional savings needed for retirement. Participants will learn about their personal investing risk tolerance, the several investment choices for retirement, and several basic investing concepts. They will increase their awareness of dollar-cost averaging, allocating assets among several different types of investments and learn how to determine investment risk tolerance and the types of investments suitable for retirement. They will also learn how investment fees and expenses can affect returns.  
January 25 Individual Retirement Accounts

Joel Schumacher
Montana State University Extension
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are helpful tool to achieve a secure retirement.  They provide a tax advantaged way to individuals to save for retirement. They are not tied to your employment so switching jobs doesn't affect your eligibility. They can also serve a place to put your 401k plan assets if you switch employers.  This session will discuss the rules and regulations that govern IRAs and will also explore some situations in which they can help you down the path to a more secure retirement.  
February 1 Talking With Aging Parents About Finances

Marsha Goetting
Montana State University Extension
At some point in their lives, parents and adult children will face the challenge of talking about their financial issues associated with potential chronic illness, disability, mental incapacity or death. Rationally, we may know that the best way to minimize feelings of helplessness and stress is to plan ahead. Emotionally, however, we may find it difficult to talk about these issues. The situation can be more complicated if there have been years of underlying tensions or misunderstandings among parents and their adult children.  This webinar will provide strategies to help overcome barriers that often hinder conversations with aging family members about money and estate planning..  It will also explore alternatives to consider if a parent is healthy but needs assistance and share legal options if one or both parents should become incapacitated.   
February 8 Avoiding Financial Scams

Luke Erickson
University of Idaho Extension
Financial scams can take many forms. Some have been exposed for what they really are, like the "wealthy Nigerian prince" who turned out to actually be a clever, computer savvy teenager in a crowded internet cafe. Others are not as easy to identify. Many target senior citizens for their relatively larger sums of accumulated life savings. This webinar will discuss the most prevalent scams, and several new types of scams. It also explain the steps you can take to protect yourself, and what to do in the event that you fall victim to a scam. Knowledge is your best defense!   
February 15 Banking 101

Surine Greenway
University of Idaho Extension
A growing number of Americans are turning to alternative financial products instead of utilizing traditional banks and credit unions.  Often times these alternative products present new risks and may charge higher fees.  This session will examine basic banking products and how they may be useful in meeting your needs and avoiding risky alternative products.  
February 22 Health Insurance: Financial Literacy
 
Joel Schumacher
Montana State University Extension
Does thinking about the financial aspect of health insurance make your head spin?  Deductibles, Premiums, Caps, Out-of-Pockets limits, In-Network Co-Payments, Out-of-Network Payments, Subsidies and the list goes on of financial terminology surrounding health insurance.  This session will explain these terms with a focus on helping you understand your health insurance plan.    
Montana Specific Sessions
March 1 Medicaid and Long-Term Care Partnership Insurance in Montana

Marsha Goetting
Montana State University Extension
 
Montanans now have a new alternative to consider paying for long-term care while protecting their assets. This webinar will describe the Montana Partnership program that provides an incentive to purchase long-term care insurance partnership policies. The incentive is protection from the requirement that Montanans have to spend down financial resources to enable them to qualify for Medicaid benefits.  It will also explain how the program works, detail conditions that make a policy qualified for the program, highlight costs, and provide resources for more information, highlighting Montana Medicaid rules.  
March 8

Wildflower Reflections: Family Legacies and Estate Planning in Montana

Marsha Goetting
Montana State University Extension

If you think estate planning is a boring topic then you haven't attended a presentation by Dr. Marsha Goetting, MSU Extension Family Economics Specialist.  During the past three years she has impressed Montana residents with her ability to make estate planning interesting.  This year she has enhanced her presentation using a different approach.  Dr. Goetting has combined her admiration for Montana wildflowers with her expertise in estate planning to offer Solid Finances participants an engaging program:  Wildflower Reflections:  Families, Legacies, and Estate Planning.  This webinar will share who will receive your property if you pass away without a written will; when a will or a trust has control over your property and when neither one does; and share how you can avoid probate with the Montana estate planning tools of POD designations, TODs, and beneficiary deeds.  It will also highlight Montana's statute for distributing items that do not have title.  
Idaho Specific Session
March 22

Who Gets Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate in Idaho

Karen Richel
University of Idaho Extension

Ask any attorney...they will tell you that non-titled property (like Grandma's Yellow Pie Plate) can bring about the biggest challenges in settling estates. In this workshop, information is presented to help you pass on your personal possessions according to your wishes. We talk about the factors you should consider when passing on possessions, what you want to accomplish, what fair means, the different distribution options and consequences, and how to manage conflicts that arise. Information is Idaho specific regarding laws and guidelines; however, the tools you will receive in this class will help you no matter your zip code.  
March 29

Working with Investment Professionals in Idaho


Lyle Hansen
University of Idaho Extension

Participants will learn about several types of financial professionals, how to decipher their designations, how to determine whether they are qualified to meet specific needs, and expectations an advisor should meet. Participants will also increase their awareness of types of financial advisors, and regulators of financial advisors. Participants will increase their knowledge of how financial advisors are compensated and how to select a financial advisor. Participants will learn how to determine whether they need a financial advisor and determine whether a financial product meets their own goals and risk tolerance, either by clear explanations from their financial advisor or by their own knowledge if they are not using an advisor.