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Money Management Classes & Activities

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Programs are scheduled periodically throughout the year.  To be notified of opportunities and changes, please subscribe to our electronic mailing list above.
Michigan State University Extension and AARP Michigan have teamed up to offer consumers across the state “facts only” information about the Personal Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), including expanded Medicaid coverage in 2014, and  how to become one’s own expert shopper and consumer for health insurance.  What’s vitally important is that this two-hour, two-part presentation is in plain English.
Workers and families who are selecting their health insurance, perhaps for the first time, will learn what the terms used in healthcare coverage mean, what types of healthcare coverage are now available to them, and how the Healthy Michigan plan now entitles most individuals and families earning within 133-138% of the Federal Poverty Level to Medicaid benefits.
MSU Extension’s Educators will present “Smart Choice: Health Insurance,” which provides basic understanding of insurance terms and types of coverage.  But it does not stop there.  Smart Choice explains how individuals and families can figure out how to price specific insurance coverage options to fit within their budgets and household priorities—in other words, how to review their household budgets to find the right coverage for themselves and those who depend on them.
The second presentation, by AARP trained volunteers, briefs audiences on the basics of the Affordable Care Act—how it improves Medicare, creates affordable markets of private insurance, expands Medicaid coverage and expands or improves healthcare services for many groups of people, including children up to the age of 26, women, small businesses, and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.  These services, in many cases, will cost less because tax credits for healthcare coverage have been expanded.
In a nutshell, the MSU Extension/AARP program:
  • Translates health insurance language into plain English
  • Breaks down the different types of health insurance plans on the market
  • Explains what “in-network” and “out of network” services are
  • Nails the price differences between the types of health insurance and their trade-offs in non-covered “out of pocket” charges
  • Shows participants how to evaluate their existing household spending on health services, medications, and supplies
  • Constructs an overall household budget which not only reveals what your current spending priorities may have been, but possibly reveals where room might exist within your means to afford health insurance, and to find what priority that can hold within household spending objectives
Together, MSU Extension and AARP, which are both non-partisan and non-profit organizations, hope to reach as many people as possible, especially those with financial concerns, with the facts—not rumors or misinformation--about what the Affordable Care Act is and how it can help them—in language that’s clear, not confusing.
One session will be held locally on Tuesday, September 23 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in Novi.  To register online, click here  For more information on Smart Choice, visit
September 25, 2014:  Smart Choice Health Insurance Workshop

Upcoming Webinars

Before each webinar, remember to visit the links to find how to join the webinar from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Financial Planning for the Second Half of Life - Tuesday, September 23 at 11 a.m. ET
The  United States has an increasingly aging population including baby  boomers age 50 to 68 (in 2014). Older adults face unique financial  planning challenges. These include making irrevocable decisions about claiming Social  Security benefits, selecting Medicare supplement health insurance and  long-term care insurance, selecting income-based investments (e.g.,  annuities), making sustainable retirement asset withdrawals, and calculating required minimum distributions (RMDs) due on  tax-deferred savings plans such as traditional IRAs and the Thrift  Savings Plan (TSP). This 90-minute webinar will “package” together 15  key later life financial planning topics that older adults and the practitioners who serve them need to understand and address.  Topics that will be covered in the webinar include:  Common financial errors of older adults, Statistics about older adult finances, Common later life financial characteristics and required decisions, 15  key later life financial planning topics (e.g., creating a retirement  “paycheck,” required minimum distributions, untitled property transfers,  and leaving a legacy), and Personal finance resources for older adults and financial practitioners. Participant  interaction will include discussing workable financial planning  strategies for older adults, older client errors and “blind spots,”  older client success stories, and more. Speaker: Dr. Barbara O'Neill. 

Get the Facts: The Affordable Care Act in Michigan Webinars (Mondays, 3pm)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as PPACA, ACA, health reform law, ObamaCare) affects residents’ access to and use of the country’s healthcare system and insurance policies. Individuals and families who have insurance through their employers, the private market, or through public programs, as well as those without insurance, are all affected in various ways. How much can I afford? Why is it important? What do I need and want? Lean how to make the Smart Choice . Join us live online to learn how you can get the most out of your health insurance. Webinars will be held Mondays for the foreseeable future at 3:00 pm.  To participate, log on to: Click “Guest” and type in any name. Your participation is anonymous. No personal information will be collected. If you don’t have a computer with a high-speed connection and speakers, visit your local library for access.
Health Insurance Resources
• For Michigan State University Extension’s most current  ACA news and information, visit
• Learn more about the Health Insurance Marketplace at Ask questions using the Live Chat function or with a toll-free phone call to 800-318-2596
•  Access information about how insurance works and the terms you will want to understand  at Affordable Care Act Resources for Consumers
• Get answers to your questions about health insurance and its effect on your personal finances at
Report suspected fraud to the Federal Trade Commission or call 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
• For specific questions about Medicare claims, medical records or expenses, visit, or call 800-MEDICARE (800-633-42273)

Available Workshops

To discuss scheduling a workshop or series of educational sessions, please contact Wanda Roberts at 248-858-1008.


This hands-on program is based on the assumption that personal financial management is a set of skills that must be learned.  Participants attend a series of workshops (2 hours each sessions) to learn basic economic concepts to strengthen families' skills in managing their finances, making informed decisions with their money and increasing families' long-term financial stability.  For further information contact Wanda Roberts at 248-858-1008.  


 Money Smart is an experiential learning series focused on personal and family financial management.  Participants attend a series of workshops that fosters financial stability for individuals, families, and entire communities.  The more people know about effectively managing their money, the more likely they are to increase savings, successfully buy and maintain homes, and improve their financial health and well-being.  For further information, please contact Wanda Roberts at 248-858-1008.


Online Learning

eHome Money is a personal guide to financial health.  It's a fun, informative, low-cost course that you take online at your own pace, on your own schedule, at any computer.  With eHome Money you learn the steps you can take to reduce debt, raise your credit score and improve your whole financial picture.

As a HUD and Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) certified agency, MSU Extension has been providing housing education for over 20 years.  By completing the online eHome America course and learning about available local, state and federal housing financing programs, participants can take positive steps to reach their goal of home ownership.  In order to receive a certificate of completion participants will need to complete a discussion (in-person or via phone) with a Michigan State University Extension Certified Housing Counselor.
How to Select or Evaluate Your Financial Services Provider Webinar Recording
Whether you already have a financial services provider, or are trying to select one, this course will give you the confidence to effectively evaluate your options and make the choice that's right for you.  What's the difference between a broker, an adviser and a financial planner?  What do all the titles and designations mean?  How can their background and credentials be checked out?  What services should you insist on having provided?  When interviewing a prospective financial services provider, how do you differentiate between a straight-talking professional and a flimflam salesman?   (This webinar was recorded on September 25, 2012.)

Legally Secure Your Financial Future
 Organize, Communicate, Prepare is a comprehensive series to help you get organized, communicate with others and begin preparing your estate plan.

Investing For Your Future is an 11-unit home study course that was developed by the Cooperative Extension system for beginning investors with small dollar amounts to invest at any one time. It was assumed that many readers will be investing for the first time or selecting investment products, such as a stock index fund or unit investment trust, that they have not purchased previously.  The course units were developed in a logical order. "Basic" topics such as setting goals, investment terms (e.g., diversification, dollar-cost averaging, asset allocation), and finding money to invest lay a foundation to help readers understand how and why they’re investing.  After exploring "the basics," the course describes specific types of investments (e.g., stocks and bonds) in detail. Finally, Investing For Your Future concludes with additional topics of use to investors: available resources, how to select professional financial advisors, and information to help you avoid becoming a victim of investment fraud. You can choose to read the entire course, in any order that makes sense to you, or select only those topics that are of most interest.


Whether you are thinking about how to invest for retirement or build a college fund, face issues with purchasing a new home or avoiding foreclosure, or if you want to learn how to handle credit card debt, Michigan State University Extension has experts that can help you. MSU Extension assists individuals, households, organizations and communities to become sustainable through workshops and other education related to financial capability, pre-purchase and foreclosure intervention and more.
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The Retirement Estimator gives estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. Please keep in mind that these are just estimates. It can’t provide your actual benefit amount until you apply for Social Security benefits. And that amount may differ from the estimates provided because:
  • Your earnings may increase or decrease in the future.
  • After you start receiving benefits, they will be adjusted for cost-of-living increases.
  • Your estimated benefits are based on current law. The law governing benefit amounts may change because, by 2033, the payroll taxes collected will be enough to pay only about 75 cents for each dollar of scheduled benefits.
  • Your benefit amount may be affected by military service, railroad employment or pensions earned through work on which you did not pay Social Security tax.
Want to improve your personal finances? Start by taking the Investment Risk Tolerance Quiz to get an idea of your risk tolerance--one of the fundamental issues to consider when planning your investment strategy, either alone or in consultation with a professional.  The more people know about effectively managing their money, the more likely they are to increase savings, successfully buy and maintain homes, and improve their financial health and well-being.
Note: This quiz was developed by two university personal finance professors, Dr. Ruth Lytton at Virginia Tech and Dr. John Grable at Kansas State University. By taking this quiz you will be contributing to a study on measuring financial risk tolerance. Your results will be recorded anonymously. They are not collecting any identifying information.
moneytree.gifWant to use credit wisely and pay less to borrow money? Start by taking the Wise Credit Management Quiz to assess your current credit-related practices.
credit_card.gifThe Federal Reserve’s Credit Card Repayment Calculator will give you an estimate of how long it will take you to pay off your credit card balance. The calculator assumes:

-- you make no more charges; and
-- you make only the minimum payment each month.



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