- Financial Fitness Classes
Financial Fitness Classes
Financial Fitness Series
A free six-week series to help local citizens better manage their money and plan their financial future kicks off Thursday, June 15, at 7:00 PM in the Historic Patriot Club, 500 Upton RD, Fort Sill Oklahoma. The Series will be held each Thursday at 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM, through July 27. Registered participants will meet one hour each week during the Financial Fitness Series to explore budgeting, borrowing, saving, and investing money wisely. Free dinner will also be provided to participants during the classes.
The event is sponsored by the Lawton Public Library. Library Director Kristin Herr said they are happy to be partnering with Fort Sill Army Community Service. This is the second time the series has been offered by the Lawton Public Library and the first time at Fort Sill. Herr stated the weekly classes are like building blocks. “We start with a session about our attitudes toward money, because that really colors how we spend dollars and deal with our finances”. “Then we move on to basic budgeting, understanding credit and borrowing, strategies to pay down debt, and then how to save and invest for the future.”
Personal Financial Counselor, Eileen St. Pierre will be presenting this series. She has over 20 years experience teaching finance to audiences that included traditional college students, military service members and veterans, working adults, farmers and ranchers, and small business owners. Her favorite teaching venues being nontraditional ones such as on-site at the John Deere Corporation, in county fair buildings, down in a courthouse basement, on military bases, and at a continuing care community. She holds a B.S. in Finance and Economic as well as her PhD in finance, from Florida State University. She holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and is a certified financial Planner (CFP®).
Herr said Oklahomans get mixed results on a recent National Financial Capability Study. “We have slightly more financial knowledge than the average American, and Oklahomans are less likely to be underwater on their homes. But we also do more non-bank borrowing than people in many other states, and that behavior comes with really high interest rates. We are also less likely to have a personal rainy day fund, and we have more overdue medical bills than our national peers.”
The local series is made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through a partnership with the national Smart Investing @your library initiative. The statewide, non-profit Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma (FOLIO) secured the grant for Oklahoma, and is working with Lawton and three other libraries in the state to host Financial Fitness programs during the next two years.
Sharon Saulmon, Financial Fitness project coordinator for FOLIO, said Oklahoma’s grant targets particular communities. “Military families often have struggles with money, so we’re partnering with libraries close to our military bases so those families can take advantage of the programs if they desire.”
In addition to Lawton, Saulmon said programs have also been held in Altus and McAlester through the Southern Prairie Library System, and at Rose State College Learning Resources Center in Midwest City.
“Teens, senior citizens, and low-income communities are also targeted,” Saulmon said. “Our fourth library partner, the Southeastern Public Library System, headquartered in McAlester, will host a series of programs at eight of its 15 libraries, according to Executive Director Michael Hull.”
Beyond the series, Herr said the grant has also provided funds to help the library expand its financial literacy collection. Partners in the grant have also identified electronic resources to help citizens with their financial planning.
“The ultimate idea is to provide a framework for other libraries in the state to use so they can host their own programs and build their own collections,” Herr said. “So we’re also partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Libraries to make these resources available to all of our libraries.”
For more information on statewide efforts and electronic financial resources, visit financial-fitness.oklibraries.org. Register for the series under by contacting Zilpa Oseguera at 580-442-4916 / @email
Lawton Public Library
Ph: 580.581.3450 ext. 4