A new class series at the New York Public Library aims to help adults manage their finances. NY1’s Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
A classroom full of adults feverishly took notes on a recent Tuesday morning, but it wasn’t at a college. Rather, it was at the Bronx Library Center, and the subject at hand was credit cards.
The hour-long discussion was led by a handful of experts, including Jorge Montalvo, special assistant to the New York Secretary of State.
“The New York Secretary of State is very aware that people are worried in this difficult economic time about their personal finances,” says Montalvo.
That’s why he says they are reaching out to local communities through programs like the New York Public Library's Money Matters series.
“It's classroom-style, people get to talk to people, industry leaders, and get the answers that they are looking for,” says Kelly Yim, adult programming specialist for the NYPL.
“We're very excited, especially in under-banked communities, to see great turnout and great interest in understanding the financial terms and understanding their personal finances,” says Montalvo.
Understanding personal finances is vital to taking control of them. While speaking to students, experts said one the biggest mistakes people make when approaching the world of credit is that they seldom take the driver’s seat.
The state's advice: try to be more proactive in your quest for credit than reactive.
“Much like we look for a car and we go and shop, we need to do that same thing with our credit cards and see who gives you the best terms and best rates,” says Montalvo.
The Money Matters series, sponsored by McGraw-Hill, is an ongoing program offered at libraries in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx.
Classes are offered on weekdays and weekends and cover a broad range of topics from the basics of budgeting to more complex issues, like investing in the stock market and everything in-between.
“Social Security, how to buy real estate, leasing versus buying, and how to start a small business as well as how to fund your college and retiremen,” says Yim.
For more information on the series, visit NYPL.org.