What Is Money Smart Week®?

When it comes to managing money and making financial decisions, most of us could benefit from more knowledge.

That’s why scores of businesses, libraries, and organizations join together for a week in April and host hundreds of educational workshops, classes, contests, and activities. Consumers of all ages participate in these free events. They come to get tips on how to better earn, spend, save, borrow and invest their money. Plus, they find plenty of educational resources, without encountering high-pressure sales pitches. You can too, at:

How Did Money Smart Week Begin?

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago created Money Smart Week® for the Chicago area in 2002 and later rolled out the economic outreach initiative to the entire district, which includes Iowa. Iowa’s first Money Smart Week was held in April, 2007.

Today, the Chicago Fed’s Money Smart Week model spans across the U.S., with programming and activities happening in every state. True to the original model, these events are free, open to the public, and are educational, not sales pitches for financial products.

How Can You Be Involved?

Any organization or individual with interest in financial education can be involved in Money Smart Week. Partner sign-up is at the Fed site:

Here are four ways to be a partner:

  1. Host event(s) you plan and promote. These can be co-sponsored with other partners.
  2. Be a financial sponsor for a major collaborative event or promotional initiative.
  3. Start Money Smart Week in your community.
  4. Serve on an established planning team for one of the communities involved.

In Iowa, planning teams are found in: Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Creston, Council Bluffs, Des Moines area, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Harlan, Iowa City, NE Iowa/Calmar, Quad Cities, Sioux City, Webster City.

What Events Take Place?

Last year, Iowa offered about 200 events hosted by more than 250 partners. Events are developed and coordinated locally, and they are free and open to the public. These events are strictly educational, and selling any financial product is prohibited.

Some examples of popular local events are Scout Nights, Shred Days, seminars on specific financial topics, and networking lunches. Events are posted on the Chicago Fed website, using a detailed database:

You are not alone in promoting your event(s) for Money Smart Week! The Fed provides promotional materials such as bookmarks, posters, and flyers. Iowa’s events are promoted on social media sites and through publicity and materials created by the Iowa JumpStart Coalition and the planning teams in various MSW communities.