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October 3, 2006 > Learn to handle your money

Learn to handle your money

by Arnie Becker

Two Saturdays in October could prove to be very important days for you, if you want to learn how to better manage your money, obtain credit cards, manage your credit cards and save to buy a house. The Community Child Care Coordinating Council of Alameda (4C's) is co-sponsoring this free class along with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) for the second time this year.

Which is a higher priority: buying a latte every day for a year or putting that money toward a car? That's the kind of question students will grapple with in a free two-part "Money Smart" class that starts Saturday, October 14, in Hayward. The second session of the class will be October 28; anyone who completes both classes will receive a calculator, Quicken Software and other gifts. Lunch is free. The class is designed to teach:

The differences between various loans
How to open a savings account
How to get and use a credit or debit card
The pros and cons of owning a home versus renting
How to avoid being the victim of identity theft

"The classes attract people of all ages and backgrounds," said Arnie Becker, who volunteers with 4C's. He taught the class twice this year and will teach it again this time.

"The things that a lot of the students didn't understand were the 'gotcha's' of credit and debit cards," Becker said. "Most had no inkling about overdraft fees and other subtleties of the banking system."

Some of his students were recent immigrants who did not have experience with the U.S. banking system. "I've had people come in who were keeping their money under the mattress," he said. "When they do that, not only are they not earning interest - there could be a fire or someone could steal the money."

Older students, in their 40s, 50s and 60s, also attend the class for information on identity theft or on how better budget their money so that it will last through retirement. Some just want to know how to read the fine print in the terms and conditions that come from their banks and credit unions.

The classes started in 2003 and are sponsored by the 4C's of Alameda County, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Each organization is impartial about how the students might or might not invest their money, Becker said.

"We have no connection with any financial institution," he added. "At least that way they don't look at us as someone who's trying to grab their money. They know we want to help."

The classes are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Hazel Knowles at (510) 584-3120 or

Learn to handle your money
Saturdays, October 14 and 28
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
4C's of Alameda County's Office
22351 City Center Drive, Suite 150
Hayward, CA 94541

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