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October 2, 2007 > Keep your money safe

Keep your money safe

By Arnie Becker

Want to learn how to manage your money? Saturday and Sunday (October 13, 14) are important dates if you want to learn how to better manage your money, obtain credit cards, manage your credit and save to buy a house. The Child Care Coordinating Council of Alameda County (4C's) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are co-sponsoring a free class on these topics. This class is not limited to Hayward residents; those from surrounding communities are welcome to attend.

Which is a higher priority: buying a latte every day for a year or putting that money toward a car? This is the kind of question students will grapple with in a two-part "Money Smart" class. Everyone who completes both sessions will receive a certificate. Lunch is free both days. The class will cover the following topics:

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.

"Classes attract people of all ages and backgrounds," said Hazel Knowles, the volunteer coordinator of the 4C's of Alameda County. Hazel has been running Money Smart courses for several years at the 4C's and knows from experience that it really helps the attendees.

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

Some students are recent immigrants who do not have experience with the U.S. banking system. "I've had people come in who were keeping their money under the mattress," she 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 to budget their money so that it will last through retirement. Some just want to know how to read the fine print of the 'terms and conditions' that come from their bank and credit union.

"We have no connection with any financial institution," says Knowles. "At least that way they don't look at us as someone who's trying to direct their money into any specific organization or institution. They know we want to help."

For more information, contact Hazel Knowles at or by email at

Want to learn to handle your money?
Saturday & Sunday, October 13 & 14
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
22351 City Center Drive, Suite 150, Hayward
(510) 584-3120

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