Money Smart sessions set

Money Smart sessions...

Money Smart billboard
A billboard on Main Avenue in Fargo uses different foreign languages to direct people needing financial advice to the Fargo Public Library's Money Smart website. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Money Smart sessions

For seniors

  • Surviving with Reduced Living Expenses, 3 p.m. Tuesday, One Oak Place, 1709 25th Ave. S., Fargo
  • Avoiding Scams and Fraud, 3:30 p.m. Oct. 12, Edgewood Vista, 4420 37th Ave. S., Fargo
  • Online Investment Research, 2:30 p.m. Oct. 22, Edgewood Vista

For new Americans

  • Bhutanese Community: 3 p.m. Oct. 16, 23 and 30, Main Library, 102 3rd St. N., Fargo
  • Burundi Community: 3 p.m. Nov. 6, 13 and 20, Main Library
  • Liberian Community: 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9 and 16, Dr. James Carlson Library, 2801 32nd Ave. S., Fargo
  • Somali Community: 3 p.m. Oct. 23, 30 and Nov. 6, Dr. James Carlson Library

Senior citizens and students have been getting money smarts from their local library. Now it's new Americans' turn.
On Saturday, the Fargo Public Library is starting a series of classes geared at teaching financial basics to new Americans. The library has already been offering sessions to seniors and is adding additional locations for the classes this fall.

The new American classes will be geared to the Liberian, Bhutanese, Somali and Burundi communities. The library may offer sessions to other cultural groups in January and February, said Beth Postema, deputy library director.


"It's confusing to American consumers, let alone those folks just being dropped in," Postema said. "We're hoping through education to increase the amount of their confidence in how they handle money."

The classes are funded by a $53,000 grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The grant also funded several "Money Smart" billboards around Fargo, and allowed the library to purchase new items for their collection and training for librarians.

Sessions for seniors have focused on protection from identity theft and other scams and frauds. "Seniors unfortunately are a high-target audience for that," Postema said.

A class this week at the Good Samaritan Home on 45th Street South demonstrated online investment research tools.

Videos of some sessions are on the Fargo Library website and air on the city's public access channel, she said. More online videos geared at students discuss student loans, cars, saving and taxes.

The sessions for new Americans will focus on banks and banking, credit rankings and fraud protection, and budgeting and saving to invest.

The classes will be taught by North Dakota State University faculty and graduate students. Herbert Snyder, associate professor of accounting at NDSU, is coordinating the classes.

"A lot of folks come from places where a cash economy or banking economy may not be the standard way business is done," Snyder said. "If you come from a barter economy, the whole idea of cash for labor or a checking account can be brand new for people."


The fact that savings accounts are insured by the federal government is also new and different, Postema said. Saving for a rainy day doesn't make sense for people living in the midst of a civil war, where tomorrow in uncertain, she said.

Postema said the library is an unbiased place to get financial information.

"I suspect there's any number of groups who are not new Americans who could benefit from going to these sort of things," Snyder said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556

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