HARRISBURG, Pa., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Although April typically brings "better" weather, it may not automatically bring better financial conditions for all Pennsylvanians. However, April is Financial Education Month. "Don't just roll up your sleeves to work in the garden this spring," said Bob Lam, chairman of the Pennsylvania Securities Commission (PSC). "Roll up your sleeves and take a serious look at your financial picture. Even though many of us are experiencing tough economic conditions, there are still some basic steps that can be taken to make small improvements or even a small start in terms of personal investments and savings."
Throughout April, the PSC is hitting the road to provide tools and resources to consumers of all ages. Do not look for shovels, rakes and flower pots containing the PSC logo. Instead, look for tips to better understand your workplace retirement plan along with the best way to make that retirement money grow for you based on your age and your goals.
"Even if your employer does not offer a retirement plan or if you were laid off and want to ensure your retirement money is set aside, you can still take action," Commissioner Tom Michlovic said. "We have online resources as well as booklets that explain how most consumers can open their own Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or Roth IRA. An IRA can be thought of as your own personal retirement account. You are the one who controls what goes into that IRA."
One of the PSC's stops will be in Luzerne County on April 12 at the Northeast PA Job Fair in Wilkes-Barre. The PSC will give a presentation during the job fair's "Financial Wisdom Camp" and will have free, non-commercial copies of its Investing for Success booklet series. Titles include "Maximize Your Retirement Investments" and "Five Keys to Investing Success."
"Understanding the simple basics of saving and investing really can help people if they suddenly face a crisis like unemployment or a medical emergency," PSC Commissioner Steve Irwin stressed. "We know some consumers may smirk when they hear education can make a difference. But many people who lost their jobs in this tough economy managed to have an extra 'cushion' because they regularly added money to an emergency fund over the years while they were working."
The PSC is very serious about investor education. "We understand that if you are unemployed and you were unable to build an emergency fund over the years, this concept is not an option right now," Michlovic said. "However, if a young person learns the importance of an emergency fund in school, along with other investing and saving topics, they may be much better prepared to weather a period of unemployment or other unforeseen financial emergency."
Situations like these are just one reason the PSC continues to offer its Save and Invest PA! program – at no cost – to high school teachers of all public and private schools. Through Save and Invest PA!, a PSC representative goes to high schools throughout the state to speak with students on how to become teen investors instead of teen spenders. This motivational program combines the latest investment headlines with creative imagery from today's popular culture to engage students in "real world" financial lessons.
Regardless of the time of year, all Pennsylvanians can take advantage of the saving and investing resources of the PSC, at no cost. Visit www.psc.state.pa.us and click on the Investor Education link. Consumers without Internet access also can call toll free in Pennsylvania at 1-800-600-0007 to request a Materials Request Form to receive any of the booklets and handouts the PSC offers. Teachers interested in a Save and Invest PA! presentation can find more information on the website or by calling and asking for Doug Hassenbein in the Investor Education Section.
SOURCE Pennsylvania Securities Commission