Financial Literacy Fair Set for April 4

The Financial Literacy Fair at MCC on April 4 offers free professional expertise on money management, credit, investments, debt, identity theft, financial scrams and fraud.

The event, taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Collegiate Hall, is presented by the Asset Building Coalition of Muskegon, which consists of Goodwill, Love Inc., several local credit unions and MCC. The association of companies, banks, and non-profit organizations is sponsoring the fair in order to educate students and the community on financial literacy.

A presentation by financial guru Karen Jean Cheathem, co-founder of debt management service Stewards in Action, takes place at noon. She will present on various topics, such as the relationship between schools and corporate America, interviewing, and budgeting. Members of the Asset Building Coalition will also be present to answer questions regarding financial development, and financial problems facing the community.

The fair focuses on the problem of community members who do not have a bank account or an active one. Muskegon residents fitting this description and who use payday loans are costing themselves $1000 a year, according to the Asset Building Coalition of Muskegon. Sally Birkham, dean of student success at MCC, hopes to reverse those numbers through events like the Financial Literacy Fair.

“It is crucial that students know how to use the financial resources available to them,” said Burkham, the mother of two college students. “I have seen students leave school because they did not know how to handle their finances well. We’re trying to eliminate that by holding this event so that students and the community can make better use of them.”

In Muskegon County, 6.8 percent of the households have no bank account and 19.4 percent are “underbanked,” meaning that they have a bank account but continue to rely on alternative financial services such as payday loan and, rent-to-own agreements, to pay off the debt. The county is above the state average in both categories.

For more information on the fai, contact MCC at (231) 773-9131, Sally Birkham at (231) 777-0328, or visit the school website at and click on the ‘Financial Workshops and Fair’ link.