Extension educator to teach financial classes

ALPENA – A financial and home ownership educator for Michigan State University Extension soon will start teaching classes in personal finance and budgeting in Northeast Michigan.

Scott Day will be certified by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to teach new homeowners about the cost of keeping a house, he said. He’ll also teach new employees or those getting back into the workforce how to make a budget and manage their money. It’s part of an effort to help people keep their houses and avoid financial hardships.

Once Day has his certification, he’ll teach basic budgeting classes in 13 counties, starting in Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Presque Isle counties, he said. He’ll focus on different cross sections of the populations, including new workers and war veterans.

“I loved my parents to death, but they never taught me basic budgeting and basic finance,” he said. “I didn’t learn that until I was in the military and in college.”

Day also will be able to teach classes required to participate in MSHDA’s down payment assistance program, he said. Homeowners who qualify can get up to $7,500 in a zero-interest, non-amortizing loan with no monthly payments, according to the authority’s website. The loan is due once the property is sold or transferred, or the mortgage is refinanced or paid off.

By working with human resources managers of various employers in the area, Day hopes to teach new workers how to manage their money and keep their new homes, he said. This is especially important as companies like Moran Iron Works near Onaway add to their work force.

Day is part of a statewide work group within MSUE to build financial literacy, according to an extension release. By offering education to potential homeowners, they’re hoping to make them more aware of their responsibilities, how to recognize predatory lending practices and to conduct home energy audits. By teaching families how to realize financial stability, MSUE hopes to help them improve their own lives and their communities.

As a veteran, Day is hoping to become a statewide resource on how to help veteran homeowners, he said. He spent most of his adult life in the military, and wants to help in addition to his duties in Northeast Michigan.

“Sometimes the veterans have unique aspects, and there’s different types of help they can get as well,” he said. “I want to partner up with different groups, and I am partnering up with different groups, who have grant money to help them. That’s not my role, my role is to help educate to either undo or make better a situation.”

Day will start teaching classes in August, he said, and will release details on how to attend as the time draws near.

Northeast Michigan has a need for financial education, Day said. He and his wife are budgeting their finances now, although neither one felt like they needed to before.

“There’s always going to be the rocks in the water, it’s just a matter of how high or how low the water is,” he said. “You may never see the rocks, but during today’s times, there’s a pretty good chance some people are feeling those rocks.”

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews.

Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.