URBANA, Ill. -- Over 80 people received help managing their personal finances by working with Money Mentors volunteers from University of Illinois Extension in the past year. People moved forward with their financial goals, including organizing their finances, paying down debt, and increasing savings. You too can meet with a Money Mentor and achieve your goals!

“The breadth and value of people’s accomplishments while participating in Money Mentors always astounds me,” says Kathy Sweedler, consumer economics educator, Illinois Extension. Last year participants worked with Money Mentors to accomplish goals like these:

  • Worked to align income and expenses after divorce.
  • Developed a budget.  Developed a plan to save for child's college.
  • Eliminated credit card debt.  Increased long-term savings for retirement and other purposes.

One participant had this to say about her mentor:

“I truly think the time we spent with you has helped us immensely. Our budgets are working well - we're getting things in even better shape and paying off debts. We have automatic transfers and spreadsheets that make us more comfortable making large purchases.  Thank you so much for all of your time and assistance. I cannot stress enough how helpful our time together was.”

Recently 21 more community members graduated from the Money Mentors training program. Over 12 weeks, mentors-in-training met by Zoom and completed online assignments, discussions, and quizzes; over 30 hours of training. Congratulations to these mentors who rose to the challenge and became our first graduating online class! The class included graduates from Champaign, Kankakee, Piatt, and Vermilion counties.

The Money Mentors program is currently based in 10 Illinois counties: Champaign, Ford, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, Livingston, McLean, Vermilion, Will, and Woodford. Local consumer economics educators provide continuing education and assistance to the Money Mentors volunteers.

The pandemic has created challenges for the Money Mentors program. In the past, most mentor meetings have been in-person. Since mid-March, all mentor meetings have switched to either phone, email, or online. We’re pleased to be able to continue to provide helpful financial education and coaching during this extraordinary time.

If you’d like to meet with a Money Mentors volunteer, please register at go.illinois.edu/MoneyMentors or call 217-333-7672. All mentor meetings are free and confidential.
If you will need an accommodation in order to participate, please include this information in your registration. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

SOURCE: Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension

WRITER:  Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator, University of Illinois Extension

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

If you have questions regarding this series, please contact Kathy Sweedler, Consumer Economics Educator, sweedler@illinois.edu or (217) 333-7672.