PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Statistics show that women tend to lag behind men when it comes to managing money, but Greylock Federal Credit Union and Berkshire Community College are looking to close the gap.
The two have partnered to present a six-week series for women attending the college who are seeking to improve their financial management skills. Women will hear about a number of timely topics including tracking spending and creating a budget, determining which financial products are the best ones for their needs, debt management, renting versus buying a home, knowing what a credit score means and planning for retirement. The sessions kicked off Oct. 4 and will run through Nov. 8.
Marilyn Sperling, senior vice president of member services at $852 million Greylock, said the partnership with BCC is an ideal fit with the credit union's community mission.
"We have a mission of building up the communities we serve and of helping all people in Berkshire County achieve their financial dreams," Sperling said. "All consumers face challenges of increased expenses and a competitive job market, and women in particular too often lack the financial knowledge and confidence to make good financial decisions."
Beth Wallace, BCC assistant director of student life, said the college's female population comprises 63% of BCC's student population and that statistic prompted the development of the series.
"These women come to us from a variety of economic backgrounds and face significant challenges in balancing family schedules, limited incomes, and increasing expenses for day care and utility costs," Wallace said. "They attend BCC in order to expand their knowledge base and improve their own lives, but too often they lack the practical money management skills they need to meet their goals."
Sperling will present two sessions on debt management and renting versus buying a home. Greylock FCU is also in the process of solidifying a partnership with the Brigham Center to improve financial literacy in area high schools, Sperling said.
Wallace said data show 90% of women become wholly responsible for their finances at some point in their lifetime, yet women lag far behind men when it comes to financial planning and investing. --firstname.lastname@example.org