Consumers in Kenosha recently got the opportunity to stretch their knowledge regarding their financial affairs and make better spending and saving decisions.

The Kenosha County Job Center recently hosted a Financial Fitness Fair sponsored by the Kenosha Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Coalition, the Kenosha County United Way and Kenosha County Financial Education Network. There were 15 different community organizations and 75 participants at the two-hour event that was held during Money Smart Week just in time for Tax Day.

Attendees learned the pitfalls of accruing credit card debt, how to interpret their credit scores, the dangers of identity theft and the ways so-called “payday” loans can drive you farther into debt.

The local United Way’s chief executive officer said the fair was a response to clients indicating that they needed more information regarding their finances, how to budget and pathways to home ownership. The workshops focused on those topics and more.

An outreach specialist for the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp. said that in many cases, education is the key to people making sound financial decisions. Those without bank accounts and who are unaffiliated with credit unions are forced to turn to payday loans and check-cashing businesses that charge exorbitant interest and high fees.

Learning about your options is one way to improve your personal financial situation. However, for people whose past unwise decisions have gotten them in too deep, it may be time to begin anew with a clean slate.

A Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney can help people survey their financial situation and review their options. These can include everything from refinancing debts at lower interest rates to filing for Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy.

Source: Kenosha News, “Financial Fitness Fair helps cultivate money smarts” Diane Giles, Apr. 05, 2014