PENNY: Money Matters for Montana Women Conference in Billings

On August 23, 2016, Montana’s Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica J. Lindeen will bring women together for a free, one-day workshop to talk about money: no financial experience necessary.

At Penny, attendees will learn about how women think, spend, and invest money differently. They’ll also get the chance to build their own financial confidence and skills through practical breakout sessions designed to meet the needs of women at different stages-of-life.

 Sign up to stay in touch about Penny HERE!


The Penny conference will be hosted at the MSU Billings Library. At Penny, attendees will build financial confidence, competence, and networks through:

  • Inspirational and energizing personals stories from people who have made life-changing financial decisions;
  • Practical break-out sessions from designing budgets to salary negotiation;
  • Discussions on the unique strengths of women who invest, and how to avoid fraud; and
  • So much more (check it all out here.)

Register today!



Spotlight on CARE – Credit Abuse Resistance Education

CARE – A financial literacy program for students and young adults taught by bankruptcy professionals focusing on budgeting, saving, and obtaining and using credit responsibly.



Founded in 2002, the Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE) program, seeks to educate high school and college students on the responsible use of credit and other fundamentals of financial literacy, as well as the potential consequences of poor money management and credit card abuse.

Now-retired U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of New York John C. Ninfo II founded the program. Tired of seeing so many debtors coming through his courtroom having gotten into financial trouble through the misuse of credit cards and poor financial planning and budgeting, Judge Ninfo decided to take action and the CARE program was born.


  • Financial Literacy Presentations & Seminars Around the Country: CARE is a nationwide organization that works with partners in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court System, U.S. Trustee Program and Bankruptcy Attorneys around the country to provide highly-engaging and multimedia presentations on various topics such as: budgeting & savings, the responsible use of credit, and how to manage student loans. The presentations help students understand: (1) the true cost of consumer credit; (2) how difficult it is to repay consumer debt incurred to busy and do things that many not be necessary or affordable; (3) the many consequences of financial irresponsibility, including bankruptcy; (4) the need to maintain a savings cushion and to budget effectively; and (5) the advantages of a high credit score. You provide us the time and place and we will do the rest. Our volunteers provide a unique perspective due to the nature of their work and seeing what happens when people fall into bankruptcy.
  • Curriculum & Content to Teachers: Our content and presentations are free and available to teachers, educators and other members of the public. One of our commonly used resources is Jeopacardy, a mock version of Jeopardy! that tests knowledge on credit cards and other related information. For educators, visit: to learn more.


  • CARE Take: CARE recently developed a series of 60-second videos for students and parents on basic tenants of financial literacy. These videos are bite-sized lessons that can help student learn basic financial concepts quickly and be used by educators to help reinforce lessons that they are teaching in their classroom. To find the CARE Take videos and some of other favorite videos that we use during our presentations, visit:
  • Study to Test Effectiveness of Financial Education on Distressed Consumers: The American Bankruptcy Institute Endowment Fund recently commissioned a study to test whether original, re-conceived consumer education materials have a positive effect upon the financial health of struggling individuals. The findings will be used to help CARE program develop more targeted and refined educational materials for at-risk consumers and financially vulnerable groups. The study will be conducted over a two-year period and will examine 1,200 consumers who have been sued in credit card debt-collection proceedings in state courts. It will focus on the outcomes of three different means of assisting low-income persons in financial distress: (1) the provision of pro se educational materials (of original design); (2) an offer of assistance from a lawyer; and (3) financial education.


CARE needs financial support. Our programs and seminars currently reaches more than 40,000 students every school year, but we have plans to reach 60,000 students and beyond. As we enter a new chapter in the organization’s history, your financial support is needed now more than ever in order to further develop our educational materials to more effectively reach students and further our mission of becoming a leading provider in the financial literacy and education space. If you would like to learn more about the CARE program or make a donation to the CARE program, visit:


Anna M. Flores
Executive Director
(703) 894-5985


The Power of Planning

Did you know that seven out of 10 Montanans don’t have a written will? Dr. Marsha Goetting, MSU Extension Family Economics specialist, shares some of her knowledge in this article written in the Spring 2016 issue of Montana State University’s magazine, Mountains & Minds.


If you are a Montanan with a question about wills or how to avoid probate, chances are you have run into Marsha Goetting. In the last year the Montana State University Extension family economics specialist traveled nearly 7,000 miles to 48 communities in the Big Sky state to teach free courses in estate planning to more than 1,378 Montanans. It’s a labor of love for Goetting, who in nearly 40 years as a MSU Extension specialist has built a national reputation for providing vital information about estate planning.

What are some of the most popular questions about estate planning?

The most popular topic has been what happens to your property if you die without a written will, as do seven out of 10 Montanans.

What is the number one most important piece of advice that you give to those who attend your seminars?

Do your estate planning now. We are all going to die someday, so we might as well be prepared so that those we want to receive our assets do indeed receive them.

What estate planning topics do people seem to know the least about?

Here are three:

Right of Representation. Under Montana’s intestacy (dying without a will) statutes, property is distributed by right of representation. Some wills and trusts have similar provisions. I have found that 92 percent of the members of my audience have answered a question incorrectly about how their property would be distributed if they should die.

Death Taxes. When asked what percent of Montanans paid an inheritance tax in 2014, usually from 65 to 90 percent indicate that all those who inherit property have to pay. What a surprise to learn that there is no longer an inheritance tax in Montana! A spouse, children, grandchildren or friends do not pay a Montana inheritance tax when they inherit property. When asked what percent of Montana’s deceased persons’ estates paid a federal estate tax in 2014, again, the majority respond with 65 to 100 percent. They are shocked to learn that less than one percent of Montana’s deceased person’s estates paid a tax in 2014.

Avoiding probate. One of the most popular topics in my presentations has been how property could be distributed without probate by using payable on death designations on checking accounts and certificates of deposit or transfer on death registrations on stocks, bonds or mutual funds.

What actions do people plan to take after attending one of your sessions?

After attending a presentation, here’s what attendees say they will do:

  • 15 percent intend to write a will in their own handwriting
  • 30 percent indicated they are going to review their wills
  • 38 percent will see an attorney about executing a will
  • 94 percent plan to discuss estate planning with a spouse and/or family members    
  • 90 percent indicated they are going to review their property ownership titles
  • 91 percent plan to review their beneficiary designations on their assets
  • And, 99 percent indicate they will recommend my presentation to others. ■

To view the original article, click HERE.