Library aims to increase community finance chops

GREENFIELD — As Nathan Carmany’s daughter grew older, he realized his family didn’t know much about paying for college.

As the certified financial planner learned more, he realized many young adults head to college without understanding the details of student loans and what it means to sign that promissory note.

Now, partnering with the Hancock County Public Library, Carmany aims to help county teens learn financial skills and the realities of paying for education after high school. For Carmany, it provides a chance to share the tips and tricks he’s learned along the way, and library leaders applaud a chance to provide programming that sometimes falls outside a traditional school curriculum.

Last fall, the financial planner attended the fourth-annual College and Career Expo hosted by Leaders in Navigating Knowledge, a county organization that works to provide support to young adults preparing for education beyond high school. There, he met Hancock County Public Library teen services librarian Kristen White, who has been working to establish life skills workshops for teens at the library.

The two collaborated to come up with programs that would be fun and engaging for teenagers, Carmany said.

He plans to lead two workshops, with the first covering basic financial skills from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hancock County Public Library, 900 W. McKenzie Road. The event, in the library’s community room, will include games and interactive activities like setting up a budget to help teens practice handling money.

A second workshop on college finances takes place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 17 in the Greenfield library’s computer lab. The workshop will help teens understand the cost of college and how they might finance it.

White said these financial skills sessions continue the library’s effort to provide education on topics that teachers and parents don’t always get to.

“These are things I wish I’d learned before I moved out of my parents’ house,” White said. “I’m hoping this kind of workshop will make (teenagers) feel more confident when they get out in the world, with what those financial terms are.”

She aims to continue the life skills sessions in the future, with topics such as basic cooking, nutrition or vehicle maintenance, she added.

Library director Dave Gray said it had been at least five years since the library offered any financial workshops aimed at teens.

Library staff members are happy any time they can fill an educational gap with their programming, which is funded in part by the Friends of the Library, a nonprofit organization.

Carmany first began teaching Generation X parents how to pay for their children’s college educations without sacrificing their retirement savings, a challenge for families who don’t qualify for student loans, he said. Now, he hopes to help make it a conversation the entire family can join.

Though he’s not a teacher by profession, Carmany said he enjoys teaching and sees a need for county youngsters to learn financial basics before they head off to college.

He has reached out to a number of organizations dedicated to promoting higher education for Hoosier youth about partnering to put on more workshops.

“If there’s enough interest, I’d love to do more programs,” he said. “It would be really awesome to come in alongside these organizations.”

If you go

County youngsters from sixth to 12th grades can learn basic financial skills from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hancock County Public Library, 900 W. McKenzie Road. The event, in the library’s community room, will include games and interactive activities like setting up a budget to help teens practice handling money.

A second workshop on college finances takes place from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 17, in the Greenfield library’s computer lab. The workshop will help teens understand the entire cost of college and the realities of paying for it.

To sign up, visit hcplibrary.org or 317-462-5141, ext. 238.

Author photo
Rorye Hatcher is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at ​317-477-3211 or rhatcher@greenfieldreporter.com.