Conference to feature 'in your face' financial advice

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Too many people believe there is a secret to handling their money, and they would prosper if they only could unlock the mystery, says Washington Post personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary.

But the secret to financial success is as simple as the common sense advice she learned from her grandmother, whom she affectionately calls Big Momma: Live below your means, then take the extra money you save and invest it for the future.

"We now know from the debate on the federal budget, taxation and concerns about Social Security that we are largely on our own when it comes to retirement," said Ms. Singletary, whose syndicated column, The Color of Money, runs in more than 100 newspapers across the country, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Ms. Singletary will be the keynote speaker at the annual Money Matters investor education conference on April 30 at the Pittsburgh Marriott North in Cranberry. The 6 p.m. event is open to the public, but registration is required and can be done online at

Now in its 10th year, the conference is part of the Campaign for Wise and Safe Investing Pennsylvania. The event is a collaboration between AARP Pennsylvania, the Investor Protection Trust and the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities.

This year's conference will touch on a variety of topics, including investing; teaching children and young adults to be financially independent; saving for college with a PA 529 college savings plan; retirement and estate planning; and how to avoid financial scams.

"This program is important for Pennsylvanians who want to learn more about investing and are looking for noncommercial information from a trusted and independent source," said Christina Kotsalo, investor education coordinator at the state Department of Banking and Securities. "In an era of growing financial complexity where more and more Pennsylvanians are taking control of their own financial futures, education is key."

The conference typically has attracted between 200 and 300 people in previous years, including recent college graduates entering the workforce, working adults, retirees and veterans.

Ms. Singletary, the author of three books devoted to personal finance topics -- "Spend Well, Live Rich," "Your Money and Your Man," and "The Power to Prosper" -- said the agenda will have something for everyone.

"You won't be bored with me," she said. "I am in your face, funny and passionate about helping people with their money. I will tell people what they need to hear and what they don't want to hear. You will be challenged and at the end of the day truly motivated to do better."

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