BALTIMORE – Passersby received free financial advice at the
Inner Harbor from members of the “Your Money Bus” tour Friday, while state officials and financial experts decried the country’s financial crisis during a related news conference.
The financial collapse of institutions such as Lehman Brothers and congressional passage of the bailout bill has led America into uncharted economic waters, said National Association of Personal Financial Advisors Chairman Michael Joyce.
Joyce is the head of the association’s Consumer Education Foundation, which is sponsoring the “Your Money Bus” tour. The tour began in Jersey City, N.J., on Sept. 29, according to a news released, and will travel to 60 cities in an effort to educate people about making smart financial decisions. Kiplinger’s magazine and TD Ameritrade also are sponsoring the tour.
The association has three goals with the tour, Joyce said.
“Consumers must get out of debt” and “become long-term investors,” said Joyce.
The final goal is to promote “stronger consumer protection,” Joyce said.
The typical consumer does not have protection for their mortgage and therefore “are not prepared” for the problems that may arise, said Joyce.
At a news conference welcoming the bus to the Inner Harbor, Maryland Treasurer Nancy Kopp warned about the proliferation of scams that have sprung up in the wake of Wall Street’s financial fallout.
Kopp said she was amazed at the number of people who would mail $25 to a company promising mystery shopping opportunities. If something is too good to be true it probably is, she said.
There is enough blame to go around for the nation’s economic slump, said editor-in-chief Knight Kiplinger.
“We need to stop keeping up with the Joneses'” unless the Joneses are good stewards of money, Kiplinger said.
“I didn’t hear anything” vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, said that would stimulate the economy, said Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin said after the news conference.
Small business owners in Maryland who make less than $250,000 will not pay more taxes, Cardin said.
The economic bill passed this week is not the “blank check” that was first introduced to Congress, Cardin said. It has more “transparency” and “more protection” for homeowners, he said.
Rows of tables containing financial brochures were set up in front of the green bus. Financial advisers talked individually with consumers seeking money advice.
People should research more than one financial adviser to see if they have their best interests at heart, said Nancy Bryant of Bryant Financial Advisory in Lutherville.
Consumers should also educate themselves by reading a variety of financial books so they can avoid being taken advantage of, Bryant said.
Beth Goldsby of Woodlawn heard about the “Your Money Bus” online. Goldsby said she hopes to live comfortably in retirement and be able to pay for her teenage daughter’s college education.
The financial advice one of the tour’s members offered was “really, really helpful,” said Goldsby.
“He made me feel a little less frightened,” Goldsby said, and offered advice on new ways to build wealth.