“I think we’ve touched a nerve,” says Michael Moskow, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Two years ago, Moskow and others from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago met with a number of financial industry executives and discovered that Chicagoans quite simply didn’t know enough about their money.

“We want our financial markets to operate more efficiently, more effectively and for that to happen, people have to be knowledgeable,” Moskow says.

By pooling together free seminars already being offered by local banks, lenders, schools and credit counselors into one mega-money management week, Moskow hoped area residents would sit up and take notice and they have.

“People are talking about the financial markets. So people want to be involved. They want to be engaged and they want to make smart choices about their money,” Moskow says.

And they want to do it in their native language. This year, there are Moneysmart seminar in Spanish, Korean and Chinese. But not all immigrant groups react the same way toward their money.

“In some countries where people come from where banking institutions are not as safe as they are in the US,” Moskow says.

Which means some of the biggest hurdles are psychological.

“When they come to this country, they have to learn that their money is safe and secure in a commercial bank,” Moskow says.

Moskow hopes Chicagoans will take advantage of some of the best minds in the financial world and learn how to be smarter about the way they spend, save and invest their hard-earned dollars.

Copyright © 2003, WGN-TV