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Local education in money matters big and small through Va. Cooperative Extension

If you have money questions, the Virginia Cooperative Extension can answer them. Virginia Cooperative Extension, or VCE, offers courses such as smart money management, financial literacy, home ownership seminars, financial assessment clinics and financial counseling to help people become better at handling their money.

Money management classes teach people how to evaluate their spending habits, realize the importance of setting financial goals, understand how to manage credit, learn how to determine net worth, cash flow and debt, and figure out the steps involved in creating a spending plan.

The Financial Assessment Clinic provides insights to the best practices of reducing debt, better managing finances, increasing savings, investing and improving credit scores. People who attend a financial assessment clinic will meet one-on-one with a master financial volunteer to develop a plan to reach financial goals, said Victoria Neeley, Prince William County Financial Education Program Manager. “Our volunteers are trained, and they’re experienced in the field. So, they have real knowledge to share with our clients.”

Financial Assessment clinics are by appointment on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. To schedule an appointment, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 703-792-4765.

Neeley said the objective of the home ownership seminars, aimed at first-time home buyers, is to ease people into the home buying process. The seminars help create a purchase plan, understand credit, choose the right mortgage and find a real estate agent they can trust. “We offer housing counseling for pre-purchase to help buyers get ready to buy.” Home ownership seminars are held on Saturdays. Check the Cooperative Extension’s website for times and locations.

Financial Counseling classes include Smart Money Management, which helps people establish financial strategies. The classes also offer two-hour, one-on-one assessments with financial experts to help people create an overall picture of their finances. Follow-up sessions to check up on financial progress are also available. Classes meet weekly for four to 12 weeks depending on participants’ schedules. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 703-792-4765 for more information.

Neeley said the goal of the various seminars and clinics is to help people better understand money matters. “Our goal is to empower everyone to become financially savvy, improve their net worth and help them manage their money instead of their money managing them.”

People who find themselves in financial trouble can take advantage of additional counseling, as well, Neeley said. “We also offer foreclosure counseling for those homeowners that might be in a situation where they might be having difficulty. Foreclosure counseling also includes reverse mortgage options.”

The Cooperative Extension the offers classes at the James J. McCoart Government Center, the Sudley North Government Building and the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building, and it’s free, Neeley said.

The VCE is a joint program of Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and state and local government. Find out more at

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