Let's face it: None of us really knows everything we should about financial planning. Some of us just know that we should be doing more planning and saving than we are doing, but can't or won't pony up and pay a professional for help.

Therein lies the attraction of the 4th Annual Denver Financial Planning Day, which takes place Oct. 5 on the Auraria Campus. The free event includes 10 50-minute workshops on a variety of financial planning topics like improving your credit score, preparing teens to leave "The Bank of Mom or Dad" and where to begin with investments. Certified financial planners will also be on hand for one-on-one sessions to answer any questions that attendees may have. Registration for attendees is open now.

People who can't make it to the event are encouraged to watch online via live webcast or by calling 1-855-511-2233.

"We're targeting the underserved who don't have access to financial planning advice," says Pam Dumonceau, chair of pro bono work for the Financial Planning Association of Colorado. "They're trying to save a little for college and a little for retirement and those are the kinds of things that we have classes to talk about."

Dumonceau, who has been a financial planner for 20 years, says that the most popular classes tend to be those about teaching kids financial responsibility. Classes can support 70-100 students in the classrooms and many more online via webcast.


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The one-on-one sessions are blank slates. Attendees can and do come to ask general questions, specific questions or have the certified financial planners double-check plans they may already have in place.

"I had a lady come uncertain about whether she should declare bankruptcy or not," says Dumonceau. "She definitely did not need to file bankruptcy."

Dumonceau says she sat with the woman for 15 minutes to talk about her financial situation, then wrote down steps she could take: refinancing her mortgage, paying off her credit cards.

 Now is the right time to start planning,  Shelly-Ann Eweka, TIAA-CREF.
Now is the right time to start planning, Shelly-Ann Eweka, TIAA-CREF. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, file)

"She thought it was hopeless, and I gave her three or four tips to take care of her finances -- and she could do them."

Many people come to ask if they're on track for retirement, Dumonceau says.

Ruth Buchheit, 62, of Denver, attended last year in part to support her partner in learning more about planning for retirement.

"There were some things that he felt like he could change in his investing, trying to prepare himself for retirement because he is an independent contractor so it's just different," she says.

"Everyone makes you feel comfortable there. Nobody judges you because you haven't done well with your savings. I thought it was a very comfortable environment to go and listen to people."

Shelly-Ann Eweka will be teaching a class on preparing for retirement. She's a financial planning manager at TIAA-CREF.

"Once they finish the course, (students) should understand how to set a realistic retirement goal," she says. "They should understand how to build their retirement savings."

The class will include basic educational information and resources that attendees can use at home to make better decisions.

"Some people believe that with retirement planning, they don't have to start until they're much older," she says. "My view is that now is the right time to start planning."

Financial Planning Day

What: Free advice from certified financial planners, classes on budgeting, credit scores and debt management, teaching kids financial responsibility, investment basics, saving for college, retirement planning and special classes for college students, women and seniors

When: Oct. 5, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Where: Metro State University's Auraria Campus, administration building, 1201 Fifth St.

Attend via phone: 1-855-511-2233, only during the event

Attend via webcast: cofpa.org/financial-planning-day