Smart Women Middle Tennessee, a community educational series with a focus on helping women make difficult financial decisions, is gaining traction in Williamson County.
The group met this week at the Williamson County Public Library to kick off the Smart Women series, which will meet quarterly at the library. An advisory board was recently formed. The board is made of 12 women throughout Middle Tennessee who are invested in making a difference in the financial lives of women.
The goal of the Smart Women program, which is sponsored by First Citizens National Bank, is to help women “bridge the financial literacy gap” and plan for their financial future, no matter the obstacles that might arise.
Program founder Judy Long, president and chief operating officer of First Citizen’s National Bank in Dyersburg, Tennessee, said she realized how overwhelming it can feel to plan financially for the future.
“I reached a certain age and was beginning to think about retirement, and I began to see how complicated it is. And I am a banker,” Long said. “I thought, if it’s this complicated for me, I am sure it is complicated for others.”
Long calls the program her “brainchild,” and she says she is committed to reaching and educating other women about building their financial future.
“I got together with a group of other women in finance, and we began a conversation and realized that many women face challenging financial situations such as the death of a loved one, retirement, divorce and uncontrollable circumstances,” she said. “We want to bridge the financial gap and help women feel more confident about making financial decisions.”
Long said that because men seem more confident about making financial decisions, she hopes the program can bolster confidence, knowledge and create options among women.
Issues that the educational series will address include how to protect assets for your family, caring for aging parents and teaching first-time homebuyers about how to obtain a loan for a home.
Allena Bell of Franklin, advisory board member for Smart Women Middle Tennessee and the bank, said that she believes the program can have a wide reach among women experiencing various stages of life.
“I am grateful we could arm women of all backgrounds and stages of life with relevant details for the aging process for ourselves and loved ones,” Bell said about Monday’s session at the library, which focused on caring for the elderly. “Topics of long-term care insurance and which type of living facility option for a loved one is not a part of our everyday conversation. Smart Women events are designed to help take some of the anxiety out of these complex topics.”
Long added, “The program is open to women of all ages and men are welcomed to attend as well. We even had some men sign up and say, ‘I need to know these things.’ ”
The program has also opened a chapter in West Tennessee and is looking toward East Tennessee to form the next.
The next Smart Women Middle Tennessee event will be this fall. The events are free and open to the public. For more information about the program, see www.firstcnb.com.