Surviving on a shrinking paycheck
By Marlene Fritz
When Idaho Statesman business editor Mike Maharry and life section editor Julie Sarasqueta decided to launch a five-part series, "Surviving on a Shrinking Paycheck," they asked UI Extension Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) faculty in Boise to lend a hand. The resulting partnership, says Maharry, was "an unqualified success." On August 10, 2004, Ada County FCS educator Beverly Healy delivered a class on "Gaining Financial Fitness" to 60 Statesman readers. Three weeks later, family economics specialist Marilyn Bischoff followed with "Taking Control of Debt" to another 40. The classes were repeated in October.
The Statesman's goal was to combine news and feature stories with on-line financial calculators and community workshops. "People are feeling nervous and anxious about the economy and they're looking for help," says Maharry. "We wanted to give them some positive ways to respond."
Participant Sylvia Maxwell came to learn new ideas for managing her money. "I know I'm going to be retiring pretty soon, and I'm going to be cutting back," she said. Judith Alexander wanted the "motivation of being with other people." And Megan Kershner, a 1997 UI graduate in environmental science, was already looking for ways to increase her savings and reduce her years until retirement. "Oh, yes! I got ideas here," she said.