What is Money Matters?

Every April marks Financial Literacy Month. In Howard County, we celebrate April as Money Matters Month, an opportunity for individuals from all walks of life to learn helpful tips to manage your finances effectively and create a path towards financial empowerment and success.

Money matters. Every day, individuals make financial decisions which impact earnings, savings, investing and spending. Your credit, debt burden and borrowing power are also money management tools and can impact your financial health.

Money Matters - April is Financial Literacy Month. Learn how to be money smart.

Featured Workshops & Events

Whether you are looking to sharpen your financial tools to earn and save, learn to budget more effectively, or are interested in retirement and estate planning, we have several FREE workshops and resources to help you on your road to financial freedom. If you missed the event live, don't worry – recordings and resources are available for this year's workshops and events below!


Property Tax Workshop

The Howard County Office of Consumer Protection and the Office on Aging and Independence will host a panel of experts to discuss the tax sale process and answer any questions you may have about tax sales. The experts will also be able to meet with residents after the presentations on individual questions or applications as time and space permits.

When: April 1, 2024 – 11:00 a.m.

Where: N. Laurel 50+ Center, 9411 Whiskey Bottom Rd, Laurel, MD 20723

Presenters: Anthony Davis (Maryland Legal Aid); Francine Hyman (Economic Action); Ajá Mallory (Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service); Tracy Rezvani (Office of Consumer Protection)

Registration: Call (410) 313-0380 or send an email to northlaurel50@howardcountymd.gov to RSVP


Money Matters Month Kick Off

This kickoff event will feature three courses (Credit 101, Budgeting 101, and Scam Bingo) that will help empower you to make great financial decisions. This event will also feature youth activities (ages 8-17), where participants will visit various stations and make financial decisions while trying to stay within a budget.

When: April 6, 2024 – 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Where: Harriet Tubman Cultural Center - 8045 Harriet Tubman Lane, Columbia, MD 21044

Registration: To register for each class, please see the corresponding link below:

  • Passport to Financial Literacy Youth Activities (Ages 8-17): Register Here
  • Credit 101 (11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.): Register Here
  • Budgeting 101 - Making Sense of Your Cents (10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.): Register Here
  • Scam Bingo (11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.): Register Here


How to Safely Plan, Budget, and Execute Your Next Home Improvement Project

From negotiating with contractors to obtaining proper permits and licenses, there's a lot that goes into major home improvement projects. The Howard County Office of Consumer Protection will be hosting experts to discuss every step of the process and provide helpful advice.

When: April 10, 2024 – 7:00 p.m.

Where: East Columbia Library, Marvin Thomas Room - 6600 Cradlerock Way, Columbia, MD 21044

Who: David Finneran (Director, Maryland Home Improvement Commission); Tom Huskins (Chief of Inspections & Enforcement Division, Howard County Department of Inspections, Licensing & Permits); Tracy Rezvani (Administrator, Office of Consumer Protection); Taylor Shelton (Rehabilitation Loan Program Coordinator, Howard County Department of Housing & Community Development)

Registration: Please email consumer@howardcountymd.gov


Money Matters Month Annual Financial Empowerment Fair

The County Executive's Office is hosting the Financial Empowerment Fair at Howard Community College! This event is your one-stop-shop for all things related to managing your finances. Whether you're looking to learn about budgeting, investing, or saving for the future, we've got you covered. Attend workshops led by financial experts, visit booths from local community partners and network with other individuals interested in financial literacy. Don't miss this opportunity to take control of your financial future!

When: April 13, 2024 – 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Where: Howard Community College, Monteabaro Theatre

RegistrationRegister Here


Helping our Military Build Personal Wealth, Obtain Loans, and Set Goals (Virtual)

For Military Saves Month and Money Matters Month, the Howard County Office of Veteran & Military Families will host experts for this Lunch & Learn to discuss wealth building basics, VA loan programs, scams to avoid, and more. 

When: April 17, 2024 – 12:30 p.m.

Who: Lisa Terry (Manager, Howard County Office of Veteran & Military Families); Tracy Rezvani (Administrator, Office of Consumer Protection); Lisa Swan (Financial Center Manager, Fulton Bank); USMC Veteran Bill Bloom Jr. (Senior Loan Officer, Embrace Home Loans)

Registration: WebEx Registration


Office of Consumer Protection Landlord/Tenant Conference

This conference aims to provide valuable insights and best practices for navigating the landlord-tenant relationship. Whether you're a tenant, landlord, property manager, or someone seeking assistance in this area, this event is for you.

When: April 27, 2024 – 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Registration: Click here to register



Previous Money Matters Events


2023 Recordings


Credit: Know the Basics to Build Your Future

Join us to learn about credit reports, credit scores, disputing inaccuracies, and how a healthy credit report is important in obtaining affordable housing and other credit needs.

View Recording


Beginner's Guide to FinTech Products

Today, millions of people use financial apps like CashApp and Chime as a method of managing their money. However, with new apps popping up and the space of FinTech continuing to grow, it can be hard to keep up with all the new consumer trends. Participants of this workshop will get an insight on the various types of FinTech products that exist, the problems they seek to solve, and how we can ensure to protect ourselves when navigating this space.

View Recording


Save4College State Contribution Program

Currently, student loan debt in the United States totals $1.757 trillion. With increasing costs of higher education and the day-to-day expenses, it can be hard to save for the future. Join this workshop to learn how the Save4College State Contribution program can make it more realistic. Through the program, eligible Marylanders could receive up to $500 in state contribution when they open a Maryland 529 College Investment Plan. This workshop will explain the purposes of these account, the eligibility requirements for the contribution, and how to apply.

View Recording


Disaster Preparedness for Consumers: What Can You Do Today?

Join us to learn the importance of preparing for a disaster and steps you can take today to protect your identity and your finances in the aftermath.

View Recording


2022 Recordings


Scams Coming to You

Consumers face a barrage of scams online, by phone, in their mail, and at the door. Come and learn how you can spot scams, how scammers have adjusted their tactics during their pandemic, how to defend against them, and how to avoid them.

Presenter: Tracy Rezvani, Administrator, Office of Consumer Protection

Watch Recording |  Slide Deck


“Making My Money $$ Behave to Build a Better Financial Foundation"

Learn the importance of tracking expenses to help you build a financial foundation; Make spending adjustments and learn about four common budget styles to consider when creating an actual monthly budget that makes sense and seventy-two ways to increase your income for a balanced overall financial foundation.

Presenter: DurShawn Robinson, MakingChange

Watch Recording


Want to Live in Howard County

Participants will learn about the Department’s programs to help purchase a home as well as assistance if you live in an aging home in need of repair.

Presenters: Quanita Kareem and Linda Phillips, Howard County Department of Housing & Community Development

Watch Recording 


Homebuyer Readiness

Viewers will learn how to prepare for a home purchase in an unusual market. Topics to include financial preparation/expectations; the importance of a REALTOR®; and the Homebuying process from A – Z.

Presenters: Joseph S. Bird, Realtor, Howard County Association of Realtors and Richard Green, Branch Manager/VP

Watch Recording


Be Financially Savvy With Your Home Improvement Dollars

Tune in and learn how to pick your contractor, set your project and avoid scams.

Presenter: Lila Boor, Office of Consumer Protection

Watch Recording


Foreclosure Prevention

Participants learn the different types of foreclosures and how to avoid them; what retention and non-retention options are available; the terminology used; specific programs to help borrowers at risk and what scams to be aware of.

Presenter: Sandra Rains, CCCSMD

Watch Recording


Wills and Estate Administration: What You Need to Know

It’s extremely important to have a Last Will and Testament and plan for your future. This session will cover how you can ensure your wishes are carried out and your family can be protected by having a will, what happens to your assets after you pass away, and the basics of the process of estate administration, also known as “probate,” in Maryland. A Q&A will follow.

Presenter: Honorable Byron Macfarlane, Howard County Register of Wills

Watch Recording |  Download Slide Deck


Introduction to Cryptocurrency and Avoiding Digital Assets Scams 

Learn the basics of digital assets including cryptocurrencies, how to spot common frauds and scams, where to report them, and where to find resources that will help protect your money. 

Presenters: Dan Rutherford, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Cristina Miranda, Federal Trade Commission and Jacob Yunger, FINRA

Watch Recording


Financial Aid 101

Participants of this workshop will be able to understand how to access higher education and be provided with an in-depth overview of the various types of financial assistance available to cover the costs of a post-secondary higher education.

Presenter: Tamika Bybee, Director of Financial Aid Services, Howard Community College

Watch Recording


2021 Recordings


Making Cents of Your Money – Budgeting

Participants will learn the importance of tracking expenses; making spending adjustments; the difference between needs and wants; recognizing that a sound budget is important to overall financial wellbeing.

Presenters: Emily Hickox (Spokesperson, CCCSMD) and DurShawn Robinson (MakingChange, Inc.)

Watch Recording | Slide Deck | Worksheet


Managing Finances in Uncertain Times

Participants of this workshop learn how to handle their finances in unstable times, the importance of counseling and the effects of financial hardships. We also discuss crisis budgeting, share relevant statistics and review debt relief options as well as their individual impacts.

Presenter: Emily Hickox (Spokesperson, CCCSMD)

Watch Recording | Slide Deck


Presupuesto Para Mejorar su Bienestar Financiero

Este taller analiza los impactos que tiene su presupuesto, así como lo que afecta a su presupuesto, la importancia de establecer metas financieras y comparte consejos sobre cómo alcanzarlas; la diferencia entre deseos y necesidades y revisa los diferentes tipos de gastos. Cubre también la importancia del seguimiento de gastos y revisa cómo un presupuesto sólido es clave para obtener y mantener la vivienda.

Presenter: Armand Goytia (Outreach Manager, CCCSMD)

Watch Recording | Slide Deck


Nuts and Bolts of Affordable Housing

Participants in this workshop will learn about the various options for affordable rental housing in Howard County. The presenters will discuss qualification requirements and regulations that govern affordable housing. The new Small Area Fair Market Rents, which raises the amount of subsidy paid in certain areas of the County in order to promote economic mobility, will also be discussed.

Presenters: Peter Engel (Executive Director of the Howard County Housing Commission), Samuel Tucker (Director of Housing Choice Voucher Program), Donna Sturdivant (Director of Asset Management)

Watch Recording | Slide Deck


Introduction to Homeownership

Preparation is the key to winning the bid on your perfect home. Tune in to learn the Ins and Outs of mortgage preparation from a licensed Loan Originator. Michael Basch will be educating future home owners on how to maximize their purchase power, while minimizing their monthly payment. Follow this guidance to stay ahead of your competition and avoid “mortgage sabotage”. April is also Open Enrollment for the County’s Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) program. Learn more about MIHU following this presentation.

Presenters: Michael Basch (First Home Mortgage), Quanita Kareem (Howard County Department of Housing & Community Development)

Watch Recording


Introducción Para la Vivienda

Este taller revisa los beneficios e inconvenientes de la vivienda, la importancia de la preparación financiera al respecto a su presupuesto y crédito, los diferentes tipos de préstamos, y también las consideraciones de costos. Analiza las responsabilidades de su agente de bienes raíces y lo que los prestamistas consideran al revisar las aplicaciones de préstamos. También hablamos de la diferencia entre las evaluaciones y las inspecciones en el hogar y las formas de investigar los programas de asistencia del pago inicial.

Presenter: Armand Goytia (Outreach Manager, CCCSMD)

Watch Recording | Slide Deck


Anatomy of a Scam

Participants of this workshop are introduced to the ways that scams work, and how scammers are able to be so successful. By recounting her own personal experience, Beth will share what red flags to look out for and how to keep yourself safe. Participants will also hear about current scams using our fears over Covid as a way to get people to give up their money or personal information.

Presenter: Beth Silverman (Howard County Office of Consumer Protection)

Watch Recording


Credit and Identity Theft

Participants of this workshop are introduced to the importance of credit and what impacts it has, a brief synopsis about each credit score range and how they are viewed by lenders. It also reviews how each portion of your credit report is weighed differently, how long certain derogatory actions remain on the credit report and how to dispute inaccuracies. Participants will also hear how to best protect their identity against scammers.

Presenters: David Woodruff (CEO/President, APL FCU), Emily Hickox (Spokesperson, CCCSMD), Lila Boor (Howard County Office of Consumer Protection)

Watch Recording


Evite Fraude Migratorio

Le invitamos a participar en una presentación con Pedro Reyes de FIRN Inc. sobre fraude de inmigración. Con la posibilidad de la reforma migratoria que se avecina, hay notarios y abogados sin escrúpulos que pueden tratar de aprovecharse de los inmigrantes vulnerables en nuestra comunidad. Pedro discutirá varios tipos de fraude migratorio y cómo esto afecta a nuestra comunidad. También hablará de las formas de evitar el fraude migratorio y cómo denunciarlo.

Presenters: Pedro Reyes (DOJ Accredited Representative, FIRN)

Watch Recording | English Slide Deck | Spanish Slide Deck


Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning

Well-prepared estate plans can bring you peace of mind now and reduce your family’s stress later on. Participants of this workshop will learn about wills and estate planning including trusts, powers of attorney and the importance of preparing health care documents including living wills. Participants will get clear next steps for completing these documents and what to include in their plans.

Presenter: Mark Bobotek (Golden Oak Elder Law)

Watch Recording


Financial Planning Across the Lifespan

Participants will learn the general principles of financial planning and important considerations to achieving financial goals throughout the lifespan. From the working years to retirement planning and beyond, important information will be shared regarding how to set aside emergency funds, control debt, and have proper insurance to cover risk.

Presenters: Michael Mooney (mmooney@pilotfinancial.com), CRPC and Jeremy S. Dvorak (Jeremy.Dvorak@RaymondJames.com), CFP, CASL

Watch Recording | Pilot Financial Slides | Potomac Financial Slides


Building Wealth Through Checking and Savings

Participants of this workshop are introduced to reverse budgeting, the importance of finding the right checking and savings account for you, how to determine which to choose when faced with the options of saving or paying down debt, and tips to help you get started today in working towards your savings goals.

Presenters: Eric Swann (Director of Retail Operations, APL FCU) Emily Hickox (Spokesperson, CCCSMD)

Watch Recording


Financial Aid 101

Participants of this workshop will be able to understand how to access higher education and be provided with an in-depth overview of the various types of financial assistance available to cover the costs of a post-secondary higher education.

Presenter: Tamika Bybee (Director of Financial Aid Services, Howard Community College)

Watch Recording


Asistencia Finaciera 101

Los participantes de este tallar podrán entender como conseguir acceso a estudios universitarios y serán provistos con una detallada descripción de varios tipos de ayuda financiera que están disponibles para pagar el costo de los estudios universitarios.

Presentadora: Sandy Cos (Directora Asistente de Ambiciones & Servicios de Completación, Howard Community College

Watch Recording

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